Saturday, 27 February 2016

Now for something completely different... Bullet Journal Blog Planner

Last Sunday, I joined a bunch of kiwi bloggers in a twitter chat (#NZBloggers) about blogging - what works for us and what doesn't.  The topic of bullet journals came up and because many didn't know what they were (and I didn't either till this year) I offered to dedicate a post to them.

I'd like to say this counts as geekery of the weekery as my obsession with planners and stuff is definitely on the geeky levels, but I know most garden-variety geeks probably don't share this passion of mine, hence the question marks.  But for today's post I'm demonstrating how I customise the bullet journal system to make a blog planner.

[Image: Orange leather look notebook with
elastic closure, and black label saying
dot Grid Rhodia]
First things first, what is a bullet journal? In it's most simplistic form, an explanation is here, but the beauty of the bullet journal is that it's completely customisable to your needs and there's literally no wrong way.  A dive into the bullet journal tags of Pinterest or Instagram turns up hundreds of different ideas and designs.  In particular I like the designs of Boho Berry.  But most of the designs you'll see around are for personal planners.  Here's how I turned the design to suit my blog planning needs.    For my bullet journal blog planner, I used a Rhodia Dot Grid A5 webnotebook from Mighty Ape.  Other recommendations I've heard from seasoned bullet journallers are Moleskine and Leuchtturm 1917  and while dotted seems to be the preference (for me included), there is no reason why you can't use graph or ruled notebooks instead.  Also no reason why you'd have to use A5 size.  I prefer A5 because it gives me enough space to work with while still being compact enough to carry around, but others may prefer bigger or smaller.

So first up is the index.  Super interesting.  A little bit of washi tape on the edge of the page for decoration.  Then a year view calendar for 2016.

I then used this blog plan from byRegina, and her Epic Blog Planner to customise the general long term plan for my blog, as well as checklists to help me keep on track with the regular maintenance tasks.  The pages include defining words and statements, summary statements (vision, mission, and culture), goals and objectives, reader attraction and blog promotion, other blogs to watch, ideal reader summary, and blog categories.

The next part of my planner is a customisation of ideas I found on bohoberry and tinyrayofsunshine.  The pages include updates and audits log, a writing log, a time log, blog post index, and monthly blog content ideas.

Then for each month I start with a monthly view where I use post it notes to indicate blog posts (so I can shuffle them around if I change my mind) and colour coded stickers to indicate planning, writing, or editing tasks.  On the side I have any goals or notes I have for the month.  Here's my February page for reference.

On the proceeding pages I have a page dedicated to each scheduled post for the month to help me plan each post out.  The page includes the title, category, labels and SEO keywords, links, images, key points, and the post process status.

Following the post plan pages, I have a monthly review and statistics pages comparing to the previous month.  The page after was meant to be a graph, but I confused it with a previous blank page and put picto-highlights for the month.  whoops.

At the back of the planner, I have pages dedicated to blog post ideas, and a chart for checking off sharing posts on social media.  Finally I have a year review for the blog where I give each month a grade based on how well I think I've done.

This is just what works for me, and may not be to everyone's taste, but it's a general idea of how adaptable the bullet journal system can be.

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