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January 27, 2011

Clearing out the Clutter: Streamline Your Blogging and Editorial Process

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Who says writers can’t be organized? Nowadays, creative people have to be business savvy to stay ahead of the game. So, this blog post goes out to all the bloggers and communications professionals who are looking to get their editorial process streamlined in 2011.

Setting Goals, Knowing How to Reach Them

First things first, let’s talk about ways to achieve the things you want to this year with your writing and blogging – or whatever aspect of communications you’re involved in.

Someone once said to me that the only difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline. If you want to achieve something, instead of just thinking about it, write it down and set a date.

Climbing the Muir Snowfield

First, let’s take a look at the components of a well-thought-out plan. You may hear the following terms used loosely, so let’s examine what they mean and how they fit together in a way that boosts your editorial process.

Goals
Whether you’re an in-house communicator or a writer in the more literal sense of the term (work in your house), you’ll want to set goals.

A goal is the desired outcome. What is it you want to happen from your editorial efforts this year? What are the long-term and short-term objectives?

The more you can make these goals measurable, the better. Define by when you want to achieve what.

For example, a goal as a blogger could be that you want to improve and maintain your rank on the AdAge Power 150 list in the next 30 days. Or, maybe you want to learn a new skill like SEO copywriting by Summer 2011.

Strategy
A strategy is your plan of attack. It’s the overall plan for reaching your goals. Taking from our example above, if your goal is to master SEO copywriting in less than six months, what needs to happen?

Your strategy might simply be: “Learn from the experts on how to become a skilled SEO copywriter.”

Tactics
Tactics are the subcomponents of your strategy. They are the steps you take to ensure your strategy is being carried out, so you can reach your goals.

Keeping with our example of SEO copywriting, if your strategy is to learn form the experts, your tactics might include:

  • Researching top SEO copywriters.
  • Finding courses that will fit your lifestyle.
  • Setting a certain amount of hours aside per week to study and practice.

The process may seem cumbersome, but mapping out your goals can really help give clarity.

Spring Cleaning: Throw out the Junk Communications

How many of us are prone to being “stuck” in our own processes because that’s how it’s been done for, like, ever? It’s easy to be in a comfortable state of operation. And if things are going along without a hitch, great.

But chances are, many of us have not sat down to think about our editorial procedures. It’s time for some spring cleaning (sorry, but it already feels like spring in Southern California).

Garage Sale In Monroe

Get rid of the junk that isn’t working by examining the way you do your work every day. Maybe there is a particular type of writing project you’re doing that isn’t giving you a return on investment.

For example, perhaps your business is spending a lot of time creating communications pieces that aren’t doing the best they can for your company or clients.

Well, that means you first have to understand what those are by tracking those types of projects.

If you don’t already know, there’s another goal for you. Once you’ve figured out which communications generate the least ROI, cut the fat.

On the other hand, maybe you want to take a look the way you’re carrying out the process of any given blogging or writing deliverable.

Maybe the procedures themselves are outdated. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to do what’s always been done, especially if you’re an in-house communicator who’s been bestowed with guidelines created from former employees of years gone by.

It could be that the way you collaborate with clients or other departments for information needs to be looked at. Is there a way to make things easier for everyone involved?

Or perhaps you spend a ton of time on an internal newsletter that is sucking your resources. You might want to look at setting up an intranet for internal communications that will deliver updates in real time and is easier to maintain.

It’s things like these that can really help you work smarter as a blogger and communicator. Whether you’re an in-house pro or an entrepreneurial writer, setting goals and streamlining your operations can only mean more success in 2011.

What are your thoughts?

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6 responses to “Clearing out the Clutter: Streamline Your Blogging and Editorial Process”

  1. Michelle Lowery writes:

    “You’d be surprised at how easy it is to do what’s always been done…”

    Oh man, you just hit on one of my biggest pet peeves. If you’re not constantly looking for better ways to do things, you’re already losing. Great post, Jessica. :-)

  2. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hellooooo, Michelle! Isn’t that the truth? I guess not only in writing but also in life … Thanks for reading, have a great rest of the week. :)

  3. Brian Greenberg writes:

    Love the line “the only difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline.” so true. I think that in order to be great at your job you have to be constantly learning and reading. Since you brought up seo copywriting… what kinds of things have you learned thus far on how to provide solid seo copywriting?

  4. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi, Brian — I love that line, too — it puts me in check when I need it to. ;)

    And great question! There are a lot of awesome tactics for SEO copywriting.

    To get an idea of what I mean, you might want to check out a post I wrote a while back:

    http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/2010/08/please-don-t-go-no-2-on-seo-copywriting/

    And if you want to continue this discussion here after you read it, I’d love to!

    Thank for joining in, Brian.

  5. Michelle Lowery writes:

    It absolutely applies to life as well! The difference is, if you slack on improving your life, you’re (usually) the only one who suffers. When you refuse to do it at work, your coworkers, your clients, everyone around you also has to either suffer the consequences, or find a way to work around you, and it’s just not fair or right to put others in that position. I think we all probably have a story or two about having worked in a situation like that!

    Have a great weekend! :-)

  6. Jessica Lee writes:

    You’re right about that one, Michelle! But beware to those around me when I slack on making coffee in the morning. I feel coffee is a direct improvement of my life.



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