For some reason, it shocks people to find out I’m not very organized. I mean, I help lead a team of 200 review bloggers, manage social media for four homeschool companies, lead several book launches a year, write for a couple of contributor blogs, homeschool, and then there’s this little place on the web called Ben and Me.
I might be a little busy.
I am for sure a lot disorganized. I often feel like I’m sinking, along with my to-do list(s).
Over the past year or so, thanks to THE best readers in the blogsphere, Ben and Me has grown to the point I am often offered wonderful opportunities for promotions, reviews, giveaways, and advertisement. Did you know that bloggers have to track all that stuff and pay taxes? Oy vey! What a chore it can be!
For someone like me, who lacks the natural organization gene, it can be quite overwhelming to keep track of it all. And this year, when my husband sat patiently while I searched every Paypal and Amazon transaction, looked for disorganized files on my laptop, dug through baskets and bookshelves for review items, and sat thinking for hours about what on earth I may have missed, just so he could file my taxes, he became pretty insistent that I find a new system. Any system.
Enter the Blog Buddy, a business organizer for bloggers.
A friend suggested I take a peek at this business organizer for bloggers one day when I was spilling over in frustration at my lack of record-keeping. I fell in love with the description and immediately purchased one. (yes, I bought it. I got a killer deal, but I did not receive it free as I do many review items.)
As soon as I received it, I could not be quiet. I had to start telling my blogging friends about this gem of a business blog planner, and I knew a review would soon follow. If you are a blogger who is monetizing your blog, you need this tool. If you are a blogger who can’t figure out how to keep track of all of your ideas, social media promotions, revenue or expenses, you need this tool.
Really . . . if you consider yourself a serious or professional blogger at all, you need this tool.
The creator, Dani Meyer is a blogger. She knows what bloggers need. And she has spared no expense in creating the most useful planner of any type I’ve ever used (or not used as the case usually ends up). The design is smart — ingenious really — as well as user-friendly and gorgeous (because no matter how useful it is, if it’s not pretty, are we really going to use it?).
Blog Buddy is smartly divided into six sections: Weekly, Monthly, Brainstorm, Write, Monetize and Track and uses a Plan – Act – Track System, with the Weekly section being your primary work space. You can see a visual of the Weekly section here:
Let me tell you a bit about each section of the Blog Buddy.
There’s a 2-page spread for each week. There are sections for posts to write, personal goals, blog goals, and brainstorming, as well as a place to mark which posts you published, promoted, whether or not you interacted in social media, and which community sites you promoted to. The next section has a scorecard for how you did in meeting your goals, a place for appointments and deadlines, and lots of room for weekly notes and daily tasks. At the very bottom you can mark what you’re making for dinner and check off how much water you drank. Because most of us are wives, moms, and have a life outside of blogging, right?
There are yearly calendars for 2014 and 2015 on the first page and then 2-page spread monthly calenders for 2014 and 2015 with roomy blocks for each day and a sidebar of notes. Dani will not be printing a 2015-16 Blog Buddy. This is your option for 2015.
There are several pages for recording post topic and title ideas, design ideas, and then quite a few blank lined pages for just writing as you brainstorm. I love this section because I’m always coming up with ideas and never writing them down. I always think I will remember them, but I rarely do. Now I have a place to jot them down.
There are pages to record guest blogging opportunities, giveaways, reviews, and then pages and pages of “post completion checklists” — enough for 5 posts a week for 52 weeks. The post completion pages have check boxes to record every step of creating a blog post — from completing the project to taking and uploading photos, adding a title and SEO keywords, all the way to the final draft and posting. It even reminds you to link related posts and categories. Finally, my favorite part of this section — there are places to mark when you promote the post on social media — several spots to mark for Facebook, Twiter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.
This section begins your record-keeping for Uncle Sam (or your husband). Included are pages for current advertizers, persective advertisers, and sponsored posts. Each of these categories have columns for important information such as contact information, follow-ups, dates, and payments received.
Here you’ll record blog statistics, monthly expenses, blog revenue, blog expenses, and a there is a balance sheet. More stuff for your husband and Uncle Sam. I have enjoyed recording my blog and social media numbers to see how much growth there has been for Ben and Me. It’s very cool to have it all in one place.
The quality of Blog Buddy is unparelelled. It has a hardback, laminated cover that wipes clean, lay-flat double-O wire binding, and 60 lb. professional quality paper. It is very thick and sturdy. Even the dividers between the sections are of the highest quality. In the back you’ll find a full-size, lay-flat zipper pocket — the perfect storage spot for receipts and business cards. It closes with a sturdy elastic strap so it all stays together. Since I’m often on the move, I really appreciate that feature. Don’t you hate it when a book or notebook falls open in your bag and pages get wrinkled. I really hate that.
There is a sweet addition, too — a Goals and Gratitude bookmark with a Staedtler alcohol pen. The bookmark snaps into the Blog Buddy and is movable, so you can place it wherever you wish and have a daily reminder of what you are working toward and for what you are thankful along the way. It’s a nice touch.
The Blog Buddy also comes with three digital files — an Important Contact Manager, Financial Tracker, and Social Media Manager. The Financial Tracker is the spreadsheet I’ll be able to present to my husband for tax purposes at the end of the year. That will make him very happy. If you want to set up a regular schedule for social media, then you’ll have that tool. The contact list is just a great way to keep track of all of the people you meet when networking, or those who hire you for promotions.
My Blogger Brain
I’ll be honest, when I first received it, I was nervous to write in it. It’s just so pretty. I didn’t want to mess it up. But now, after two months with Blog Buddy, I have overcome that fear and literally keep it with me everywhere I go. It is my blogger brain.
For the first time, I feel organized as a blogger. And for the first time, I am continuing to regularly use a planner. I can’t tell you how huge that is. My husband is keeping me accountable by asking to see the tracking page, so that helps. But even without his ummmm . . . strong encouragement to keep better records, I believe I would be inspired to do so thanks to my new
brain Blog Buddy.
Need more convincing, take a peek at this video:
I’m thrilled to share that Dani is offering a free shipping code to my U.S. readers. That’s a savings of $10!
Use the code SHIPMEFREE when you check out. If you are outside of the U.S., you will still receive a $10 discount, but not free shipping.