I've been hosting bloggers on my sidebar for 7 months now and I think I've got organising it down to a tee these days. Working with so many bloggers, repeat customers, new people, money, social media accounts, tracking who's paid and booking months in advance - it can get a bit overwhelming.
Obviously if someone is paying to advertise with you, you want to do the best job possible and that means staying organised, staying on top of things and that's not always the easiest task.
Here's how I organise my guest blog schedule:
1. Spreadsheets are your best friend.
This is the biggest one for me, I simply could not host my advertising without an Excel spreadsheet. Here's an example of mine with some of the girls details blurred out;
I offer six slots a month so at the moment I have six spaces for each month up until December 2017 because I'm booking so far in advance at the moment. I have blocks for;
- Email address (because that's how we communicate)
- What slot they booked
- Blog name (because sometimes, like me, they have no relation to name)
- Social media profile handles
And what you can't see is colour coded blocks that I fill in when each advertiser confirms their intention to book, when they send payment and when they send their images/social media handles. That way I know where I am with everyone, when I have everything I need, who I need to chase up and when I can invoice them (more on that later).
You might notice I have different colours on some names in my spreadsheet and that's because I offer a free advertising slot when someone had booked 4 previously. Basically when someone has only booked once they're blank, when they've booked twice they're one colour, another colour when they've booked 3, another when they're on their fourth and bright yellow when they have their freebie month. It just keeps me on track of who's a repeat customer and make sure everyone has their freebie!
Literally this spreadsheet is my lifeline when it comes to advertising and I would really struggle to do anything without it - it's just one handy place to keep all the information.
2. File your emails.
This is my second most important tip; keep all your emails. My advertisers all communicate with me via email and I keep all of them in a special file on my Googlemail account. You'd be surprised how many times, even with the spreadsheet of dreams, that I have to refer back to the original emails and I'd be list of I deleted them.
3. Folders for everything.
I have an advertising folder on my laptop under my blog which looks a lil something like this:
As well as my blog packages images and my advertisers spreadsheet I have folders for each of the years. Inside those folders are a new folder for each month of the year and inside these are all the icons, banners, profile pics and images I need for each advertiser. If I don't download these and attribute them to each appropriate folder as soon as they're emailed to me I have to go back and search my emails to find them and girl ain't got enough time for that.
It makes it a lot easier too for when I have repeat advertiser who for obvs reasons don't bother sending their social media handles or blog images, I can just copy and paste over from the last time they advertised with me. I also store my promo images that I create for each advertiser round up in the right folder too.
So I invoice for every job simply because this blog is an extension of my illustration business and I have to keep a record of each transaction I make so I can declare my taxes at the end of the year but I'd still recommend invoicing whenever you advertise. It doesn't really matter how much money you make from your blog you should keep a track of money flow anyway but invoicing lets me know the project is all paid for and I've sent confirmation I received the money and I know in my head that advertiser is sorted and I don't need to do anything else or chase them up again until their slot is up.
5. Have a list with you at all times.
You will get caught out at some point. Someone will tweet you when you're out in the middle of the day asking you if you have the Gold slot available in 4 months time and you'll go 'uhhhh do I?' Or someone will DM you asking what the Bronze slot contains and you'll think 'is it two retweets or three?' I have my spreadsheet and all my advertisers information on both my laptop and my desktop so it doesn't matter if I'm at home or working, I can easily access my information. I have my emails on my phone to check up on any advertisers deets quickly and I also have a hand written copy in both my bullet journal and my work notebook - that way I'm pretty much covered at all times. Don't rely on one source for all your info; computers crash people.
6. Follow your bloggers.
This is not only polite but you should actually WANT to if they've spent cash advertising with you but it also massively helps your organisation. If I am not already following someone who's signed up to advertise I make sure I'm following them on all the social media platforms they've provided me with and on Bloglovin before their advertising slot goes live. Following them on social media means their name and their Twitter handle gets more and more engrained into your brain anyway- since doing FF's every week I can real off every single advertiser I've ever had's handle from memory. Also, if you're following them you'll see when they're new blog post goes up, you'll see their feed and you'll see what's current in their world meaning you don't have to go looking for what you need to promote - it's all just there in front of you.
7. Separate your obligations.
This is the one thing I didn't do initially when I started advertising and something I only started in January but it's a game changer. This is the single easiest way I have personally found for organising how I separate my obligations and make sure nothing is missed out. I offer a range of things for my advertisers, some of which like the monthly round up, the Pinterest posts and the Instagram regram for my Gold advertiser are easy to remember to do. However I also offer FF's every week, individual FF's twice a month and a whole myriad of original tweets and retweets, the number and frequency of which differ dependant on which slot you bought. Now remember I have six slots a month and suddenly remembering how many times you've retweeted your Gold advertiser this month can become a little chaotic.
What I've taken to doing every month is sitting down at the very beginning on the first and using my work notebook which is day to a page diary style planner as a way of allocating my obligations. I flick through the month and on each day I say 'Retweet Megan' and then the next day maybe 'Original tweet Bethany' (I picked these two because they've advertised with me so many times their names are constantly in my planner). That means I can spread out the advertising to make sure I did as much for everyone as I said I would and also means I can spread out who I'm working for so I'm not advertising one person for 7 days straight and nobody else. Having them in my works planner means I see them every day and all I have to do is tick them off to know that's one down. It's so simple but it's super effective.
8. Communication is key.
At the end of the day we're only human. We might find it difficult to fulfil our obligations if the advertiser hasn't blogged all month or only retweets prize giveaways on Twitter. Life gets in the way and sometimes you don't have time and you find yourself at the end of the week getting a block bulk of your promotions done in one go. Sometimes you might plain forget but communication between you and your advertisers is imperative. I keep using Becca as an example but really it's the ideal scenario for describing how important communication between you both can be. Becca was my Gold advertiser in January and February which meant she signed up for a LOT of promo and mainly tweets and retweets. In January her blog went down for basically the whole month and she literally couldn't do anything about it. This obvs meant she couldn't blog, I couldn't promote but she managed to get it all fixed for February, I dropped her an email saying "look I can't do anything whilst your blog is down but I'll do double next month" and she was fine with it. Come February the site is back up and running and I did double the promo and all was well - just be honest.
And that my friends is a very simple but very effective guide to the way in which I run my advertising slots. Don't say the behind the scenes blog life ain't glamorous.
If you want to advertise with me you can book ahead! You can tweet me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to snap one up, book for the future or block book more than one segment! And if you book 4 I'll chuck the 5th month in for free!
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