When starting a blog, it’s critical to have a strong content management system. Now if you’re like me, you may be wondering what a content management system is. No worries! A a content management system is a way to plan, organize, and store your content. Having a well structured content management system will help you in MANY ways. First, it will keep you organized and make your workflow smooth. And second, perhaps more importantly, it’ll keep you from feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, and burnt out. In my experience, a rock solid content management system has three main components: an editorial schedule, a task organizer, and a content repository. Intrigued? Then keep on reading to learn 3 amazing, free tools I’ve discovered for organizing your content like a pro. With these tools, you can start building a strong content management system today!
Google Calendar: An Amazing, Free Editorial Calendar
Google Calendar’s that trusty old sidekick that comes along with the free email account. In my opinion, Google Calendar makes for an excellent editorial scheduler. I use Google Calendar to visually map out my upcoming posts, videos, and projects. As an visual person, Google Calendar helps me really picture my workflow.
To be fair, I’m not going to say that there aren’t other more stylish editorial calendars out there. But I swear by Google Calendar. Let me tell you four reasons why.
Super Low Cost
By “super low,” I mean it’s FREE. Really, you can’t get better than that.
Multi Platform Convenience
First, Google Calendar syncs very easy to my iPhone! Because of this, I can visually track my upcoming projects on-the-go. Also, I can sync Google Calendar with my iCal on my Mac. I don’t even need to open my internet browser to access my editorial calendar. That said, I totally prefer Google Calendar to iCal. Why? Namely for the following reason:
Ease of Color Coding
I LOVE color coding. Using different colors for different tasks helps me see in a glance where my attention is needed. For example, I code blog posts blue. Video related tasks (filming, editing, uploading) are pink. Also, I’ve designated grey for all other website projects. In Google Calendar, you just click the little down arrow and choose a color. Easy!
Drag and Drop Functionality
Okay, this is by far one of my fave Google Calendar features. If I’ve over-scheduled myself on one particular day, I can just drag my task over to another day. The ability to map things out this easily is awesome and really helps streamline a dynamic workflow. (See this in action by watching the video at the bottom!)
But an editorial calendar isn’t the only element of a content management system. What else to you need? A stellar task manager!
Todoist: A High Functioning Task Management System
Todoist is my go-to task manager. It’s like a platinum version of the old fashioned to-do list. In Todoist, you enter a task and assign it a deadline. Also, you can prioritize it and assign it to a particular project.
While I use Google Calendar to plot out my work a month at a time, I really use Todoist to focus on task-oriented activities for the next seven days. At the start of each week, I sit down with both Google Calendar and Todoist open and make sure they’re aligned.
For example, if I see on my editorial calendar that I have a DIY rustic sign post due on Sunday, I’ll use Todoist to map out all my needed to-dos. These tasks might be “sand the wood,” “paint the sign,” “write the post,” and “film the tutorial.” When I enter the tasks on my phone, Todoist turns these into to-dos. Google Calendar shows my editorial posts while Todoist shows my functional TASKS. See the difference? Each tool is critical in its own way.
Did I mention it’s free? There’s a premium version too, but the free plan is LOADED with functionality. (And, no, I’m not an affiliate or PR person for this company. They just really provide great service!)
I feel so accomplished when I check tasks off my list! I keep a running Todoist list both on my phone and on my computer. Because Todoist syncs up automatically, I always have a good sense of what I need to do no matter if I’m at home or away.
So now your content management system has an editorial calendar and a task manager. What’s the third critical component? A highly functional content repository!
One Note: Stunningly Simple Content Repository
In addition to an editorial calendar and a task organizer, a strong content management system needs a place to store and organize your writing. Like editorial calendars and task organizers, there are a number of options for content repositories. My absolute, hands-down favorite is Microsoft OneNote.
Multi-Level Organization Possibilities
While OneNote is a digital product, it feels like an old school pen and paper system for writing and storing ideas. Let me explain. In OneNote, you create a series of notebooks, which you can color code and label. I create one notebook for each month and have a running “general” notebook as well.
Within the notebook, you create tabs across the top. Within the tabs, you can create lots and lots of separate pages. Having all these different levels of organizing really makes me feel structured!
So, to give you a better idea of how I use Microsoft OneNote, here are some examples of how I manage my content in notebooks, tabs, and pages.
In my September notebook, I have a tab that says “Posts,” and in that tap, I dedicate a different page to every post that I’ll write for the month.
General Planning Notebook
In my general planning notebook, I have a tab that says “Analytics,” with pages dedicated to each social media platform (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter). Within this tab, on each page, I track my growth across each platform each month.
In addition, one of the other tabs is labelled “Resources,” with pages dedicated to different conceptual areas for growing a website based business, such as “Website Plugins,” “Landing Pages,” “SEO Considerations” and so on. Whenever I learn of a new resource or recommendation from a colleague or fellow blogger, I jot it down on the appropriate page. Then, when my strategic plan calls for me to expand in a certain area, I go to my notebook and have my starting point all mapped out.
Overall, I have about twelve tabs and several dozen pages in my general notebook. Creating tabs and pages in a general notebook helps me stay sane! I mean, there’s so much to learn when starting out blogging. OneNote has helped me feel organized so much.
Synchronicity Across Platforms
Just like Todoist and Google Calendar, Microsoft OneNote syncs up on my phone and other devices. So, when I’m away from my laptop, I can jot my ideas down in OneNote on my phone and know I’ll be able to come back to them when I’m back at my desk!
I’m excited to share these three amazing tools for building a super strong content management system. I hope they help you get organized so that you can move forward strategically in growing your blog or website!
Content Management System Video Tutorial
If you’re a visual learner (like me!) definitely click the video below to see these content management system tools in action: