Suzi Whitford (Start a Mom Blog, Suzi’s Facebook Group) might be the most logical, systems-oriented blogger I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with. Given her audience is made up of parents–she specializes in helping all of us savor our most precious asset: TIME.
Listen to my chat with Suzi Whitford from Start a Mom Blogor listen on Apple Podcasts \ Google Podcasts \ Spotify
Time-saver #1 – Use Gmail canned responses to optimize inbox time:
Let’s be honest, we all spend WAY too much time in our inboxes.
And the more your blog starts to grow, the more emails start piling up from fans/followers.
What if there was a way to stay engaged with these folks, AND scale back the time you spend in Gmail?
Well, there is.
Gmail canned responses allow you to pre-write a handful of *commonly-used* emails or text snippets–and save them as templates you can use over and over again.
Here’s how to create a canned response template.
- Click the gear icon in your Gmail inbox
- Head to “settings”
- Go to the “advanced” tab
- Enable canned response
- scroll down and save
Ok. Now they’re enabled.
To create your first canned response…
- Compose a new email
- Click the gear at the bottom of the email box
- Save a new canned response.
To USE a canned response, you’ll go to the same place, and you should see a list of your canned responses there!
Here’s what you can use these templates for:
Dang-near anything, actually, but I like these:
- Answers to commonly asked questions (for me it’s usually beginner-heavy purpose and traffic questions, so I send people to my 10k-word mega-guide on how to start a blog)
- “Thank you” emails
- Pinterest group board outreach emails
- Backlink outreach emails
- Pointing people to a Google form, etc for collecting feedback or questions
Speaking of that last one…
2 – Hosting regular Facebook lives is an awesome way to connect with followers AND avoid your inbox
Combined with using Gmail canned responses, Suzi does something else really smart: she repurposes questions.
By saving all of the questions she gets for a weekly Facebook live, Suzi saves time by NOT answering these individually (doing them in bulk)–but she still DOES answer them in a very engaging and personal way (live video).
Smart with a capital “S.”
Another Gmail Pro Tip:
Use labels and stars!
I file almost ALL my emails under various labels–but I’ve also started categorizing all the emails still sitting in my inbox.
I do this by different colored “starred” icons (which you can organize in your settings here):
And I save “you must respond to this” emails with the red square:
Without this system, I’m fairly certain I’d lose my mind.
Also, my friend Chennell Tull has an awesome post on organizing Gmail further.
3 – Do a time-spent-blogging audit.
My favorite quote from Suzi’s chat was this:
“Where am I spending my time and how can I reach more people?”
It’s the question of all questions.
- Time = our biggest, non-renewable asset
- Blogging = takes a TON of that asset
Given the fact that we all want to grow our blogs (else why are you reading this, dawgpound?)–a time audit can be a handy way to keep efficient and productive.
Use these questions to get started:
In the past [timeframe], where have most of my results come from?
Example: In the past 3 months, where has most of my traffic come from?
Which channels are growing? Which topics bring in the most affiliate revenues? The most shares and traffic?
Prioritize time spent to focus on these blog metrics.
When I sit down to work on my blog–where do I spend the most time?
Editing? Writing? Optimizing images?
The point is to figure out which activities take up a *disproportionate* amount of time–compared to the traffic and revenue ROI they bring back to you.
Find ways to automate, outsource, or simply drop those activities.
Example: I was taking FOREVER to optimize and compress my images in WordPress. The WP plugin Smush could save me a ton of time.
How could I reach more people without spending any more time?
Or heck, how about “how could I reach the SAME amount of people spending less time?”
Facebook ads? A better social media management tool (like SmarterQueue)
This question is probably the hardest to answer, but will hopefully point you to either better blogging tools or paid options for maximizing reach while minimizing time spent.
Systemize. Prioritize. Optimize
Want to share a time-saving trick you use? Drop us a comment below!
Help us blog better 🙂
Thanks Pete and Suzi. This was really inspiring. The blogging audit is so great and I think we should do this every day 🙂
I like having mini-goals set for each area of blogging every week. It keeps me consistent.
Thanks Sandra! I appreciate you listening 🙂
Confession: I saw this episode in my podcast app & skipped adding it to my walking playlist b/c #momblog
When it somehow auto-played anyway I was like, well…Pete always has good stuff. Shut up and listen.
Wow. Suzi kicks @$$. So much actionable advice. I feel like a jerk for almost skipping her episode. Especially since I struggle with time vs. ROI of a given task.
And you – back to “Pete always has good stuff” – you really do. Not only good advice and good guests, but you ask the right questions.
I often hear you apologize for asking what seems like a tangential question, but pretty much every time you’re asking something I want to know. Keep it up!
Ha! I feel you–and wouldn’t have blamed you–but you’re correct. Suzi is fantastic 🙂
And that’s actually good info to have btw (tangential questions)–I’m trying to gain more comfort with that (and apologizing less). So thank you!! Appreciate you being here.
This was my favorite off all your podcasts so far! Great information, I can’t wait to use some of these tips!
Yeah? I’m happy you liked it! 🙂
Thanks for being here.
Thanks for a great podcast! Totally taking IG feed out of my footer now. 😉
ha! Just personal preference btw 🙂
Thank you Gina, I appreciate you being here!
Thanks Pete. Information about Canned Responses in Gmail is super helpful to me. I have been looking for such an option for a long time. Thanks very much.
Thanks for posting this. Email can be a huge time suck. These are great ideas that I hadn’t heard before that I’m going to use right now.
Sweet! Glad you found it useful Heidi 🙂