8 Tools That Make You More Productive as a Writer and Marketer
Sometimes we just want to write, but more often, we really want people to read what we write – or follow us, visit our website, and connect in some way. At that point, we’re no longer just sex blogger, writer, or podcaster. Now we’re a marketer, too.
As long as you’re actively trying to get more people to know you exist and consume your content, you’re in the marketing business. That doesn’t have to be as shady or as stressful as it may sound or feel (depending on your experience with marketing). Yes, it takes work, time, and practice but it’s possible. Of course, having the right tools helps, too. Here are the ones I count on to help me stay most productive.
I use Buffer but Hootsuite is also a decent option. My goal is to use Co-Schedule, but my budget isn’t that big yet. What are Buffer, Hootsuite, and Co-Schedule? They’re tools that allow you to schedule your social media nearly as far in advance as you’d like. Buffer offers a free option with limited (but still decent) features. I pay for the $10 a month plan to connect more social media accounts and schedule more posts – 100 posts versus only 10.
A scheduling app like Buffer lets me pre-plan my promotional stuff – affiliate offers, hire me posts, advertise here, etc. It’s also a great tool for re-sharing blog posts. Use an interesting line from a blog post and share it with a link a few days after it goes live. You can also summarize the post and add the link. Either way, these tools let you schedule all of your social media when you have time – instead of five seconds before you wanted it to go live.
Some sex bloggers take their own smutty images. I’m not one of them. Graphics and images aren’t in my wheelhouse, and I can’t afford the stock images I’d like to buy. Enter Pixabay. It’s a free image website that allows you to download images, often without requiring attribution, to use in your blog post.
The images might not always be as polished or professional as what you’ll find in iStockPhotos or Getty images but they’re often very unique. You have to dig for diverse images and get creative with your search terms (“BDSM” turns up very little). But for a free service (they run on donations), it’s worth the effort.
Since I’m a words-person, and not a graphic-girl, it’s not enough to have a picture from Pixabay. Adding text or changing the color of an image isn’t something I can do without help. Canva (affiliate link) is my absolute favorite option. I’ve tried others, including PicMonkey, but I love Canva so much I’m willing to pay for it. Don’t worry, you can use most of the available features with a free account.
You can do some basic editing of an image but the best part (to me) are the templates. They keep up with the optimal image size for all social media outlets so you know your image will fit and look good. But they also offer blog header templates, presentation slides, invitations, and more. I’ve used Canva when I volunteered at the kids’ school to help plan a dance and for my sex blogs. My favorite feature is the magic re-size. I make an image for one social media platform and with the click of a button (and a little editing) I have the same graphic sized perfectly for other platforms.
Schedule Feature in WordPress
I like having a blog/podcast schedule. It helps me know what’s going on when. Within WordPress is a lifesaver of a function – the scheduling feature. Say you want to participate in a meme on Monday, Wednesday, or Sunday. You know you won’t be able to write on the day of the meme, but you want a post that goes live that day. Write it when you can and instead of hitting “Publish” click the “Edit” link next to “Publish Immediately” on the right side of your screen.
Only you’ll know when you really wrote your post. If you’re publishing podcasts through your WordPress blog (please use a plug-in or outside source to host your audio file), you can use the same function. The Loving BDSM podcast goes live around midnight on Fridays, but I schedule it sometime between Wednesday and Thursday. I get to keep the schedule I like without watching the clock – and I feel efficient.
Oh, and as a bonus, the Publicize function (as part of JetPack) below the scheduling feature is another lifesaver. My blog post (title and link) gets posted to social media as soon as the post goes live. I use Buffer to promote a blog post a few more times, usually for Twitter, but when I’m stretched thin, at least I know a new post will be on social media at least once.
Trello can do a lot of things and has plenty of uses. Right now, it houses all of my blog post and podcast episode ideas. Some people prefer pen and paper, and others of us like to be digital. While I use pen and paper for my weekly to-do list, I need to know I won’t lose all of my ideas when I clean my house. As things get done on or used up from my Trello list, I archive it so I’m always looking at current information.
I have multiple lists on my Trello board: personal blogging, Masturbation Monday, Smutlancer, Loving BDSM, and sometimes just personal notes I want to have at my fingertips. Trello is free to use, and you can share a list or board with other people which is great for collaborative projects. Trello is available through a web browser or mobile app so as long as you can connect in some way, you have access to your notes and ideas.
From my early days of retail management in my mid-20s to now, no matter what job I’m doing, I have a to-do list. It’s on a clipboard (to carry it more easily) and it’s a white legal notepad – I find the yellow too distracting. Whatever I have to get done for the week goes on the list. My preferred pen will have purple ink. (The clipboard is purple too…do you notice a theme?)
These days my list is broken up into three sections: client work, blogging work, and “other” which is whatever doesn’t fit in the other two categories. I’ve also organized my list by the day. Everything I want to get done on Monday might listed together, on Tuesday, Wednesday…you get it. Crossing something off my list is pure satisfaction. And my list means I’m not constantly muttering what I have to do next under my breath which frees up brain power for other stuff.
Email Subscription Tools
It’s not enough to collect email addresses for a newsletter. You also need it to be seamless for yourself. A spreadsheet filled with email addresses isn’t the most productive way to get the job done. I’ve used Sumo at KaylaLords.com – the free version – which integrated with my Feedblitz account. All the email addresses were funneled to a designated list depending on which form people filled out on my website.
For The Smutlancer and Loving BDSM, I use Mailer Lite (the free option) as my email provider and WP Subscribe Pro as my pop-up and email newsletter form. WP Subscribe Pro cost $25 (I got it on sale) but I’ve used it on two websites, and I can edit it as much as I need to. Because of the integration, when I’m ready to send out an email newsletter, I never have to worry if everyone is on the most current list.
WordPress Editorial Calendar
You can already tell from my love of Trello and to-do lists that I’m a bit of a planner. A tool I love (that I don’t use as often as I should) is a plugin for WordPress called Editorial Calendar. It allows you to plan out your content in a calendar view.
- Open it up (within your dashboard under Posts) and click on New Post on any day within the calendar.
- Once you put in a title (working or final, it’s up to you) and any or no content, hit save.
- Now it’s a draft that you can write when you’re ready.
This is great for planning series of contents or mapping out exactly what you want to publish when.
Don’t think you have to use every tool in this list…or any of them, especially if you’ve already got something that works better. But if you’re overwhelmed and feeling unproductive, give one or two on this list a try. Sure, there’s going to be a learning curve, but if it works for you, it’ll be worth the extra time. And if you try something and it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to stop doing it.
The whole point is to make certain things easier so you can focus on the part you really want to do – create good content and reach more people.
Do you have any tools you use to help you stay on top of things? Feel free to share in the comments or on social media!