I have been wanting to up my Instagram game for a long time, and September feels like the month it is actually going to happen. A few months ago I started working on a little calendar of Instagram post ideas for bujo artists based on what I was loving on Instagram at the moment from #studygram and #bujo accounts. Since I love what I came up with, I decided to share this calendar with all of you lovelies.
Some of these bujo artist prompts seem a little technologically challenging, even for me! But the point of this calendar was two-fold: to force me out of my comfort zone when it came to Instagram and to help me start posting more regularly. If any of you are interested in challenging yourselves, then I hope this calendar provides a handy jumping off point.
Feel free to remix these post ideas. I have a feeling I may need to do some rearranging myself, considering I am going pretty minimal this month. I designed this calendar with flexibility in mind. Naturally, I realize not every month starts on a Sunday. But if you are new regular posting, this calendar should be useful as a base-line for what you can considering posting!
A Month of Instagram Content for BuJo Artists
For those of you who may prefer these bujo artist post ideas in a list format, I see you. Here’s the list typed out:
Week 1 spread
Behind-the-scenes look at a work-in-progress
Inspiration behind the monthly spread theme
Time lapse of work-in-progress
Close-up look at favorite design
Shout out favorite accounts
Week 2 spread
Bujo in the wild (e.g. nature, park, garden)
Step-by-step doodle instruction
Review you bujo utensils (e.g. the journal, pens, stickers, etc.)
Habit/goal tracker progress report
Tips for newbies
Week 3 spread
Share ideas for next month
Promote favorite supplies
Show off your workspace
Flashback post of past bujo spreads
Share a “Meet the Artist” page
Share favorite artists/artwork
Week 4 spread
Show off calligraphy progress/skills
Bujo in the wild (e.g. cafe, pub, library)
Sketch in progress
Share a “My Perfect Day” page
Shout out up-and-coming accounts
Week 5 spread
Monthly favorites illustrated
I would welcome any more bujo artist post ideas for Instagram in the comments down below! I am still relatively new to the bujo community and will likely come up with a few more ideas myself after this post has gone live! In the future, it might also be fun to make more versions of this calendar for specific seasons or holidays, so I will have a new list of post ideas going soon anyways.
Also, let me know if you plan to use this calendar and drop your Instagram account handle below if you are a bujo artist. I would love to discover some new accounts.
Welcome, one and all, to The Inky Saga! Today I wanted to talk about a topic very close to my heart: blogger burnout. If you’ve been around for a while, you probably already know I have never been the most consistent of bloggers. I’ll either be all about the blog for a few weeks or a couple months maximum, then something will derail me and I’ll take a long, often unannounced break. I’ve never worried much about it in the past, because I’ve never taken blogging seriously until recently.
I’ve been doing a lot over the past month to build my blog into something that may ultimately become profitable, and I know from all my research that’s not something that will happen overnight. Consistency and perseverance is essential. So if I go all out and exhaust myself in the first month of this project, then I’m not going to get where I want to go in the long run.
I’ve been really mindful of how much time I’ve put into my most recent blog posts, including the time spent planning them, writing them, making graphics for them, and promoting them via Pinterest and Twitter. It’s honestly been a lot of time for just 3-4 posts per week. On Friday I estimated that during spring break about 40% of my waking hours was spent creating the blog posts in the screenshot below.
So with all that in mind, I decided last Friday that I needed to come up with a better system. I go back to work this week, which means about 25 less hours that I’ll have to fiddle around with blog stuff. That doesn’t even count time that I will put towards Red Cross volunteering, applying for jobs again, or building up a writing portfolio for a freelancing business I want to start!
Out of everything I have going on, blogging feels like the most selfish at the moment. But it’s also the activity I’m hoping will yield the best returns over time.
I do not think my blogging struggles are unique to other bloggers out there, particularly fellow adults with more significant life commitments. We can all benefit from learning how to make the best use of our time and not let ourselves become overworked at something we love to do. The following are my tips for avoiding blogger burnout, plus the blog schedule I’ll be following for the time being.
1. Be a more efficient blogger.
Being more efficient means getting better work done in a shorter amount of time. It doesn’t mean cutting corners or being lazy. It means that you make the most of your time. If you’re making the most of your time, it means you are saving time and energy in the long run.
The first step in becoming more efficient is estimating how much time you need for blogging. It may be easiest to record the time you already use to blog in a notebook or Excel spreadsheet. Write down the Date, Activity (e.g. outlining a post, drafting a post, making graphics, promoting), Start Time, End Time, and then add it all up. You’ll know how much time you spend on average working on your blog posts, and then you’ll be able to decide how well that time fits into your life.
After you’ve done those activities, you can start thinking about what you might’ve done differently to work faster and/or smarter. For example, I’ve learned that if I’m doing a tag or meme, I can work faster and smarter by entering the newer WordPress editor (not the block editor), going to the More Options tab, and copying a similar post to Overwrite.
I’ve also realized that bookish posts are harder to promote on Pinterest, so I don’t waste valuable time creating vertical pin images for them (or blog tags for that matter) unless they’ve got a gimmick to them that I figure will attract readers, like my Leslie Knope & 10 Books on Her TBR post.
I also save time on Instagram by keeping the hashtags I use for bullet journal and bookish content saved in my iPhone Notes folder so that I don’t have to type them out each time and risk forgetting any important ones that help users find my content.
If you know that your making the best use of your time, it will be harder to slip into negative feelings that your blog efforts don’t matter or are not worth it. Anyone can be overworked and exhausted by what they do, but it’s self-doubt that will cause blogger burnout to sink in.
2. Make the blog posts you want to read.
I think most people blog first and foremost for themselves, not to become super popular or rich. Those who have ulterior motives are often easy to sniff out and won’t make it, because it’s easy to tell who is authentic and who is not. If you want your blog to have readers, authenticity should be your highest priority. It takes less mental energy being your authentic self and also produces the best results.
The easiest way I can think of for being authentic is by producing posts that feel the most natural to make. They are the posts that you yourself would want to read. It’s easier to blog with an audience of you in mind, because it’s more fulfilling that way. You feel like your efforts are not in vein when you blog for someone, even if they’re imaginary. It’s also the best way to attract the followers that you want; your ideal audience.
3. Don’t stretch yourself thin.
It’s hard to know when you’re overdoing it until it’s too late. When you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t always feel like work. It’s work that you feel is worth doing, at least until life gets in the way. When something unexpected happens or other life priorities demand more of your time, it’s a mistake to try and keep your regular blog pace. It’ll just make you resent your blog or the other big parts of your life.
A way that you can avoid stretching yourself too thin is by periodically doing an audit of everything you do foryour blog. Then decide how much time you can dedicate to blogging and when you can reasonably squeeze it into your life without letting any other parts of your life suffer. Make sure you leave time for self-care (e.g. hot baths, dog walks, exercise), other activities (e.g. bujo, reading, chores), and the unexpected (e.g. family emergencies, power outages, interviews).
Blogging shouldn’t take up your whole life. You need to have wiggle room; time that you can binge-watch that new Netflix show or have that impromptu brunch date with your friend that you don’t get to see very often. If you’re someone who has trouble reigning in the blogger enthusiasm, you may consider implementing a blog schedule.
I did the math, and I decided if I don’t want to spend more than 20% of my waking hours working on blog posts each week, then I should only be dedicating 25 hours maximum to drafting, polishing, promoting blog posts. Right now I’ve been blogging whenever I feel like it, but with more things that I need to start doing, I decided to become more regimented with when I do blog work so I know I’m making the best use of my time.
I’ve decided that I want to post no more than 3-4 posts each week, ideally closer to three. I want to write two evergreen posts each week, meaning posts with content that stays “fresh.” These posts are relevant throughout the years, rarely needing updating. For example, this post might qualify as evergreen because people might be searching for advice on how to avoid blogger burnout at any time during the year.
I also want to have at least one personal/fun/miscellaneous post each week in which I can engage with the communities I consider myself a part of. These may be bookish memes or blog tags. They may also just be blog/life updates or event announcements. I used to really enjoy writing weekly updates in my Week in Review format; maybe I’ll find a way to bring those back without taking time away from other posts.
While I don’t want to commit to an actual publishing schedule, I do feel like I need to set up a blog work schedule so that I have other days open for miscellaneous projects. I may need to adjust this schedule a little to accommodate unforeseen problems, but I think I’m off to a good start.
Monday–Friday: Promote & blog hop daily Saturday: Write 2-3 of next week’s blog posts Sunday: Create horizontal & vertical blog post graphics
During the week I’ll also likely choose a day where I will allow myself to start working on future blog posts, whether that just be planning and scheduling them or actually beginning to draft them. It would be great to get a little ahead of schedule if only for those weekends that I want to do nothing.
I hope you found this post helpful and informative! I plan to write more about how I plan blog content and my blog post workflow in the future, but I felt like this topic was a good place to start my blogging series. It also gave me a great opportunity to explain why I decided to give myself a blog schedule! I feel like it might take a few weeks to get in the routine, but it will save me a lot of time in the long run.
In February by complete chance I stumbled across a Skillshare video by Jules Tillman called “How to Make Money with Etsy Without “Making” Anything!” In this short course, she details how she makes a small commission on sale over time by including affiliate links in blog posts to Etsy products she likes. This fee comes out of Etsy’s marketing funds and not the sellers, so it sounded like a really cool way to help small businesses and make a little extra money for yourself.
I’ve long known that Pinterest could help build blog traffic, but I was never too fussy about numbers and didn’t understand see how it was useful. I knew Pinterest as a place to bookmark things I liked, and I mostly used it for writing inspiration. I never thought of Pinterest as a search engine, which is how I became interested in learning to harness its power to increase my blog traffic so that I could hopefully begin to monetize my blog.
There are a lot of pins with tips for how to become good at Pinterest (I even have a board dedicated to pinning strategy.). A lot of these pins lead to posts where the authors are hoping you are enticed to try out a product/service they recommend or buy their online course. However, one thing that has always been clear to me is that there are a lot of things you can do to start building your Pinterest audience before you ever need to spend a cent.
In this post I will share everything I’ve learned about how to increase my monthly Pinterest viewers and engagement. This post also serves as my recommended step-by-step guide for newbies who don’t know where to begin, including what I suggest you can worry about later.
1. SET UP A BUSINESS ACCOUNT LINKED TO YOUR BLOG
I have had always had a regular Pinterest account where my pins related to any topic of interest under the sun. One of the first things Jules Tillman recommends is setting up a business account and verifying your blog/website so that you have access to statistics on what pins performed well.
It is very simple to set up and I do find the stats are very interesting to look every couple of days to see in hindsight how my activity has influenced my traffic.
2. FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE, UTILIZING KEYWORDS
You should add a picture of yourself so that people know who they are following. You should also make sure to write a bio that includes the keywords that are associated with your boards and your blog, so that you optimize the possibility that search engines show your boards and pins to people searching for content that you create first.
I’ve also included a few keywords in my display name like users I emulate in order to help with further SEO.
If you aren’t sure what your keywords should be, you definitely want to take some time to give them some serious thought. Think about your blog and what kind of content you already make or plan to create. If you’re still having trouble, think about this question: what do you imagine people would google in order to find your blog posts?
3. CREATE PINTEREST BOARDS AROUND YOUR KEYWORDS
Your Pinterest boards should be broad topics related to your blog content so that you have a ready-made place to share pins to your own blog posts. For example, if you write book reviews or reading lists, then you should create boards about book recommendations where you pin posts similar to your own.
You should do your best to keep your boards pretty general because if they become too niched, then you may run out of original pins to share. It is essential that you are always able to find pins for your boards.
PRO TIP: Don’t have any inactive boards. I’ve also read that keeping boards private is not enough. If there are any boards you don’t actively add to, but want to keep because you want to be able to find those pins, archive them.
4. PIN EVERYDAY, SEVERAL TIMES A DAY
This tip may be tough to follow. Many Pinterest experts will recommend you use Tailwind to schedule pins in advance so that you don’t need to pin every day, but it’s not free. After you’ve gone through your free-trial (100 scheduled pins) you’ll have to pay $10 a month. If you’re only just starting to try to make money from your blog, the expense may not yet be worth it.
Personally I decided that I wanted to see if pinning consistently throughout the day actually resulted in more traffic. Long story short: it does! Your Pinterest foot traffic will explode if you are pinning manually whenever you have time.
On the daily, I try to pin at least seven times a day. First thing in the morning, mid-morning, before lunch, after lunch, when I’m sitting around at work waiting for the kids in the parking lot, after work, and before bed. Sometimes I’ll pin a bit more if I’m feeling inspired. Other times it’s a struggle to go on three times. It doesn’t always take a long, but sometimes it’s hard to think of things to search for if Pinterest isn’t showing you anything new or exciting.
– RESULTS & CONCLUSION –
On February 26th (when I first started pinning) I had 495 monthly visitors who saw my pins and 12 people who engaged with them. As of March 9th, I have 16,219 visitors who see my pins and 385 people who are engaging with them. I also know from my WordPress site statistics that over the last 30 days I’ve had three unique visitors visit my blog from Pinterest, and they are from one of the three pins I’ve created with vertical images.
While that may not seem like a lot yet, bare in mind that I’ve not yet dedicated a lot of time to creating pinnable content. By pinnable content, I mean blog posts that I know would be more popular because they are useful (e.g. tutorials, tips/advice, or explainers). My last four posts were a blog update, a book review, a list of beautiful book spines, and my March bujo spread. My focus has been on making pinning a part of daily routine so that I have a built-in audience that I’m confident will see and interact with my future blog posts.
I predict this post will be one of my first to do really well. If it is, I’ll do a follow-up post!
5. DABBLE IN CREATING ORIGINAL PINS
Finally, after you’ve set up your business account and have seen first-hand how your pinning activity correlates to your Pinterest traffic, I recommend you start dabbling in creating your own original pins for the content that you create. Just so I’m clear, I do not mean that you should wait to until this point to start blogging or whatever it is you do. I just think that you have nothing to lose by prioritizing growing your audience on Pinterest so that your future pins are seen by more people. Think of it as research.
There can be a bit of a learning curve in creating those long, vertical Pinterest images with a 2:3 ratio, which is I would recommend saving that joy for last. I’ve had to learn to use Canva’s interface to create my high-quality vertical images. (I previously used PicMonkey in a round-about way, if you know what I mean.) And I’ve had to learn how to format text and images to compose an attractive, eye-catching graphic.
In the past, I would write my blog posts first then create and insert any images or graphics. I’m a big fan of this work flow, because it kept the focus on writing the best posts possible. But for today’s post, the first thing I did was create the graphic because I knew I’d have trouble picking a title and formatting it so it’s readable and attractive.
The Things That Can Wait
I’ve been reading a lot of tips about Pinterest and there are a few things I think that you do not need to do right off the bat if all you’re concerned with at the moment is increasing traffic and not so much on cultivating a big following. Specifically, I’m talking about creating your board covers and branding.
Many people recommend creating covers for your Pinterest boards. This is an opportunity to brand your boards with your blog iconography and imagery. If you don’t really have a “brand” established yet, then the beginning is a fun time to experiment and see what works for you. I know I like navy, grey-blue, rose pink, and dark gold colors, but I don’t yet have a set style guide for my blog so I never use the exact same color codes.
Branding yourself and your blog is really important for people to be able to recognize your name and your work online. While branding itself is a topic outside of the scope of this post, I did want to mention it because I do not think you need to worry about it when you’re just starting out. It won’t hurt you until you’re actively trying to build a following.
I hope you found this post useful! I wrote the post I wish I had seen when I was first starting out with Pinterest. I plan to continue writing posts about what I learn on Pinterest, specifically about gaining followers, useful/sharable content that does well on Pinterest, and a work flow for making attractive Pinterest images that people will love to pin. If any of that sounds good, make sure to stick around!
Immediately #ontheblog you can expect some more bullet journal content! I feel like I’ve been doing it long enough at this point and have a unique enough perspective on the hobby to offer something new, so I may be kicking off a little series very soon.