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Is a Bullet Journal the Answer for Blog Editorial Planning?

It’s no secret that I like my tech gadgets. I’m never very far from my iPhone, laptop, and/or iPad. But for years I’ve struggled to find a way to manage my blogging editorial calendar (and my other task management) with technology. For some reason, despite my love of technology, I’m just a paper lover when it comes to my organizing my work and my life.

[Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay a commission at no cost to you if a purchase is made after a click.]

I’ve recently taken up bullet journaling to organize my calendar and to do list, and it has been working so well that I decided to try applying it my editorial calendar as well. I’m using a large classic Moleskine notebook for my regular bullet journal, but decided I needed the extra large Classic Moleskine to handle my editorial calendar for the four blogs I’m working on. The journal is divided into four sections, one for each blog, with washi tape bookmarks to mark where each section starts.

Blog Editorial Bullet Journal

The foundation of my notebook are the monthly calendar pages. I use Post-It notes (small ones, cut in half) to schedule items, and then when the item is published I write it on the calendar in ink. It allows my calendar to stay flexible and for me to visualize as I am planning and move things around to accommodate changes or additions.

In addition to the date grid, I have space in the leftover area for noting events and themes during the month, as well as an extra column down the right side that will hold Post-its for articles that are waiting to be scheduled, or that I can write notes in.

I knew this system would work for me because I’d used it previously in purchased spiral bound calendars. It became too cumbersome because it meant having to haul a separate notebook for each blog, though, and I gave it up. The bullet journal means that with a little work I can create a notebook that contains calendars for all my blogs in one one book!

Blog Editorial Calendar Bullet Journal

Some of the rest of the ones in my editorial calendar bullet journal are partially or wholly inspired by other bloggers. My favorite thing about bullet journaling is that I can take an idea someone else shares and then adapt it to work better for how I think or work.

In between each monthly calendar page, I have a page (loosely based on one by Kara at Boho Berry) that lets me write notes and summaries for each month. I can refer to this later for reference when planning for the same period the next year, or when having planning sessions to set goals.

Blog Editorial Bullet Journal

At the beginning of each blog’s section, there are a few record keeping pages. The “blog plot” page is designed to show at a glance when (and what, through color coding for categories) I have been publishing. This page was adapted from Kim at Tiny Ray of Sunshine. Her version is a two page, 12 month version, that goes the other direction on the page. I preferred to make mine heavily gridded and only needed to make 6 months since that is all that is in my journal (four blogs times six months take up a lot of pages).

Blog Editorial Bullet Journal

The statistics page for each site is a variation on one that I’ve been using in my smaller bullet journal to track my websites. I had a hard time remembering to use it with it being in that journal. I’m hoping I’ll be more consistent with it being with my other blog planning material.

Blog Editorial Bullet Journal

The article index is a way for me to track where bullet journal notes and graphics files are for each article. This is adapted from a page I saw on Boho Berry, but I added the “files” column. It’s important to me to track graphics since my articles contain so many.

Blog Editorial Calendar Bullet Journal

This page is also an update of one that I’ve had in my smaller journal but never remember to use. Hopefully with all of my blog planning and tracking being consolidated into one place, it will all get used much more reliably.

Blog Editorial Calendar Bullet Journal

One of the reasons that people think they “can’t” bullet journal is because they don’t like their handwriting. Well, I’m one of those people! But if you looked closely above, you may have noticed that a lot of the titles and numbers weren’t handwritten. The secret is doing as much as possible with stamps! It’s a bit slower than handwriting, but the end result is much prettier. Plus, creating pages that are “typewritten” through stamping makes it easy to tell what on the page is your content and what is just the page’s template.

So far my must have stamp sets for this journal have been:

Blog Editorial Calendar Bullet Journal

What do you use for your editorial planning? Paper or pixels? Are you happy with it?

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SNAP Conference 2016: My First Blogging Conference

Somehow, with all of the travel that I have done for my work running my websites in the past few years, the one thing that I hadn’t done was attend one of the major national blog conferences. I had attended local events like WordCamp here in Florida, but hadn’t traveled further afield for one.

I finally crossed “attend blog conference” off of my list last week when I attended the 2016 SNAP Conference  for creative bloggers in Salt Lake City. For those unfamiliar with it, SNAP Conference is a three day annual event based in Salt Lake City that serves home, craft, and DIY bloggers. The event provides networking, education, and opportunities to connect with sponsors.

Delta Flight Information

My journey to SNAP started with a 4am drive to Daytona Beach International airport to catch a 6am flight to Atlanta. I love Daytona Beach airport – it’s only a half hour away from my house and easy to use because it is tiny. It’s so tiny, in fact, that when I checked in for my trip to SNAP, the check-in agent handed me my boarding pass and said, “Your flight is at gate 2.” I told him, “You could have just said go to the gate with the plane at it.” He laughed and told me I was right. Once, I arrived a bit too early for my flight and spent quite awhile as the lone passenger in the secure area of the terminal, with only the airport’s police officer and the gift store clerk for company. Continue Reading →

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FTC Gives First Hint About Intended Blogger Enforcement

The Federal Trade Commission has given its first hint of how it intends to enforce the new endorsement guidelines that apply to bloggers, by revealing it investigated retailer AnnTaylor for a promotion run by its LOFT brand stores.

(If you are unfamiliar with the guidelines, they can be found in PDF form here. To find out why there is confusion about what they mean, read an interview with FTC spokesman Richard Cleland.)

In January, AnnTaylor invited a group of bloggers to a preview event for LOFT’s  Summer 2010 collection. The invitation stated that bloggers who wrote about the event and submitted their stories to AnnTaylor within 24 hours of the event would receive a mystery gift card worth between $50 and $500.

The blogger promotion was widely reported on in media as an obvious violation of the new FTC endorsement guidelines, and not surprisingly, drew the attention of FTC investigators. The FTC has widely been expected to find a company to use as an example to test the new guidelines on.

On April 20th, the FTC notified AnnTaylor that they have decided not to pursue enforcement action over the event for several reasons:

  • A sign was displayed telling bloggers to disclose the gift cards.
  • AnnTaylor adopted a new policy shortly afterward requiring notification of bloggers requiring their disclosure requirements before gifts are issued.
  • The event was a flop – only a small number of bloggers wrote content, and several who did disclosed the gift cards.
  • AnnTaylor only hosted one such event.

This may be good news for advertisers. It appears that the FTC may not hold advertisers accountable for a blogger’s failure to disclose as long as the blogger was notified of their need to disclose.

Another clue to the FTC’s thinking on enforcement was provided by an interview that Cleland gave in January to Jeff Bercovici of Daily Finance.  In the interview, he suggested that celebrities would be exempt from disclosures because:

The average consumer, Cleland said, might well be aware that celebrities of Paltrow’s stature often receive free clothing, trips and other swag.

The question, of course, is how this applies in a niche market like scrapbooking – does the FTC recognize the existence of “niche market” celebrities who would fall under Cleland’s interpretation? And if they do, how many people in the industry would fall into that category in their eyes?

Many in the scrapbook industry will be watching for the FTC’s future interpretation of these guidelines, due to the widespread use of editorial and designer samples in the industry, and the prevalence of online publishing of materials.

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