My internet connection can be rather unreliable so I started drafting blog posts in Microsoft Word. But then it became rather messy and I couldn’t find the drafts I needed when I was ready to copy and paste them into Worpdress for publishing. So I created a template in Word to organize all my blog posts drafts and blog posts ideas – I color coded it of course 🙂
While I use Microsoft Word you could replicate this idea in Apple’s Pages if you have a Mac.
The reasons I chose to use Word to store drafts as opposed to an app are:
- I can draft blog posts at any time – I don’t need an internet connection
- I use the headings style in Word to easy find what I’m looking for (I press CTRL and F on my keyboard and can see all of the drafts I have)
- I hate the tiny keyboard on iPhones – if I’m out and about I’ll record the post idea on my phone, email it to myself and then copy and paste it into the word document with the rest of my draft ideas. More on how I use my iPhone in those post:
- Too overwhelming – there are too many systems and apps to choose from . Some of them are overly complicated, most of them are very similar except for a few features, I don’t need any fancy features, I just need something that’s quick and easy to use
- Some of those apps are paid. While I’m willing to pay for things that work I didn’t see the point when I could just use Word (which I’d already paid for and had installed on my computer)
- You can choose whatever font style, size and color you like!
- Easily re-arrange things – just copy and paste
Related: Week 21: Using Microsoft Word to plan your week
To enlarge the screen of the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).
Mentioned in the video: printable blog planner
To use the template, this is my process:
Record your blog post ideas
The blog post idea comes to me.
I navigate to that post ideas category (these are things you blog about so in my case planners, blogging etc.) add it to the list at the start of that section – think of this like organized brain dumping. I like to add a date planned to publish the post but note that this is not ‘set in stone’ – it is once I write is in my planner.
If I’ve got a stream of ideas then I dump these at the start of the Word document (not categorised anywhere), then I copy and paste them into their relevant sections – don’t skip this step otherwise your Word document will end up a complete mess.
If the post is writing itself – I usually get on a roll outlining the post as the idea comes to me, then I move it to a separate page (go to the Insert menu > page break) then outline the post. I prefer to use dot points when outlining post ideas, then come back late and string them together to create sentences.
If you need help coming up with blog post ideas, see these posts:
- 7 Tips for Creating Blog Post Titles
- 101 Blog Post Ideas (for any type of blogger)
- How to keep track of blog post ideas on your phone (no paid app required)
Organize the document
- Each week I move anything that’s been dumped into the section where it’s supposed to go
- There’s a section to record the planned publish date e.g. if it’s seasonal content with the post idea
- Use a page break for each blog post draft – this makes it so much neater than having posts extend over multiple pages if you’re quickly scrolling through the document
- If you have a lot of blog post drafts the template can be slow to load so I have another document where I cut and paste the posts once they’re published so I have a backup
- Add the type of blog post to the template e.g. review, roundup, list post etc. – this helps you maintain a balance between types of content i.e. you’re not publishing 10 list style posts in a row which can get boring for your readers
- Keep a separate section for free content ideas – this is where you record and downloads such as checklists, mini ebooks or other printables that go along with your blog posts (which can be used to encourage readers to subscribe to your blog)
The key to keeping the document organized is using the heading styles formatting in Word. When you are outlining and drafting the document, make the title heading style 3 this way you can see all your post ideas in the search menu.
The word document has a pre-set up table of contents making it easy to skim through your blog posts and see where they’re up to in the workflow. After you add blog post drafts (I tend to do this once a week), right click and choose ‘update table of contents’ and the new blog post drafts will appear.
I color code anything and everything I can – I find it so much easier to look for a color than read over a bunch of text.
There a couple of ways you can color code in Word (I touched on them in this post when I used Microsoft Word to plan my week).
In my planner, I use a separate color for each category that I blog about:
- Pink = planners and organizing
- Green = blogging & online business
- Blue = graphic design
You could follow this through to the Word document as well. Since the majority of the content I post here is relating to planners, I thought about adding sub-categories (with separate colors) for:
- Planner reviews
- Pens for planning
- 52 Planners in 52 Weeks challenge
- Meal Planning
The reason I didn’t, is because if you use colored text for all of your drafts it’s going to make the text hard to read. Since I have the blog posts split into their separate categories I color code the tasks by workflow within the Word Document:
- Yellow = In the process of writing
- Green = Ready to be edited
- Blue = Ready to post
- Purple = Needs a graphic (e.g. the photo you see promoting the post when you scroll through my website and the long vertical images I make for Pinterest)
If you don’t like color coding you could always use a different font style instead.
Keep track of your workflow
Once I’ve outlined the post I place the letter O and a dash in front of that post title idea
- I use the letter D and a – when it’s done
- I use the letter F and a – when it’s ready to be copied and pasted into WordPress for publishing. The reason I do this as opposed to copy and pasting it straight away is that sometimes I’ll finish a draft when I don’t have access to the internet, or if I have a lot of posts ready to go they get lost amongst all the other posts in WordPress
- The reason I add the dash is so I can search ‘D-‘ (press CTRL and F to bring up the search menu) to quickly find posts (if I didn’t add the – it would come up with 1,000’s of search results!)
- If you’re writing seasonal content – add the month or occasion in UPPERCASE LETTERS so you can easily see it when scrolling, or if you write a lot of seasonal content you can copy 1 of the category sections of the template and add a new seasonal content heading
- Similar to the free content ideas I also have a videos to record list that you can add to the template if it applies to your blog (just copy and paste the part of the template already set up for free content ideas)
By coding the posts, I can see when scrolling through the navigational menu and find one ready to go in a matter of seconds.
The blue highlight in the image below (where the blog post title goes) signifies that this post is still in the process of being written. This correlates to the code ‘D-‘
I write about planners a lot so the keywords I tend to use are similar (or the same) for a lot of my blog posts. I keep a big running list of keywords (similar to my hashtags list for Instagram) so I can copy and paste when I write a post.
Back up the document
Much like I would do when writing an assignment for university, I always always back up the document in multiple places (I also use Backkblaze to automatically back up my computer). Every day I save it with a new file name as well (with that day’s date) in case the file corrupts – you don’t want to lose all those hours spent drafting posts!
Example file name: Blog Post Drafts – Aug 27 2017
Then the next time just update the date to e.g. Blog Post Drafts – Aug 28 2017
Once a month I go back and delete all of these backups except the most recent 5.
Once I’ve posted a blog post I cut it out of that document and paste it into a published posts Word Document which is setup the same way. It’s probably going a bit overboard but I’d rather have a back up copy in case something ever happened to my blog.
This Method Works
I’ve been using this method for a year now and it’s been working really well. I hope you find the template helpful too!
This system helps me to write a blog post in 1 hour. Having an organized system like this means I can find blog post drafts quickly so I’m able to publish 5 blog posts per week while working full time (and lately I’ve even been blogging daily!)
More blogging tips:
- How to use Planoly to schedule Instagram posts from your computer (plus free printable list of 100 hashtags for planner addicts!)
- How to make pinnable graphics for your blog posts (step by step video tutorial)
- Ultimate list of 100 Free and Paid Stock Photo Websites for Bloggers, Etsy sellers and Entrepreneurs
- How to use Boardbooster to increase traffic to your blog or Etsy shop (tutorial)
- How to organize your blog using a printable blog planner
More color coding tips:
- Planner Organization: How to color-code your planner (so you’ll actually use it effectively)
- Favorite color coding planner supplies for less than $5
- Ultimate list of the best planner pen brands and how to choose colors for color coding
- 50 Category Ideas for Color Coding Your Planner
- 6 Ways to color code your planner to increase productivity
- Color coding your planner: how to choose which colors to use