Today we are learning all about the importance of blogging Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) to run a successful profitable blog and how to put in them in place!
Who better to help us navigate through this vital part of blogging productivity than my friend Jessica Dornieden. Jessica is an Online Business Manager and Systems Consultant who helps creator every day establish systems that work.
Here's why she had to say about blogging SOP'S…
Standard Operating Procedures for Blogging
I know what you’re thinking right now… “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for a blog? What is a Standard Operating Procedure in the first place? How do I put one in place?”
That’s the normal response I get when I mention them, so you’re not alone, but just bear with me for 2 minutes and I’ll explain it all – I promise.
Do you sometimes get that feeling that you’re swimming in tasks for your blog, and you have absolutely no clue where to start? Or maybe you get that sensation that you’re chasing your tail, and you wonder how other people seem so organized and consistent?
You know your content is good, but your audience is not growing as much as you would like, and you may feel like you could be doing better overall.
You may have tried all the tools, and all the planners – yet the feeling has never shifted.
Listen up, if you’ve been there, then this post is for you.
What are standard Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)?
I know that for most online business owners and bloggers, the term Standard Operating Procedures tends to trigger thoughts along the lines of “corporate rubbish”. I have also heard, “it’s one of those things big companies have in place to keep their employees in line – and as a small business owner I don’t need any of that. Right?”
Over the past few years working with clients as a service provider and consultant I’ve found that a lot of issues within businesses can be traced back to a lack of SOPs and inefficiencies that result from the lack of organization.
So, let’s look at what SOPs really are, how they can benefit your profitable blogging business, and how to create them from scratch.
Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are defined as, “established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations.” (Source)
In other words, SOPs are nothing but a series of steps that are to be followed whenever a specific situation occurs.
For your blog, that could impact all areas of the business surrounding it, whether it is new content to be published, guest posts, interviews with other business owners and bloggers, new freebies, new email sequences, etc.
Why do you need SOPs and how can they make your blogging life easier?
So, now that we know that Standard Operating Procedures are simply a series of steps that are to be followed in certain situations, you may be wondering why you would even need them.
Often times I hear my clients say things like, “I know what I’m doing, I’ve done this 100 times. I keep all the information in my head.” Does that sound familiar?
First off, “keeping it all in your head” and having to constantly recall information is taxing on your brain.
If you’ve ever experienced any of the following, then you’re experiencing the consequences of a lack of well-documented processes in your business:
- Content is published late regularly, or you simply feel like you're constantly doing things at the last minute.
- You have to edit blog posts a million times because you forget to add something (images, links, alt texts to images, etc.)
- Your content is not getting the same treatment every single time without fail (eg. one post has additional images, one doesn’t, one post gets shared on social media, the next one doesn’t, one post is sent to your email list, but the next one isn’t)
- You feel like your brain is constantly buzzing with all the things you need to do – and you never seem to make any progress on getting on top of things
All of those things result in inconsistent growth on your blog.
In addition, when it comes to doing things that are not done very frequently it takes you ages to figure out how to do it.
For instance, how to use that tool again that you last used when you did your taxes a year ago. Then, it turns into a load of wasted time and unnecessary stress.
Or, you tried to hire a team member for help, but it seemed more work to have them help you than to just do it yourself. Or maybe you felt like they made a lot of mistakes or took a long time to get stuff done.
These are just some examples of how a lack of systems and processes end up costing you time and money, by keeping your blog stuck.
Implementing Standard Operating Procedures for your blog will no longer require you to hold all the things in your head. In turn, it will allow you to start thinking creatively again.
SOPs combined with your calendar and a Project Manager Tool will give you:
- peace of mind
- more time spent working productively
- less money wasted
- an easier time growing your blog and your business as a whole
- adding team members (e.g. virtual assistants, project coordinators, accountant, etc.)
So, no more rushing, no more last-minute content creating, no more staying stuck.
So, how do you develop SOPs?
I have a very simple process I follow with clients that you can apply to your blog.
With that’s said, I don’t want this to be MORE work for you, I want this to be easy and smooth, and start freeing your mind from the clutter.
Here is what you have to do…
Step 1: Outline your responsibilities on a schedule
Draw a simple table on piece of paper (I like to work on paper for this) and list out the days of the week. This doesn’t have to be beautiful, this is a working list that you’re going to add things to, as you go.
Then, start populating the table with the things that you need to have done by which day. Think of everything related to your blogging business, not just the content. Ideas your list would consist of priority blogging tasks with the highers ROI (Return on Investment).
Here is a start of one of those tables.
Step 2: Consider getting a project management tool
If you work with recurring tasks A LOT, then my personal favorite is Asana, because the recurring tasks facility in Trello is a little bit clunky, otherwise I’d probably go with Trello.
If you’ve tried using either of those tools in the past and you’re in the “it wasn’t working for me” camp, I’d strongly encourage you to try again.
Many of my clients had the same experience as you. But when we got to setting things up for them it became clear that the issue wasn’t the actual tool. It was the fact that they didn’t have a system for using it, and that made things very difficult.
Once we’ve set everything up for them and implemented a system that works with a tool that works, everyone has been feeling a sense of relief and ease.
So once again, it’s worth trying again, even if you need to get some help on board to get the initial system set up.
I usually use one project/board for each key area of the business and then split the board into columns according to the stage of each task. I use the board layout in Asana as well).
Here is what that looks like for me:
Setting up your project management tool for success, is another huge area and something I could talk about for days, but let’s get back to SOPs since that’s what this post is about.
Step 3: Document one item at a time
Now, I want you to pick ONE item off of the table you wrote and start to document what you’re currently doing to get that job done.
Let’s pick: Publish New Blog Post
The next time you’re publishing a post, I want you to create a template task that you’re doing to duplicate for each new post and fill it out as you publish your blog post.
So, you’re basically documenting right alongside your work.
Here is what that list looks like for my Publish a New Podcast Episode:
Then, I simply want you to leave the template task in your Project Manager tool and cross the Publish New Blog Post off your table.
Next, pick the following task you do regularly, e.g. Daily Manual Pinning Strategy. Once again, document as you complete the task, then cross off the list and repeat until all of the routine tasks that you can think of are documented.
This should give you a basic list of processes that are coming up regularly.
Once you’ve worked through the items you’ve written on the table, it’s time to schedule them with a due date in your Project Manager tool. You can also set up any necessary recurrences (e.g. Publishing new blog post task needs to be completed every Tuesday and Friday).
Step 4: Remain vigilant and document other tasks
You will have other tasks in your business that happen monthly, or maybe only once or twice a year, or only when you’re launching something new.
Remain vigilant and keep documenting, and when a process needs to change, don’t forget to update your template tasks.
Once you’re done setting this all up, your Asana (or Trello, etc.) account should have plenty of tasks that are going to be automatically recurring.
Some tasks are created manually, but everything should have a due date and a process.
Make Reviews, Improvements, and Edits
Once you’ve finished documenting your current SOPs, you may want to spend some time reviewing your tools and looking for lost time/lost money or things that just don’t serve their purpose anymore.
You can’t optimize your blog if you don’t know where the bottlenecks actually are.
I hope you found this short dive into SOPs helpful, if you want to talk more about this or get some help to optimizing your business workflow, feel free to reach out to us at any time.
★ Related Articles:
- The Ultimate Blog Planning and Scheduling Tutorial (Daily/Weekly/Monthly)
- 7 Priority Blogging Tasks with the Highest ROI (Traffic and Money)
- 7 Vital Blogging Tools I Could't Do Without
- Top 5 Blogging Courses (to Help Grow and Monetize your Blog)
Do you have any current Standard Operation Procedures created for your blog?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica Dornieden
As an Online Business Manager, techy VA and Systems Consultant, Jessica Dornieden and her team help online business owners to grow their empire without the feelings of stress and overwhelm.
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