This article was originally published by Forbes.
Most people who start blogs or write online aren’t doing it for the love of managing logistics, but doing so can be crucial, even for seasoned writers. I have a dear friend who’s been published extensively, including long-term stints in several major media outlets. Still, she laments that she doesn’t track her content better or even have a thorough record of what she’s published.
Not wanting to make the same mistake, I developed three tools that have helped me create and track over 100 articles I’ve published in different media outlets.
1. Article Idea Catcher
Started over two years ago, my current document is 21 pages full of 3 AM ideas, braindumps, and favorite anecdotes. It’s where I save those great one-liners or paragraphs that didn’t make it into the final article but I don’t want to lose.
This is also where I put favorite quotes. Years ago licensed psychologist (and my dear friend) Heather Blier told me, “The ebb and flow of confidence as a business owner is dizzying.” I haven’t found a place for the quote yet, but I certainly find it relatable. Since I have it saved in the Article Idea Catcher, I don’t have to shoehorn it into an article or risk forgetting it entirely. I’m sure there’s a future home for it within a piece on entrepreneurship or professional confidence.
The Article Idea Catcher has become an indispensable resource for article ideas. I consult it regularly when I’m on deadline and need fodder for new content.
2. Ultimate Article List
This document went through several iterations, but ultimately I opted for a spreadsheet with each row dedicated to an article. The first section includes the publication, date it was published, the headline, and a link to the article.
The second section helps me track my promotion of it. I’ve got a column for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but I’ve also got columns to remind me to post it to my personal website and save it in my Article Database (see #3).
The final section breaks the articles into topics like negotiation, professional confidence, entrepreneurship, etc. It’s crucial when I’m sharing resources with clients or pitching a new publication – I just re-sort the spreadsheet by subject matter, and I’m able to quickly share the headlines and links to relevant articles.
It could prove valuable to track engagement and see which types of content resonate most with my audience on different platforms, but I haven’t added that column.
3. Article Database
After I finish an article, I copy and paste the entire piece into a document I call my Article Database. It’s (currently) 250 pages of searchable content that includes everything I’ve published.
Thanks to the Article Database, when I get stuck thinking, “I know I’ve written about ‘pleasant persistence’ before...” I just search for that phrase, and am quickly able to pull up the article where I first made the reference.
Recently, a colleague asked me for a quote about goal setting. Rather than having to think of something new, I searched “goal” in my Article Database and was able to give her a few great options.
These three Google Docs are invaluable when I’m asked to provide quick turnaround on a new article, send over media clips, or share resources on a particular topic. If you’re starting out in your writing career or just looking to get more organized, I highly recommend these tools.