Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 383 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business related questions five days a week.
All right, here's today's question from Dana.
Dana: Hi Pat. I love your show. Thank you so much for everything that you're doing. It's a huge help. I am new to blogging, I'm new to YouTube. I'm starting up a podcast and I'm having a lot of growth with my site. The problem is I am having the worst time getting organized. I'm forgetting which blog post I've already written about, what videos I've already done on YouTube. You'd mentioned something the other day on the AskPat Podcast about starting a spreadsheet to help people get organized as far as keywords and blog titles go. I was just wondering what else would you recommend putting on that spreadsheet? Any tips or trick you have for organization would be so much appreciated because it's bringing out rage in me. It's just terrible. I appreciate your time, thank you so much.
Pat Flynn: Hey Dana, what's up? Thank you so much for the question today. Also I appreciate your honesty here and just how you are feeling about this. Trust me, I know a lot of people who are listening to this can relate, as well as myself because as I've been able to grow my business, everything's been great but not everything really because a lot of times with the growth comes new territory and a lot of new things to keep track of. Like you said, blog posts, podcast episodes, who's been on the show. With AskPat I have quotes at the end of every podcast episode. How do I know and keep track of all that? How do I keep track of sponsors? There's a lot of things to keep track of. When you stop keeping track or you are not organized enough it's going to come back to bite you in the future.
That's why it's smart to take some time now or in the beginning, no matter where you're at. Wherever you're at now, it's smart to spend some time and make sure that you are as organized as possible, or at least a little bit more organized than you are now, to save yourself in the future, because a lot of times in the future we start looking for stuff, then we frustrated, then we lose our track. We lose our laser focus which we need to keep moving forward. That's just all bad so spend some time now to get organized. Now, a spreadsheet is a great way to organize stuff. That's the whole purpose of a spreadsheet. When you're running an online business spreadsheets do a lot for you. Now, like I had mentioned several episodes in the past before when I had started collecting information for my financials with income and expenses and things like that, I started keeping track on a spreadsheet.
That worked, but come tax season and all that stuff, that's why I got hooked up with FreshBooks, our sponsor today, and why I love them very much, because it's just much easier. All this to say that there are some things that you can keep track of not in a spreadsheet that are very helpful, like your finances with a tool like FreshBooks. Your analytics with a tool like Google Analytics. There's a lot of tools out there that can help us. But there are some things that are very useful to put on a spreadsheet, especially for somebody who is a content creator, like it sounds like you are, and I am, and a lot of us who are out there listening to this particular episode right now. I'm going to walk you through exactly what's going on in my spreadsheet right now.
This is our master editorial pipeline. This is what's used to keep track of what is being published on each of the different channels that Smart Passive Income has, including the blog, including AskPat, including Smart Passive Income podcast, and SPI TV. It also keeps track of the sponsors, it keeps track of the SpeakPipe questions that you all ask at AskPat.com. My assistant goes in, listens to the questions, put them on in a spreadsheet in a particular tab. I have one spreadsheet, that's the first organization tool. I don't have a bunch of spreadsheets for each of those things. I have one spreadsheet called the Editorial Pipeline. Again this primary purpose is to keep track of all the things editorially that's happening. There might be other things but again, I'm just using this as an example.
I'm using this to keep track of all the editorial stuff but within this one spreadsheet, or Google Sheet. Actually it's a part of Google Drive. There are tabs you can have at the bottom. You can do that with Numbers and Excel and things like that too, but with Google Sheets specifically at the bottom you can press that little plus sign and it adds different tabs. Within this one spreadsheet you can have multiple tabs. Each of those tabs represents a different editorial content platform. AskPat, the Smart Passive Income Podcast, and other things that I'm keeping track of as well. Now, with AskPat for example, there's a lot of things I need to keep track of. This is all just done on the fly trying to discover, “Okay, what is it that I do need to keep track of in order to do what I need to do to create these episodes for you?”
For example, I have the date of each of these episodes. The episode number to go along with that date. The what we call the Q number, or the number of the question that comes in from SpeakPipe so that's, for example, Dana, you're question 1773. I know that, for example. I'm looking right now at my spreadsheet and I'm highlighting this row right now. July 9th, Episode 383, Number 1773, first name Dana. That's the next column. Next one is your email address. That's not always required but that is there so that my assistant can go in and send you an email later on to collect your information to send you an AskPat t-shirt. Then I have the question, and then there's a column for me to select from a dropdown menu. There's some advanced strategies you can use in things like Excel to create dropdown menus and things like that. This one essentially says posted, recorded, edited, and things like that.
Then I have the quote, again all in the same row so I can know on that particular date what quote to say. This quote at the end of this episode is from Albert Einstein. He's been on a few times. Then I have sponsorship data. That is broken down from sponsors to the link that I say and then the earnings from that sponsor. Then there's also a section that my assistant uses to make sure that she can keep track of whether or not t-shirts have been sent out. Then there's also a section for notes in case there's something special that I need to with that episode or something that has to happen. That's how AskPat is. Now, the Smart Passive Income Podcast, I click on that tab and I go down and I see like before, the post date. The episode number. But then I have the intro number, because I have intros that are sent in via a voice talent, and those are each different audio files.
I label those audio files and then I put those labels into the intro that goes along with that particular episode. Then I have the title of the episode that I choose. The guest name, then I have the guest's website and links and resources that I know are going to be put into that episode. Then I have the upload due date, which a hard date that I have to have the audio files uploaded by. Then there's a section for the person who goes into see what those titles are and to create cover art for that particular episode, which goes on my blog. This person goes in, sees what the upcoming episodes are once, twice a month. Batch processes them based on everything that's in the sheet here that I've already mentioned in this particular tab. Again, we're talking about the SPI podcast. Then there's a due date for that person to have those uploaded and then those are uploaded to Dropbox.
Then there's a section for the podcast editing, so the person who edits the podcasts. I put notes in there for anything that perhaps have happened in that audio file. If they said a swear word I tell them around what time to look out for that and take that out. And there's a due date for that as well. There's a section for the transcription stuff. There's a section for show notes and there's a section for sponsorships as well. Again, this is all kept track here as well. For blog posts, I don't have a list of all the blog posts that I've previously written because this spreadsheet was created for the podcasts first. I do have a tab that is for the upcoming blog posts that have and honestly they don't go enough as far into the future as I want to which I why I hired a content editor that's going to help me in the future to organize and plan ahead and become a big part of the strategy team here for SPI.
Again, coming a lot based off of the survey answers that are coming in, so spisurvey.com. If you haven't checked that out already I'm collecting a number of responses to help shape the future of SPI. Anyway, going back to this, I would love, and actually we're going to be doing this, we're going to have one person on my team actually go back into time and create a tab here in this editorial pipeline calendar that is of all the blog posts that have ever been written on the site, their respective dates, keywords that relate to those particular episodes as well. The ones in the past, those are in the WordPress. When you're editing a blog post there's a spot to put keywords in there. That's all there. The category that they're in as well. Then perhaps down the road there might be a section to put the lead magnet that I have for that particular blog post, if I start to do unique lead magnets for each blog post as well.
Whatever you want to keep track of, whatever you feel is going to help you in the future, that's what you can put in there. Those are some things that will help you a lot. Those keywords are really important and the categories too so you can see what the flow is like, “Oh wow, I haven't written about such and such in such a long time, maybe it's about time we start putting some more of those in.” You can start to plan ahead too. That's been the number one thing with the spreadsheets, is actually it's been helpful to go back and see what I've already done, but it's also really helpful to see those blank spaces and the matrices that are here and what's missing. I can see, “Oh, in an upcoming episode I don't actually have, uh, the guest's website,” so we can go and get that or find somebody to do that, or, “Oh wow, in this, you know, we don't have an episode for this particular date, what should it, what should be abou- uh, what should it be about?”
We can see and also plan ahead, “Okay, this person's coming up so let's make sure to reach out to them, remind them that an episode's coming up and to get on Skype at this time,” and all those sorts of things. A lot of great things can happen when you plan ahead like this. It's all date-based, episode-based, or title-based as well so that way you can go in and see what's been written about. You can go in and you can plan ahead in terms of what's going to be title of your blog post. It's extremely helpful. Those are some things hopefully that will help you. If any of you listening have any more suggestions for Dana in terms of what you keep track of on a spreadsheet and things like that, things to help you with your content, go to Twitter and use the hashtag #AskPat383, again that's #AskPat383. We can continue this conversation on Twitter and Dana can keep track and see just every once in a while if anybody's had anything else to say. I'll be keeping track as well.
Thank you again for those. Let me head back to the AskPat tab here for Episode 383 so I know what that quote is. Again, see how easy that is to organize when it's all on a spreadsheet like that. Anyway, Dana thank you so much for the question today, I really appreciate it. We're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. We're also welcoming a lot more questions so go to AskPat.com if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, head on over to AskPat and you can ask right there on that page.
Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. Here's a quote, like I said, from Albert Einstein. It says, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” Cheers, take care, and I'll see you tomorrow in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks guys.