This is part #2 of a quick two-part series on how to manage your guest blogging efforts. The approach presented here is based on learning the skill of mind mapping and then utilizing it for maximum effectiveness.
In the first part, we talked about the difficulties of guest blogging from a management point of view. If you’ve been guest blogging for any amount of time then you know how easy it is to get lost in the process and lose the grasp on your ongoing tasks. Successful guest blogging isn’t something you do in solitude. Instead, it’s more like 50% communicating with people (bloggers, site owners) and 50% writing. So if you fail to take care of the former effectively, even your superior writing skills won’t be able to make up for these shortcomings and make you a successful guest blogger.
That is why we’re introducing the concept of mind mapping, to help you manage your efforts and make sure that every article and every communication is handled in a timely manner.
Just to remind you, here’s the structure of the mind map we’re using (introduced in part #1):
So that’s the big picture (the bird’s-eye-view, if you will), and now let’s go through the individual branches and explain everything in detail.
This is the first container, meant for all guest posts that you want to get published as guest contributions. You can use it to store posts that you’ve already written but haven’t pitched to anyone yet, as well as posts that are yet to be written.
There’s no wrong way to group this type of posts. It all depends on what’s optimal for you personally and how your writing process is built.
Identifying each post through its headline is probably the best and most intuitive method. If you want to, you can also include sub-branches and expand each post with an outline or a general description.
As you can see, this group showcases posts in a similar way (compared to Pending). The only difference is that the posts now have some sub-branches.
By the way, FreeMind allows you to work with your mind map intuitively, which in this case means that you can cut and paste your posts from one group to another – something you’ll be doing a lot of.
The fact that the pitch was sent to a given site is indicated on the subsequent sub-branch, along with the date.
Please take a look at “Headline #12.” For this example, the initial pitch was sent on Jan 31st, and then a follow-up was sent on Feb 27th. Every branch in FreeMind can have an unlimited number of sub-branches, which is very handy when managing multiple guest posts, each on a different stage of advancement.
I went ahead and included some additional examples in this group so we can go through more scenarios that are likely to happen.
“Headline #7” is the first situation where we are dealing with a post being declined. In such a case, we can send the post to another blog, and the mind map allows us to keep track of this quite clearly (as shown on the image as well).
“Headline #9” is a similar situation, but this time we didn’t get any response at all, so we simply decided to tackle another blog and not wait any more. Again, the mind map makes this easy to manage and gives us a very clear view on the current situation each post is in.
FreeMind note. Whenever you’re dealing with a bigger branch, you can collapse all sub-branches by hitting the space bar key on your keyboard.
This is quite straightforward. A place where we can keep track of all posts with confirmed publication dates. That way, we won’t miss the moment when the posts go live. It’s quite handy if you want to be able to respond to comments in time.
The final group is simply an archive for all published posts. If you’re a control freak, you can create additional sub-branches and include things like URLs, the number of social media shares, or anything else.
There’s one additional branch here labeled “publication status last checked.” It points out when was the last time you’ve checked if any of your guest posts are live. Chances are that not every blog owner will update you on the status of your post, so every once in a while you should go out and check the blogs for new publications manually.
Putting it all together
That’s all when it comes to the structure of the mind map. Nothing that complicated, but that’s actually an advantage. I mean, it’s the simple tools that turn out to be the most effective and the most user-friendly to deal with.
I really encourage you to give this a shot and make it one of your main work tools for guest blogging. Although it’s purely my point of view, I really have yet to find a more effective tool for work management than mind maps. So far, nothing comes even close; no Excel spreadsheets, Google Docs, or text files.
For instance, guest blogging is a fairly complicated task when we take all the communication into account, so handling it from a text file would be too much hassle and stress. And doing it from a spreadsheet would probably require tens of different fields and columns – not an optimal solution either.
In all honesty, without mind mapping, I wouldn’t be able to guest post even half as often as I am doing it right now. The two most crucial benefits it gives me is clarity and certainty that nothing important will get lost in the process or be forgotten.
Okay, so the bonus I have for you here is the exact template I’ve described in this series (download here).
You have to get FreeMind first in order to use it (free tool).
So how are you managing your guest posts right now? Do you need any help creating a guest blogging strategy?