If you've been blogging for a while, you know how challenging it is to create consistently. Using Notion as a content creator has helped me create more.
Lately, I've been really enjoying the application Notion. I was a bit skeptical at first when I dived into the platform, but it's really been helping me stay organized as a content creator. Today I wanted to share a few ways to use Notion as a blogger/content creator, as well as some general tips to help you get started. Have you been using Notion as a content creator? If so, what have you been doing with it? I'd love to know in the comments below!
1. Content Calendar
One of the easiest ways to use Notion is creating a content calendar. I have been trying to keep up with a regular posting schedule here on The Happy Arkansan. I knew I wanted to build a calendar in Notion to keep me organized. Here's how I did it:
Create The Main Page Using The Table View
I wanted to see my content plan at a glance when I got on my content calendar page. I am tracking things like:
- Anticipated Post Date
- Status (I like to track things like SEO research, writing, graphics creation, and testing for long-term blog ideas.)
- Live URL (Once it's live, I add the link.)
- Tailwind (I use Tailwind for their Communities feature and to schedule pins, so I want to know when my new articles have been properly added to Tailwind.)
The great thing about Notion is that you can track what matters to you. Your content calendar may look completely different from mine. For example, you might want to track brands if you do tons of sponsored posts, authors if you have various contributors, or any number of extra items. Notion is so customizable!
Build A Blog Post Template For More Detailed Information
When you open each blog post, I've also created a blog post template to help me do more research on each article I produce. Here are some of the things I put in this template.
- Blog post information like potential titles, keywords, competitor links, and affiliate links.
- Blog post checklist to keep me on target and checking things off.
- Useful tools I can use to make my posts that much better, like my favorite stock photo sites, my favorite graphic design tool Canva, and a headline analyzer.)
Again, you can make your blog post template as customizable as you need to make it. What you decide to put here is your business.
Other Content Bank Ideas
I've also made a few other content banks inside my Notion account. If I have an idea that I love, my idea bank gives me space to jot down random ideas for later use. My content calendar is used to keep a few months of ideas, so my idea bank helps me keep ideas in the backburner without flooding my content calendar.
I also created a post database that I am really excited about. For this project, I used the WordPress plugin All Export to export some important information on my old content, like the date it was published, the title, a permalink, and post categories. I uploaded that CSV directly to Notion and deleted some of the draft content. I am so impressed with this workspace. One of my 2021 projects will be to revamp a good bit of my old content, so having this database is crucial.
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2. Blog Subscription Renewals Sheet
I have a TON of renewals related to my online life. Some of them are domain names, hosting, my post office box, and other tools. I was having the hardest time keeping up with everything, so I made a spreadsheet for it.
I gathered all the most important information and put it into a fantastic and easy-to-understand spreadsheet. Here's what I track:
- Name of the product
- Tags (I track things like hosting, domain, software, etc. For domains, I also track .coms, .cos, etc., because all of those renew at different rates with Namecheap.)
- Renewal Date (I also sort by this, so things with the earliest renewal date show up first.)
- Cost (So I can budget appropriately for the costs each month.)
Owning a blog isn't cheap. There are some major costs associated with keeping the blog (and my other sites Amanda Cross Co. and The Ambitious Freelancer) running smoothly. These costs can easily sneak up on you because so many of them are yearly charges. Keeping this spreadsheet allows me to see what I need to make room in my budget for every month. I'm not going to overdraft my bank account due to unforeseen blog costs.
3. Affiliate Marketing Tracker
If you didn't know, I love affiliate marketing. My affiliate content is a crucial part of how I make income from The Happy Arkansan since I don't do a ton of brand deals at the moment. I have affiliate offers on a variety of sites like ShareASale and Impact. There are so many terms to be aware of when it comes to affiliate marketing, and I wanted to ensure that I had everything I needed to promote in one place. Here's what I track here:
- Company name
- Affiliate site (where I access these programs)
- Category (What the company sells)
- Commission Style (The percentage/flat amount I get from each company.)
- General URL (This is a link I can quickly grab for social media promotion unless I want to do some deep linking.)
- Affiliate Review (For many of my affiliate companies, I have reviews on The Happy Arkansan, as you can see in the chart, not every company has a link.)
This is my headquarters for all information around the companies I am an affiliate for. This took a while to put together, but it's a precious resource to turn to. This tracker helps me see gaps in my affiliate strategy since some of my affiliate companies don't have proper content on the blog. If I am ever out of ideas, I know which companies should get my next affiliate post.
4. Brand Assignment Tracker
If you do a ton of brand assignments or collaborations, you'll probably want to create a tracker to keep up with all of the assignments you are working on. Keeping up with various deliverables and dates can be tricky, especially if you are working with brands across platforms.
One thing I love about Notion is that certain content can be opened on a new page. That page can be useful for brand guidelines, sample pictures, photography inspiration, and so much more.
Below is a screenshot of my client assignment tracker for my freelance business Amanda Cross Co. I would probably track similar things for brand collaborations. There are so many ways to generate income online. Right now, freelance client work is one of my biggest income generators.
5. Instagram Ad Digital Product Keeper
If you're like many content creators, you've probably been targeted for one too many content creation ads. As a blogger, content marketer, and freelance writer–I get bombarded with them. I am not going to lie, I fall victim to them a ton, and then they sit in my inbox untouched. I was pretty fed up with this vicious cycle, so I created a Notion spreadsheet to help me out.
Here's what I track in this spreadsheet:
- Name of the product.
- Link to access the product.
- A little bit about the product to jog my memory.
- Any codes I need to access the product if they have it.
This isn't a fancy system, but it's something I needed to create a simple spreadsheet around. All of these small purchases were adding up (see my money mistakes in 2020 blog post!) I needed the ability to get a better idea of what these products were. Letting them get lost in my email was obviously not working. I love this simple system a million times better.
General Tips For Using Notion As A Content Creator
Now that you see some of the ways I've been using Notion as a content creator, I want to give some general tips. I've been using Notion for a bit now, and these are some of the tips that have helped me.
Don't Let Overwhelm Take Over
Notion can be pretty overwhelming. There is so much that you can do with it, even on the free plan. It's almost impossible not to get overwhelmed by the sheer depth of this product. Take a step back. You don't have to create things perfectly from the beginning. Your Notion experience will probably be a work in progress until you get something you love. Get started, but don't feel the need to have everything 100% on the first try.
The great thing about Notion is that you can work on templates and update things for yourself over time. You don't need to create every single page I am showing today. Pick what you need help with and spend some time working on building that in Notion. From there, you can understand what you need next and dive deeper.
Check Out The Templates Section
Why should you start from scratch when you don't need to? I love the templates section because they have already designed some really amazing stuff across several verticals from design to product management. If you are looking for inspiration or a done-for-you Notion workspace, the template section is where it's at. All plans come with 50+ starter templates, so dig in to see which of these templates will work for you.
Watch Videos/Tutorials To Understand All The Customization You Can Do
There are so many great Notion videos and tutorials out there. Of course, Notion preloads a getting started guide into your account that you can work through and keep on hand. There are also tons of videos about Notion on YouTube.
I found this Notion video from Thomas Frank extremely useful. Notion also has a wonderful YouTube channel filled with helpful tips and use cases. If you search Notion on YouTube or Google, you will see many creative and helpful videos/articles.
Bottom line: you don't have to get into Notion blind. See how other people are using it to understand what you can do.
Sketch Things Out Before You Create Them
I believe in sketching things out or understanding what I want to create before I create them. Whenever I create planners or something that takes some time to put together, I always sketch things out on a sheet of paper first. If you are not working from a template, take some time to consider what you are trying to build so you don't have to start over again halfway through the building process.
Don't Forget About Guests!
One of the great parts about Notion is that you can invite guests to your Notion templates. This is great if you have clients, contributors, etc. that might need access to your content plans. For example, you can assign tasks to your contributors in Notion.
You get up to five contributors on the free plan, but the Personal Pro plan gives you unlimited guests.
Use The Earn Credit Feature To Get Free Months
One cool thing about Notion is the ability to earn free credit by doing simple tasks like downloading the app and using some features. You'll get $5 for just logging in on the web! Now, Notion doesn't have a referral program for friends, but these credits can really add up if you wanted to try their Personal Pro plan. The Personal plan is free and has many features, though, so you may be fine sticking with a free account. I say, if you have the credits, you might as well spend them.
Conclusion: How To Use Notion As A Content Creator
Notion is a wonderful free tool for content creators. If you are trying to get your blog, YouTube channel, social media, etc., together, this is a fantastic tool. There are tons of great tools out there like Asana and Trello, but I feel like Notion is truly a step above all of those platforms. It's so clean and flexible. You can accomplish so much by using this platform.
If you are looking for a great platform to handle all of your content tasks and budgets, Notion will help you tremendously.