August Goals

blogbizgoalsaugust

Remember that one time I was totally unprepared for Atlas to come home from the hospital and super unrealistic about how much of my time he’d take up each day? That’s basically what happened to July goals. But now that I’m kind of getting the rhythm of things (who am I kidding, there’s no real rhyme or reason to this kid) I’m more confident in getting things done.

My original goal was to start working full time again in August. Funny, right? That’s not happening. I’m in the middle of revamping the way I do my design work, my pricing and my packages. I’m seriously itching to share soon, so stay tuned as I will also be offering up a couple of design packages at a slight discount to test out my new design process and make sure everything runs smoothly.

Increase traffic by 10% from July to August

This was on my goal list from last month, but with everything going on with my dad passing away and my son coming home it was just impossible to stay on schedule which is why the next goal exists.

Get two weeks ahead on scheduled posts

Life is crazy sometimes and I know that now more than ever. I want to make sure I’m prepared for the crazy life of a work at home mom to a newborn. Part of it is being a head of schedule in my posting. I want to make sure I’m working approximately two weeks ahead so that I have that much padding should something come up whether personal like getting sick or work related like a tight deadline with a client. Fail to plan, plan to fail. That’s the saying, right?

Finish up rebranding and launch

As much as I love my current blog design (and I continue to get compliments on it), I’ve been itching to change it for several months. I’m working on something a little more simple and natural which is really just what I’m drawn towards lately in all aspects of my life.

Launch new design process + packages

I’ve had this in my mind for months now and have been planning away, but I’m just getting into the real work. The actual sitting down and laying out every single step in the new design process that will give my clients what they need, my full attention and a quick turn around time. If you’ve been hoping to get any branding or blog design done feel free to get in touch or keep an eye out so you can snag one of the launch discounts. They will be very limited.

That’s it for August. This month is mostly planning and scheduling my way to a more successful blog and business.

What are your goals this month?

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Free Monthly Baby Photo Sign Printable

monthlybabysigns

Coming at you with a Freebie this Friday and yes, it’s baby related! Unfortunately since our little man was in the NICU for the first three months of his life, we weren’t able to take progress photos from the beginning with cute little signs. Meanwhile, I had the urge to make something simple and feminine. Voila!

To get yours simply fill out the form below to join my email list and you will instantly get a link to download the files.

This freebie will expire on August 31st and upon which it will be available for a small fee.

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How I Use CoSchedule + Evernote to Plan Blog Content

evernote-coschedule-blog-content Want to save this for later?

The way I currently plan and create blog content isn’t exactly profound, but it’s a system that seems to work great for me and I wanted to share that with you today. I think it’s important to have a process, or a system, for anything you do on a regular basis in order to streamline it and save time. After reading my post back, the following can be a little confusing if you’re not familiar with Evernote or CoSchedule, but once you create the system it really makes everything much easier.

Brainstorming in Evernote

The first step to planning blog content is brainstorming. First off, I have a notebook in Evernote called “AileenBarker.com Posts”. When I’m brainstorming posts, or simply get inspiration for a post, I create a new note for each post with what the post will be about or a tentative title. This is great because not only do I have a running list of ideas, but I also already have an easy space to create your drafts for your posts. I will even go in and add little notes, reminders or links when I come across them so that they’re all in the same spot when it comes time to prepare that post.

Editorial Calendar in Evernote

Before I talk about getting my tentative editorial calendar set up, I want to walk you through setting up Evernote so that it’s easily viewed. While logged into Evernote click on the notebook you want to use and follow the steps below to set your posts to “Snippet View”. This will allow you to easily view your posts based on their due date (aka publish date).

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Once you have “Snippet View” activated as shown above, you can add a reminder to your posts for the date you want the post scheduled. To do this select the note with the post you want to schedule and click the clock in the top right and select a date.

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Once you have a few of your notes with reminders set it’s time to set up your post list to show reminders. Following the images below enable the “Sort Reminders by Date” and the “Show Upcoming Reminders” settings.

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Now you should have a tentative editorial calendar for your blog! You can certainly have your editorial calendar set up in CoSchedule (which I do too!), but this helps me know which post is next and jump from post to post easily.

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Once I’ve finished the post and scheduled it I check off the reminder and then move the note to my “AileenBarker.com Posted” notebook so they’re archived and out of the way.

Adding your posts to CoSchedule Calendar

Although I have a version of an editorial calendar set up in Evernote, that’s really just to help me know which posts I need to work on at a glance. Once I have some posts that need to be scheduled I go into CoSchedule through the WordPress Dashboard and add each post there.

When I add posts to CoSchedule I just add the basics like the title, author, category, scheduled date/time and then I add a task template (see next section). That’s all I really need to do so that I have it set up to copy and paste the post from my draft in Evernote.

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Task Templates in CoSchedule

This is totally optional, but it really helps me keep things organized and assure that I’ve covered all my bases for each post.

The tasks that I have in my task template are:
Write & Edit Post (7 days before publish)
Create & Add Graphics/Photos (3 days before publish)
Schedule Social Media for the Month (day of publish)
Revisit & Schedule More Social Media in One Month (30 days after published)

All of these tasks will show up on my CoSchedule Calendar so that I can make sure everything gets done in time and, my favorite, I can remember to visit that post again in a month to see how it did and schedule more social media sharing if needed.

To create a task template select the little drop down next to “Tasks” on the post pop up and click “Create New Template”. From there you can add new tasks as well as when you’d like them to be due.

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Pulling It All Together

By this point you should have a post draft in Evernote and an empty draft with all the settings set up in CoSchedule. The only steps left are to just copy and paste the post into your Wordpres post and finish it up.

I’ve been processing my posts this way for about a month now and it really has helped me streamline it so I’m not jumping around and wondering what I should do next all the time. Let me know if you have a system in place for blogging, I’d love to hear it!

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Disclaimer: This post contains referral links which might give me compensation or a discount on the featured services. All opinions are my own and I truly do love both Evernote and CoSchedule.
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Welcome Home, Atlas!

atlas-home-mom-sign atlas-home-last-nicu-photo atlas-home-nicu-staff atlas-home-ronald-mcdonald-house atlas-home-carseat atlas-home-blaine-front-door atlas-home-mom-dad-front-door atlas-home-genus atlas-home-blaine-babywearing atlas-home-kitty

The lack of posting for the past two weeks is because Atlas is HOME! On July 14th, 2015 our baby boy got discharged from the NICU after 113 days. We were shocked the night before when the doctor told us he would be released the next day as long as his night went well. Well his night went great and that next day we were homeward bound!

We have now been home about two weeks, aside from a two night stay in the hospital for observation of his apnea episodes, and are still getting into the swing of things. We’ve had a little help from my mom and my sister (who just recently moved to New York), he got to meet much of our family and we attended my fathers funeral. It’s been busy and stressful few weeks (months!) and we are loving the semi-normalcy of sleepless nights and getting used to having a new, tiny human in the house.

We are so happy and so grateful to finally be home where we can be a family and live our lives outside of the hospital.

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