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Managing Multiple Blogs

Originally Published on Medium

Full article: 

If you are a blogger and have several different interests, you probably have more than one blog. Managing multiple blogs is a challenge, but once you define your goals and organize your weekly work schedule, it’s really not that hard. Here are some tips and methods I have developed managing my own travel blogs and those of my clients.

I first started blogging in 2002 – a million years ago in internet time! I studied graphic design in Milan, Italy and got a job as a website designer. I started blogging about living in Milan. I began by posting pictures and wrote about the interesting things I found in Milan. My target audience was my friends and family back home. It was a way to share my experiences and discoveries with them. Then a funny thing started happening – people I didn’t know started contacting me, asking me for advice on where to stay, where to go shopping and what to while visiting Milan. That’s how my travel blogging began – I had a travel blog and I didn’t even have to leave town!

Juggling multiple blogs

A few years later, I moved to Lake Como. I basically did the same thing; blogging about my experiences on Lake Como. At that point, in addition to projects for private clients, I had two blogs to juggle. As I discovered more and more of Italy and other beautiful cities, I felt like I needed a place to write about my other travel experiences in Italy; hence adding a third website about travel in Italy.

Of course, I could have put everything on one site but as a former usability tester, I thought that it would be difficult for users to find exactly what they needed if it were all jumbled up in one place. My reasoning was: Why visit a website about Milan if you want to go to Rome?

Define and stick to your topic

Having a clear idea of what your blog is about not only helps you brainstorm ideas for new content, it helps you grow your readership and subscriber base by offering targeted content to targeted audiences. Throughout the years, the blogs have evolved and changed and based on user feedback I have defined the blog categories.

Essentially, all three of my websites are blogs about Italy with travel tips for visiting Italy.  The main topic is Italy and the subtopics (categories) are Travel, Food & Wine, Style and Lifestyle.

Sometimes I may find news stories that are interesting that I would like to blog about, but if it doesn’t fit into any of my topics, I just share it on my social media channels without spending too much time on trying to make it “fit”. For example, I don’t offer up-to-the-minute news, so local news that might affect travelers’ plans to Italy is shared on my social media channels.

Defining your blog topics saves you time in deciding and creating content and helps you define your blog identity.

How to organize content creation for multiple blogs

Step 1: Create a content calendar
Step 2: Create a weekly content creation calendar
Step 3: Market your content through multiple social media accounts

Step 1: Create a content calendar

Blogging is and should be casual and carefree – but if it’s your job or even a part-time job, you must learn to organize and optimize your time.

A content calendar is a list and schedule of the content which you would like to publish. If you think of your blogs as a publication like a magazine with sections it is easier to face the workload involved in planning the content creation.

It is also important to remember that the day you write an article and the day the article is published do not necessarily have to share the same deadline.

While brainstorming ideas for my blogs I keep titles and subjects in an Excel file. The Excel file has:

  • Title – a title idea (titles usually change as the story develops)
  • Story idea – a general description of points to address in the article
  • Category – the topic section of the blog it will be published in
  • Blog – the blog to publish it in
  • Publishing Month- this is the best time to publish the content online (for example Christmas ideas should be published online in October or earlier)

In order to avoid the stress of having to work on a deadline, I do not set a specific deadline. That is my personal preference, but if you feel that you work better with deadlines, then set a specific date. When I sit down at the keyboard I work on the titles to be published the following month. Working one or even two months in advance gives you time to define your final ideas, set up the social media posts in advance and possibly find a sponsor for your post.

Step 2: Create a weekly content creation calendar

My weekly writing calendar is set up by category. I treat each site as a section of a magazine. I plan three articles per week, one for each blog. Since each of my blogs has 4 similar topic categories, each week of the month I work on one category creating a targeted article for each blog;

  • Week 1 Travel
  • Week 2 Food & Wine
  • Week 3 Style
  • Week 4 Lifestyle

In my case, the content is similar and I can recycle ideas and content themes. For example, an article about “5 Cheeses of Lombardy” can be used as a template for “5 Cheeses of Tuscany”.

By thinking of broader topics to categorize your content topics, it will help you manage your weekly workload. For example, if one blog is about Golf and another is about Cooking you could categorize and set a weekly plan:

  • Week 1 How to (Golf techniques /Cooking techniques)
  • Week 2 Pro Profiles (Golf pros /Celebrity chefs)
  • Week 3 Style (Golf Fashion / Table decor, food presentation)
  • Week 4 Travel (Golf resorts / International cuisine and customs)

By using the ideas listed in your content calendar and working on one topic per week, you will be able to take on managing multiple blogs without the stress of trying to think of ideas on the spot.

What about duplicate content?

Often, a subject might be suitable to put in all of your blogs. We all know that duplicate content is a no-no for the search engines. They don’t like that!

Write about the same thing but in a different way. I don’t mean changing the adjectives and switching the order of the sentences, I mean: write a new article. Approach the same topic with a new angle, perspective or point of view. After you have already written a blog article, it won’t be like starting from scratch.

One of the techniques I use is to write a really long article of about 1500 words. I write everything I know about the subject, my experiences, and the information I have researched. Then I edit it into three articles of 500 words. What you take away from one article can be reused in another.

Step 3: Market your content through multiple social media accounts

With multiple blogs, you also have multiple social media accounts to manage. A Facebook page, an Instagram account, and a Twitter account – in addition to whatever else is out there.

I have found lifesavers in three tools:

  • Hootsuite
  • Revive Old Post
  • Crowdfire

If you only have one website, you can probably survive with the free versions of these apps. Managing multiple blogs, you definitely need the pro versions of these extremely useful tools. I have shopped around and looked into others but found that these are the most affordable (for my needs.)

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media manager that lets you post and share to all of your social media accounts from one control panel. Also available as a mobile app. You can set up multiple Instagram and Facebook page accounts and simultaneously post to all at the same time or selected accounts. You can set up multiple Twitter accounts, but you can only post to one at a time. For all accounts, you can post immediately or schedule a post date and time or have Hootsuite decide the optimal time to post.

There are two drawbacks:

  1. You can no longer post to your personal Facebook account.
  2. You can only post to one Twitter account at a time.

I use Hootsuite to preschedule social media posts relating to an article I publish. For example the week my article about “Christmas Fairs in Italy” is published, my social media channels will have Christmas themed messages (hopefully) enticing users to click on my link or share my content.

Hootsuite has a free version and three pro versions: Pro $25 /mo, Team $109 /mo, and Business $599 /mo

Revive Old Post

A plugin for WordPress publishers by Revive Social. It automatically shares your already published content by sharing it to your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin accounts.

After installing Revive Old Post, my website stats started booming! Steady social media is absolutely essential today. Revive Old Post does exactly that – it posts your old posts. If you offer “evergreen” information, then it is perfect for you. The free version will only post text, with the pro version it will post the text and main image as well as give you the option to exclude categories. For example, I don’t re-post anything from the Events or Archive sections. The pro version also gives you the option of post frequency; you can set it to post every hour, every 5 hours or every 72 hours, it’s up to you.

Revive Old Post has a free version and three pro versions: Personal $75 /year, Pro $149, Business $299/year

Crowdfire

A tool that helps you find and share relevant information from other resources with your audience. Crowdfire shows you a selection of content and posts related to your preferred interests. With a simple click, you can share it on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Vimeo, WordPress, and LinkedIn social media channels. You can share immediately or preset a time and day.

The same drawbacks apply here too:

  1. You can no longer post to your personal Facebook account.
  2. You can only post to one Twitter account at a time.

The best feature is that you can register as a content provider. Once you register to become a content provider, your RSS feed is put in the mix and other Crowdfire members following your topic can share content from your blog.

Crowdfire has a free version and three pro versions: Plus $7.48 /mo, Premium $37.48 /mo, Business $74.98 /mo

These are just a few of the techniques and tools I use. Being organized with a content calendar and having a few good tools to help you market your content will keep your audience interested, help it grow and keep you motivated.