3 project Management Techniques for New Bloggers - Part 1

It's not easy to start this journey; perhaps you were lured by the sound of passive income, or perhaps you want to teach everyone about what is in your head. Maybe you have something you are passionate about and want to share it. Whatever the cause, you have found yourself on this blogging journey and feel overwhelmed and lost with all the tools and tech involved. But it can't be that hard, right? Well, the truth is that it isn't hard; you just need to be organised.

A Handy Guide for Overwhelmed Bloggers and Entrepreneurs

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Like any job anywhere, there is a process, and if you follow it, it makes your life easier!

As a new blogger, you may have already realized that the process of managing a blog can be overwhelming. From creating content to marketing your blog, the list of tasks can be never-ending. However, with the help of project management techniques, you can streamline your workflow, prioritize your tasks, and ensure that your blog runs smoothly. In this article, I will discuss the top 3 project management techniques for new bloggers.

Okay, story time – I come from the project management world, but my first blog was all about soap because who doesn't love soap, right? For some reason, I really wanted a soap shop. I climbed a mountain; it was information overload and I created a site that didn't do well, had a ton of confusing or broken links, and looked beautiful because I spent hours tweaking it but ran like a slug in a desert.

So I pivoted and started to write about the beauty industry and became hyperfocused on the environment and the beauty industry's impact on our gorgeous earth. I absolutely LOVED what I was doing, the innovations to replace plastics with bio-plastics, and the solutions people are coming up with are just amazing. But I wasn't getting views or interest – except for my Sister; love her for that!

So then I thought, perhaps it's my audience, and because I live in Germany, I thought I needed to translate my site into German. I spent months going down that rabbit hole. I'm getting itchy just thinking about it.

Finally, my mentor Sadie Smiley suggested I write about Project management for Bloggers, New businesses, and Solopreneurs. And here I am doing what I love and what feels comfortable and pretty natural.

But when I look back at my first blog, I can see all its problems; I had no deadlines, organisation, or ultimate vision. I never reviewed anything. I just stumbled along occasionally doing keyword research, not completely understanding the results and effectively writing about whatever I felt like, thinking, “Well, if I'm interested, somebody else must be”. The worst was that I kept drafting awesome blog posts and not publishing them, and when I did publish, it was ultimately ad hoc with no schedule or relevance to anything else on my site. It was a mess, and I hang my head in shame when I think about not utilising all my 20 years of experience as a Project Manager.

So, if this story resonates with you, hang onto your hats as I change your blogging journey so that you can reap the rewards.


How Project Management Techniques Can Transform Your Blogging Journey

You know that feeling when staring at your screen, thinking, “I don't know what to do next!”?

Setting up a process, or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), can be a total game changer. It's about planning, deadlines, and suddenly having more time for other things. Project management techniques don't just boost efficiency and productivity; they also fend off stress and burnout.

We all know how overwhelmed bloggers and entrepreneurs can feel. Juggling tasks, keeping up with quality and consistent content, balancing business and life, and staying on top of trends. But, by using project management techniques, you'll be better equipped to tackle these challenges and make your blogging journey successful and enjoyable.

With these techniques, you'll manage your time better, become a risk assessment whiz, and improve communication with your audience. Plus, you'll have more control over your business's scope, schedule, and budget. There are loads of project techniques out there, and I can't cover them all in this post. So, I've split it into two parts, focusing on the top 3 techniques and giving you some easy-to-implement tips for success. So go on, give it a shot – you've got this!


What is Project Management, anyway?

Project management is like a creative dance, skillfully planning, organising, and controlling resources (not just people) to reach your goals. It's a powerful tool for bloggers, using techniques to simplify complex projects into bite-sized tasks, keeping you organized, elevating productivity, and helping you crush those blogging goals.

Don't even think about skipping the planning stage in project management; it's crucial to decide when and how everything fits together. It's just like kick-starting a business or a new blog. Planning, consistency and organising are the heartbeats of success. You began this journey for a reason; let's turn that reason into a living, breathing reality!

Action

Write down the reason in one sentence.

It's time to do some work!

Did you think this blog post would just be “Here are some tips? Have a nice day!”

No way! You came here for help, so You have to DO something (it's also relevant to what I will talk about next).

Answer the question: Why did you start this blog/business?


The Building Blocks of Project Management

I won't dive deep into PM tools or methods here. Instead, I'll focus on techniques from project management that help you stay focused and organised. With your purpose in mind, let's lay the foundation with some SMART steps. If you have clarity, write it down to solidify it, and here's how:

Setting Goals and Defining Scope

Outline your business's objectives, deliverables, and boundaries and begin your blogging adventure with clear, actionable goals! In project management, this prevents scope creep and maintains focus. Going off track can be costly, and you could end up delivering nothing valuable – and run out of money. Defining your goals helps measure success, stay motivated, and inspire others. You can prioritise crucial tasks, reach goals faster, and make better business decisions by pinpointing what you want to achieve!

Yeah, okay, great, thanks, Erika, but HOW do I do that?

Apply the SMART principles. There are other principles, but this one fits like a glove. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Spell out what you want to achieve/desired outcome.
  • Measurable: Make sure your goal can be quantified and tracked.
  • Achievable: Ensure it's realistic and within your reach.
  • Relevant: Align your goal with your overall vision and objectives – the reason you wanted to do this in the first place.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline to keep yourself accountable.

If you do not put a date on your goal, then it is just a dream.

I always dream about having chickens and a farm in Scotland (I've never been to Scotland, but I think I'd love to own a castle there). Or even buying one of those properties in Italy for 1 euro would be great, right? People do it all the time. Nope, it is just a little dream I use to put myself to sleep every night.

Example

Here is an example of a Travel Blog in the UK (but it doesn't matter what country you are in).

  1. Dream big: Long-term objectives
    • Become a leading travel blog in the UK within three years.
    • Partner with top travel agencies for sponsored trips.
  2. Break it down: Short-term objectives
    • Publish two high-quality blog posts per week.
    • Grow your Instagram following to 5,000 in 6 months.
  3. Prioritise: Identify crucial goals
    • Focus on creating engaging content and promoting your blog to achieve long-term objectives.
  4. Map it out: Timeline
    • Week 1: Write and publish two blog posts.
    • Month 1: Reach 500 Instagram followers.
    • Month 6: Reach 5,000 Instagram followers.
    • Year 1: Partner with a local travel agency.
  5. Stay flexible: Monitor progress.
    • If a strategy isn't working, adjust your approach, and set new goals.

The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.

Benjamin Mays

Let's take one of the short-term objectives from the travel blog example and apply the SMART technique:

Short-term objective: Grow your Instagram following to 5,000 in 6 months.

  • Specific: Increase your Instagram following by engaging with potential followers and posting quality content.
  • Measurable: Track your progress by monitoring your number of followers and aiming for monthly growth of approximately 833 new followers.
  • Achievable: Research strategies other successful travel bloggers use and implement them to help grow your Instagram following organically.
  • Relevant: An increased Instagram following contributes to your goal of becoming a leading travel blog and attracting partnerships with travel agencies.
  • Time-bound: Set a deadline of 6 months to achieve the goal, giving yourself a clear timeframe to work within.

Applying the SMART technique to your objective creates a clear, actionable plan to grow your Instagram following, ultimately contributing to your long-term travel blogging goals.

Action

BE SMART

It's time to do some work!

On a spreadsheet, build your blogging roadmap:

  1. Dream big: List ambitious long-term objectives for months or years ahead.
  2. Break it down: Note smaller, achievable short-term objectives for quick wins.
  3. Prioritise: Identify crucial goals and which short-term objectives support long-term ones.
  4. Map it out: Create a timeline with plans and deadlines for each objective.
  5. Stay flexible: Monitor progress and adapt goals to changing circumstances.

Off you go – start your goal-setting journey now!

Don't be afraid to pivot or refine your objectives to better align with your overall vision. Remember, setting goals and defining scope is all about clarity, organisation, and finding that sweet spot between ambition and achievability. With these tips, you'll be well on your way to managing your projects like a seasoned pro.


Time Management & Prioritisation

Mastering time management and prioritisation is vital for blogging and business success. Efficient scheduling boosts productivity, reduces stress and burnout, enhances work-life balance, and fosters a sense of accomplishment.

HOW do I do that?

While there are various project methodologies, let's explore two short-term methods to get started:

  1. Eisenhower Matrix: Divide your to-do list into manageable parts.
    • Urgent and important tasks: Tackle these first, as they need immediate attention.
    • Important but not urgent tasks: Schedule these for later, as they contribute to long-term goals.
    • Urgent but unimportant tasks: Delegate these if possible; they require quick action but may not be critical.
    • Neither urgent nor important tasks: Reassess or eliminate these, as they might not contribute to your objectives.
  2. Ivy Lee Method: Simplify your daily agenda.
    • At the day's end, list six tasks to accomplish the next day.
    • Prioritise tasks based on importance and urgency.
    • Focus on one task at a time, starting with the most crucial.
    • Move incomplete tasks to the next day's list.

Example

Let's say you're starting a food blog.

Long-term goal: Reach 10,000 monthly visitors within one year.

Short-term objectives:

  1. Write and publish 3 blog posts per week (4 hours per post).
  2. Share new posts on social media daily (30 minutes daily).
  3. Collaborate with 2 food bloggers each month (4 hours per collaboration).
  4. Respond to blog comments and emails daily (1 hour daily).

Using the Eisenhower Matrix:

  1. Urgent and important: Write and publish today's blog post.
  2. Important but not urgent: Reach out to food bloggers for collaboration.
  3. Urgent but unimportant: Share a post on social media.
  4. Neither urgent nor important: Redesign blog logo.

Now, assign deadlines for each task and choose a planning tool to help you stay organised and on track.

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.

William Penn

Action

Pick your prioritisation tool

It's time to do some work!

  1. Estimate the time (in hours) needed for each task or objective.
  2. Categorise tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix.
  3. Assign deadlines to each task.
  4. Choose a planning tool, like Trello, Google Calendar, a journal, or scrap paper.

Now you've got a plan, it's time to execute!


Risk management

Spotting and tackling potential problems before they blow up into issues. I don't know why, but I do love a good risk management session. Tackling potential problems head-on before they escalate. Risk management sessions can be strangely enjoyable as you imagine every possible obstacle. The key is to be specific and devise actions to eliminate those risks. Anticipating problems makes you more prepared and helps prevent panic if things go awry. It also keeps self-doubt in check and ensures you have a plan to overcome it.

HOW do I do that?

Have a frank conversation with yourself. List every possible obstacle that could prevent you from reaching your goal. Note down all those negative thoughts and prepare to confront them.

In project management, we often use a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). It examines internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) like team skills, resources, project scope, objectives, and organisational culture. External factors (opportunities and threats) include market trends, competition, and economic conditions. Consider risks within and beyond your control.

Once you've listed risks, use your SMART skills to create actions that prevent them from stopping your progress. If a risk materialises, don't panic – it becomes an issue, and you've already devised a plan to mitigate it. Just put that plan into action.

Example

Risk: Within the first 3 months, there is a possibility of a 30% decrease in blog traffic due to Google's constantly changing search algorithms, negatively impacting the blog's organic growth.

  1. Specific: The risk clearly identifies the cause (Google's search algorithm changes) and the potential impact (30% decrease in blog traffic).
  2. Measurable: The risk can be assessed by tracking the blog's traffic analytics and comparing it with the expected growth.
  3. Achievable: While you have limited control over search engine algorithms, you can take steps to mitigate this risk by staying updated on SEO best practices and making necessary adjustments to your content.
  4. Relevant: The risk is directly related to the blog's growth and success, as organic traffic is crucial for visibility and attracting new readers.
  5. Time-bound: The risk is specified within a 3-month time frame, allowing you to track and manage it during this initial period.

Risk management is a more realistic term than safety. It implies that hazards are ever-present, that they must be identified, analyzed, evaluated and controlled or rationally accepted.

Jerome F. Lederer

Action

Visit your risk log once every 2 weeks – are you still on track? Should you add/take away anything?

It's time to do some work!

  1. Create a new spreadsheet named “Risk Log”.
  2. Conduct a risk analysis session and list all potential obstacles that could hinder your objective.
  3. Write down actions to prevent each risk and prioritise them based on likelihood.
  4. Apply the SMART principles to your actions and follow through on them.

By embracing risk management, you'll be better prepared to navigate challenges and uncertainties in your blogging and business ventures. Invest in identifying potential risks, developing actionable strategies, and staying adaptable in the face of change.


Project Management Methods

While there are various project management methodologies out there, it's essential to recognise that they might not all be relevant for a solopreneur. In this blog post, we won't dive deep into each methodology, as I cover them in other posts. However, here's a brief summary of some popular methodologies:

  1. Agile: A flexible approach valuing collaboration, feedback, and adaptability. Pros: Quick adaptation, satisfied customers, continuous improvement. Cons: Unpredictable outcomes, demands strong teamwork and communication.
  2. Waterfall: A linear, step-by-step process with a strict sequence. Pros: Clear structure, easy progress tracking, comprehensive documentation. Cons: Inflexible, difficult to make changes, higher risk of failure.
  3. Scrum: An Agile variant focusing on small, steady improvements through short sprints. Pros: Encourages teamwork, easy to adjust, fosters ongoing improvement. Cons: Requires team commitment; scaling can be challenging.
  4. Kanban: A visual workflow emphasising efficient delivery while minimising work-in-progress. Pros: Enhances productivity, reduces wait times, easy to implement and adjust. Cons: Limited structure, depends on team discipline, estimating project completion times can be tricky.

Remember, don't get hung up on the method. As a solopreneur, focus on the essence of project management and adapt techniques that suit your needs best.


Projecting Success: A Blog-tastic Finale

A quick recap of the fantastic perks of bringing project management techniques into your blogging and business adventures:

  • Boosted organisation and focus on your goals
  • Enhanced time management and prioritisation
  • Better cost and resource management for increased profitability
  • Consistent, high-quality content and services that resonate with your audience
  • Effective communication and collaboration for a thriving team environment
  • Proactive risk management and contingency planning for resilience and adaptability

As we wrap up, remember the three essential actions for setting a goal, prioritising it, and conducting a risk assessment. Take these steps and watch your blogging and business endeavours soar to new heights:

  1. Set a SMART goal.
  2. Prioritise tasks using the Eisenhower matrix or Ivy Lee method.
  3. Assess risks and plan how to mitigate them.

Integrating project management techniques into your blogging and business ventures can be a game-changer. Adopting these practices creates a solid foundation for success and unlocks your full potential. So, go ahead and give project management a shot – you've got this!

Take the plunge and implement project management techniques today. Now that you know the incredible benefits of project management, don't wait any longer. Dive in and apply these techniques to transform your blogging journey and business ventures. Trust us; you'll thank yourself later!

And hey, don't forget to share your experiences and insights with others who might benefit from adopting project management principles. Let's make the blogging and business world more organised, efficient, and successful!

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