Okay, okay, sorry for making this headline sound like a bunch of hype, but it’s not an exaggeration (at least I honestly believe it’s not).

Note. This is part #1 of a quick two-part series on how to manage your guest blogging efforts in the most efficient way possible.

Let’s face it, despite what Matt Cutts has been saying recently, guest blogging is still an important element of building a career online. If you have a relatively small audience, there’s no other better way of putting yourself in front of people than doing it through guest posts.

The difficult part though is that it can take a lot of skill to organize your efforts for maximum efficiency. For instance:

“Did I send that email yet?”

“Did he publish my post on time?”

“Was I supposed to follow up with that guy?”

Do any of these sound familiar?

I hated these questions. And that’s only because I was asking them a lot.

A lot!

But luckily I was able to change my ways and go back to the light side of the force, so to speak.

And even though I’m not using a stopwatch to make sure that the headline here is accurate, I am more than certain that the approach to guest blogging I’m currently using gives me at least three major benefits:

  • It saves me significant amount of time when doing the management work like sending posts, pitching ideas, jotting down links.
  • It lets me have a better sleep at night because I don’t have to worry about overlooking any email or simply forgetting to contact someone.
  • It makes sure that none of my posts end up being forgotten and left without a home (a blog).

“Come on, guest blogging is not that difficult to grasp!”

-Says you.

Well, you’re right, it isn’t.

As long as you’re doing it very occasionally.

But even if you’re sending, say, two guest posts per week, it can quickly become a completely different story and a hassle to deal with.

Here’s a possible scenario. Imagine that you have five article pitches sent, two more to send, three complete drafts sent, one article scheduled for publication, one blogger not answering your emails, another who answered the initial email but didn’t reply when you sent the final draft, two articles that went live two days ago (which you have to check and take a look at the comments), and two more drafts to edit and include the changes requested by the editors.

By the way, this can become even tougher should you ever decide to guest post on a freelance basis – like we do.

So, do you still feel confident that your inbox will be enough to get all this handled with clarity?

Of course, there are apps that help to automate some of the mundane tasks (like Yesware – for tracking your email opens, or Rapportive – for doing a background check on the person you’re emailing), but they won’t make you magically productive all on their own.

The solution

Mind mapping.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, mind mapping was invented by Tony Buzan, and is designed to enhance our ability to store, process and take action on various information.

(Feel free to watch this video featuring Tony himself to get a general idea.)

Now, in this series, I want to give you something actionable, so I’m going to present the exact method you can use when writing and managing your guest posts. Also, I have a special bonus – a downloadable template mind map, which will be available together with the second part in this series.

Why mind mapping is the best solution possible

Let me risk one bold statement here and say that mind mapping is the best way to manage any kind of work we do. Period.

(That’s right, I did use the word any.)

The reason is this; mind mapping has one very clear purpose – to give our thoughts a physical representation that’s easy to manage and navigate through.

Whenever we think about something, our thoughts resemble a simple treelike structure. One thought leads to another, to another, to another, and so on. Some thoughts have a number of sub-branches while others are just single ideas. The process is natural and we can all follow it with ease.


The 5 main stages of guest posting

The structure presented above is actually quite similar to what happens when you’re guest blogging. For instance, some posts will get approved and published within a day or two, while others will have to be pitched to a number of sites before they find a suitable place to stay. And all scenarios in between will happen as well.

So the method I want to show you in this series divides guest posts into 5 groups:

  • Pending. Posts that are finished, but haven’t been pitched to anyone yet. This group also includes single post ideas – for posts that are yet to be written.
  • Pitch sent. Posts you’ve pitched to someone.
  • Post sent. Posts you’ve sent to someone.
  • Scheduled. Posts with confirmed publication dates.
  • Published. Live posts.

Here’s what the main branch of the mind map looks like:


The next step

I’m going to break this part here and give you a while to let all the mind mapping stuff sink in before we discuss the specific methods and talk about how to use them to manage guest posts.

So for now, your homework is simple, get familiar with the concept and maybe even download a piece of software called FreeMind – in my opinion, the best free mind mapping software out there (available for PC, Mac, and Linux).

I’m almost certain that you will fall in love with mind mapping. Really, I have yet to encounter a person who hasn’t been absolutely stunned by the productivity improvements that mind mapping brings to the table.

Head photo by gperspective / CC BY 2.0