Very excited for this post on organizing digital content because it’s in collaboration with a fellow home lover, Katelynn of The Inspiring Investment!
Blogging is more fun when we collaborate! Like Nick and me, Katelynn is 1/2 of a husband and wife team. Together, she and her husband, Uriah, are real estate professionals and investors that buy, renovate, and sell properties in Raleigh, NC!
Katelynn loves coffee as much as I do – so I knew this would be a real estate blogger friendship made in heaven. Katelynn approached me with this idea to collaborate on the topic of organizing digital content and I was immediately excited. Over the past year, I’ve done a major renovation on Nestrs digital content.
When you change things up— whether in your home, with your time, or in this case, with digital content, you need to build new systems so you can remain consistent and on top of your game. The Professional Organizer in me is so excited to share with you how we organize our digital content. And Katelynn is sharing how she organizes her digital content here. You don’t want to miss her post because she may have creative ideas or tools that may inspire you in other ways!
And remember: Organizing is very personal. One system doesn’t work for everyone.
Lemme Get on My Social Media Soapbox
We all know that social media is important and it’s not going anywhere. These days, when someone is considering getting a quote from you, she will first stalk you on Google, FB, Instagram, Google+… you get the idea. Not to mention your most important asset — your website. If you don’t have a website, potential clients will wonder why (and you probably won’t end up on their list of potential service providers). Your social media efforts should lead your followers and potential clients back to your home on the web.
We believe the key to improving your efforts on social media is being consistent, never giving up, and providing value to your followers.
In order to be successful at consistency, you must be organized. This helps to ensure you won’t throw in the towel when life gets hectic and you think *I can just skip this week*.
People follow bloggers to be entertained or educated. If you’re not producing content consistently, your audience won’t learn to expect fresh new entertainment or education. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “blogger,” Google loves it when you “update” your website and do so often. I’m not talking about changing the design of your site. I’m talking adding photography, videos, and text.
It’s all about content. And adding new and fresh content often.
Digital Media: File Organization
There are a TON of ways to organizing your media files. We love Google Drive. Because I grew up with the old school Windows platform, I still appreciate the “files within files” system.
Gmail is our email provider, which helps to make sharing and receiving large files simple. If I want to email a large file, all I have to do is click on the Drive icon. For example, when I wanted to share my logo with Katelynn, I didn’t have to leave Gmail to make that happen. Likewise, when someone sends me a file, I can save the attachments to my Drive directly from the email. I love keeping everything all in one organized place.
Keep Your File System Simple
We haven’t needed a separate “Nestrs Drive” from our personal drive. I don’t like to over complicate things. So, I have one Google Drive, divided into the major areas of my life.
My Google Drive breaks down our multifaceted life (like yours, I’m sure!) into 8 easy-to-navigate folders:
- RV – I could put this in the “properties” folder since it is technically considered a home, but right now the RV is its own beast, so it deserves its own folder.
- Real Estate Education – Nick and I obsess over all things real estate, so this folder is where I keep blog posts, informational sheets, etc.
- Properties – This is where we categorize all the properties we own or did own. You never know when you’ll need to pull up an old tenant file or form. Within “Properties,” we have an Airbnb folder where we keep copies of all our canned responses, welcome packets, photos, etc.
- Personal – In here we store important medical forms and family addresses.
- NYIAD – This is all my school information.
- Nestrs – As you can imagine, Nestrs is a giant folder. It has subfolders organizing rough draft blog posts, our portfolio photos, insurance docs … the list goes on and on.
- NAPO – I’m heavily involved with NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) as their podcast host. So, all things NAPO related go here, including research on my podcast guests, guest sign-up forms, etc.
- Budget Tracker – Nick and I have budgets for all sorts of areas in our life. All these spreadsheets live here.
Honorable Mentions for File Organization
If you’re looking for something other than Google Drive, check out Katelynn’s post because I know she prefers DropBox. Many of my professional organizing buddies love Evernote. A few of them are Evernote Certified and can help you create systems for your business within the platform.
- Download whatever File Organization application you fancy to your smartphone. This way, all of your photos, documents, and videos are also in the palm of your hand!
- Invest in a great scanner. We used to use an all-in-one printer for scanning, but I’ve found that machines who have the one job of scanning do it much more efficiently. Plus, they’re portable to job sites, offices, clients, you name it! We scan everything and anything we can to eliminate physical clutter. We use this one.
- Back up your files onto an external hard drive. Our backup happens on the first Monday of each month. Putting all your trust into one solution is a huge risk! Some people even back up their files to two different hard drives…just in case!
How We Organize Our Content Schedule and Copy
Once you have a place to put all your pictures, rough draft blog posts, forms, and whatever else you need to run your business and online content, you’ll need to create a scheduling system.
Amazing ideas for content pop up all the time in our heads. Sometimes an idea manifests when we’re with clients. We get repeat questions on social media from followers and instead of answering people with long responses, we’ll turn the answers into content. When you’re inspired you need a place to “brain dump.” Get the idea out of your head and onto paper or a spreadsheet you’ve created and saved to your online digital content file system. 🙂
Here’s how it works. We write on a few different topics:
- Home Improvement
- Interior Design
Every time we get an idea for content in one of these categories, we quickly access the Spreadsheet, plug in a sentence or two about the topic, and then we’re done. When we sit down and plan our editorial calendar (more on that below), we can access this spreadsheet for ideas.
What the Heck is an Editorial Calendar
Just like you plan out your work schedule, you must also plan out your content schedule.
We schedule ours 30 days out. So, our content for January is planned out at the beginning of December. This is all subject to change — especially if a fun collaboration or trending topic pops up. We build in flexibility to push everything back and make room for the time-sensitive content.
Additionally, we follow a weekly content convention to make planning easy:
- Facebook: seven days a week, once a day.
- Instagram: seven days a week, once a day.
- Twitter: seven days a week, once a day
- Pinterest: 3o pins a day, seven days a week.
- Blog: once a week on Fridays around 5pm
- YouTube: once a week on Wednesdays at 10am
- Newsletter: one to two times a month
This might seem overwhelming. Or maybe some of you think I should step up my game. 🙂 Either way, here is how I tackle this:
- The most time-consuming content is what we share on YouTube. Creating a video can easily take a simple 20-minute project and turn it into a 3-hour ordeal. Since this content takes up the most time, I plan it out a month or two in advance and try to squeeze out as much FB, Instagram, Blog, and Newsletter content from it as I can. For example, I’ll take a YouTube video and create 2-3 pins from it, one blog post, share it on Facebook, Tweet out several helpful points from the video, and let it inspire Instagram content as well. I also share our videos in our monthly newsletters.
- The next most time-consuming content are blog posts. I also like to write on our video content, Airbnb, organizing, and real estate topics. Because I want our weekly content to vary (I don’t want this week’s blog post to be a repeat of this week’s YouTube video), I use an Editorial calendar that lays out everything for me in an easy to see, color-coded system.
You can easily create an Editorial Calendar out of a spreadsheet. Here is a screenshot of my old system:
Recently we hired an Editor to help us save time. I wanted a system where I could write a rough draft of a blog post and then somehow automatically notify our editor. That’s when my Editor suggested Airtable. This platform is AMAZING! I could go into a whole other post about why I love this product, but this post is already getting waaaay too long, so check out this two-minute video on all the things it can do:
Here is a simple view of my current Editorial Calendar in Airtable:
I’ve also set up a system where I can add the draft Google Doc link and then select a “phase” called “Editing.” This action sends an email notification to my Editor that a post is ready for her to review. Once she’s done making all the corrections (and there are often a lot, which is why she is so worth the investment!,) she marks it “ready to post.” I get an email letting me know the post is ready to upload to Word Press and voila!
I also have an Instagram/FB calendar that helps us round out the content. I like to rotate what we share on Instagram:
- Someone else’s beautiful picture and give them a shout-out (we always ask permission first)
- Before and After of one of our projects
- Pic of Sarah and Nick
- “Beauty Shot” which is a picture of a piece of decor or a finished space of ours
- Hiro – our followers love seeing pictures of our grumpy little cockapoo
Breaking down a rotating “content list” for Instagram helps inspire our daily posts. I give myself permission to change it up if I’m inspired by something that happened that week, but this is a great starting point.
Let’s Put All These Systems to Work
Now that you have an outline of your content, you need to round it out, create engaging captions or blog post text, and get it scheduled to post automatically.
I’m a big believer in batch work. This means I sit down for one 4-6 hour period and write 2-3 blog posts, 7 Instagram posts, etc. This helps to keep me focused. Sometimes epic posts (like this one) require me to put it to rest for a day or two and come back to finish it up. Give yourself some grace, but realize that sitting down to focus on one thing for several hours helps you get more done.
I like to use Sunday as my social media scheduling day. I’m usually a week ahead of myself, so I use this day to perfect captions and schedule my content for that week.
I love Buffer and use it to schedule my daily LinkedIn, Facebook personal page, Facebook business page, and Twitter posts. Buffer also has a Google Chrome Extension. This is great for in-the-moment sharing inspiration. Let’s say I’m on a friend’s blog or perusing Apartment Therapy and I see an article I know my audience will love. All I have to do is click on the Buffer extension and it will automatically schedule that article to be shared at a time that I’ve predetermined as optimal for each of the platforms.
Tailwind is my favorite favorite favorite tool. (Click on that link to get a free month of Tailwind!) Remember how I said I pin 30 pins a day to Pinterest? Tailwind helps me make this an easy process. Every Sunday, I schedule my own pins and also pins of interesting content from my favorite websites. I do this for the entire week and then Tailwind shares everything automatically for me, every day. In addition to Pinterest, Tailwind also allows me to schedule my Instagram posts for the week. Tailwind also has awesome analytics. They show me how many followers I’ve gained each week, which pins are performing the best, etc. This helps me create more content that will be popular among my readers and followers. And, like Buffer, I use Tailwind’s Google Chrome Extension to help me create and schedule pins on the spot when I’m surfing the web.
Canva is an amazing tool that helps me be the graphic designer that I’ve always wanted to be but don’t have the skills for. It’s weird how I can immediately see potential in a run-down home or a blank slate of a room, but struggle to create gorgeous graphics. It’s not a problem because Canva exists. I uploaded my business colors to Canva which allows me to create branded images quickly. I often reuse the same designs over and over to save time and build a recognizable brand. Within Canva, I can access my images from YouTube, Pinterest, the blog etc. Each time I create new content, all I have to do is upload a photo to share the image and change the title on the graphic. That’s it.
Organizing is a Circle – Roll With It
I just shared a ton regarding our digital content creation and sharing system. But, truth is, once your assets are all in place, it’s quite simple to follow and execute. Finding a system that works for you is a personal choice. We hope even a sliver of what works for us can help you save time and make content creation that much easier for you and your business.
And remember, hop on over to Uriah and Katelynn’s blog at The Inspiring Investment and read their process for organizing digital content. Katelynn uses a lot of different tools that we don’t which gives you options when it comes to creating a system of your own! You can also follow them on their house flipping, family raising, and marriage conquering journey on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook!
And if there is anything we missed or glossed over, let us know in the comments! If you have other tools or systems you’ve used or created, give them a shout out below. Possibilities are endless, which is why recommendations and sharing our favorites is essential.