Have you ever taken a break and come back to your computer and found that you are completely overwhelmed? My husband has, and now I’m on a ban from buying shiny new things. This ban is nothing new and usually lasts about a month, but this time he’s determined that it will last as long as it needs to or until I complete an inventory. In short he wishes for a “stock take” to take place so that he knows all the tools, software and courses we have and why we have it.
He’s right (don’t anyone dare share this with him, there’ll be no living with him) – It’s important to create an inventory of all the resources, tools and skills you have and only then will you know which tools you’ll need to acquire. Whether you’ve been blogging for some time or your just starting out, your online efficiency will improve when you know all that you have.
Start with Your Goal and Work Backward
Grab a pen and paper, sit down with a cuppa and then start with your goal and brainstorm all the things you’ll need before you can reach that goal. I know this pen and paper thing is terribly old-fashioned but instead of making a list on your tablet where you will almost immediately forget about it, try the traditional method.
If your goal is to blog then all you need is a WordPress website, Aweber and a small selection of WordPress plugins… plus the time to create the content for the blog. It sounds so simple like that, and I think half the time we make things seem harder than they really are. If you are looking to create something bigger online, then make sure your inventory includes a plan.
What You Have and What You Need
Take your list and divide it into two categories – the things you have already, and the things you need to get. If you are starting out you’ll find the things you need list is bigger than the things you have. If you’re an established blogger then the list of what you have already will be bigger.
When you’ve finished you’ll probably find you have far more than you realised…
Making a Plan for the Wants
For each item, figure out where you can get it, how soon you need it, and how much it costs per use, what license it has. If you have no need for it, but you have an inbox full of marketers telling you to buy it, reassess, but remember unless you have the specific need for it now or in future projects, or it will just gather dust on your hard drive. I can’t begin to list the products that I have and I don’t use, but it looks like I’m gonna have to list them soon…
Look for advice online on which tools are the most useful and read online reviews before buying any software. Some of the best reviews are done by people who have and use the software they’re writing about. In the UK there are trading standards laws that tell you in order to review something you will own it or have a review copy. I’m pretty sure the FTC in the US has similar guidelines. After all how effective is your review if your reviewer don’t actually use the product?
Put together the resources and tools you need gradually, devoting a little bit of time to it each day and in doing so you’ll increase your social media efficiency.[Contributed by Sarah, Content Creation Expert at Sark eMedia.]