Having trouble tracking all of your content?
Don’t know what type of email to send subscribers?
Need a place for the links relevant to your online business?
In this post, I’ll show how a single file is the answer to all three questions and SO much more…
The “Master Document” Principle
For many years I’ve used a simple technique to manage each of my Internet businesses. I call it a “master document.” (Yeah, not very original.) This file saves me lots of time while writing blog posts and emails for my business.
How does it work?
I use it to organize all project-specific information into an easy-to-access system. What goes into this document depends on the particulars of each Internet business. One file might include a list of blog posts and networking contacts. Another document will have a list of your email sequences.
The key is to use this master document as an organizational tool. In other words, it tracks all those bits of information that are most important to your business. (Later on, I’ll give specific examples.)
I use a master document for each of my Internet businesses. This includes my:
1) Internet Lifestyle blog (this site.)
2) Niche affiliate site
3) Information product
I always have a master document open when working on one of these projects. This helps me immediately find information/hyperlinks that improve the quality of my content.
How to Create a Master Document
It’s pretty easy to get started:
1) Open a file using your favorite spreadsheet program. I prefer Microsoft Excel. But you can also try a free tool like Open Office Calc.
2) Create a separate tab for the critical pieces of information in your business. In the next section, I’ll provide specific examples of what I include.
Making a new tab is super simple. On a PC, all you do is scroll down to the tabs at the bottom of the sheet and right click the mouse.
Choose the Rename button to name it what you want. (See to the right.)
Then select the Insert button to add the tab to the document. This brings up another screen where you have to add a worksheet and hit the OK button. (See below.)
That’s all you need to create separate tabs for this file!
3) The final step is to maintain the master document. This is actually the hardest thing to do in this process. It’s important to not forget to add information on a regular basis. That’s why I recommend scheduling this task as weekly maintenance project that goes on your to-do list.
Creating a master document literally takes a few seconds. The trick is to make sure it’s being used. My advice is to always have it open as you’re working on particular task.
Master Document – Steve Scott Site
What goes into a master document? Like I said, it depends on the activities you do for each business.
In case of the “Steve Scott Site,” my primary activities are writing and networking. So I’ve created tabs that enable me to do these activities in an efficient manner:
As you can see in the above image, I’ve broken down the critical pieces of information into areas that help me write in an efficient manner. This is particularly useful since I do all of my writing offline.
So let’s talk about each tab:
#1- Publishing: The publishing schedule is the heart of my blogging business. It’s how I keep track of what I’ve posted and the articles I’m currently developing. Here’s what this tab looks like:
There is a lot that goes into this single page:
- Color coordination- Green for published. Pink for articles ready to go live. Grey for rough drafts. Yellow for ideas I need to flesh-out. And white for basic concepts I’ve brainstormed.
- Post Number- Every blog post is in a file on my desktop. I include a number to make it easy to find. This is useful for those times when I want to refer to something I’ve written in the past.
- Date- Again, this is another way to find a file for future reference.
- Title- Self explanatory
- Purpose- This the category of the blog post. With Excel, sorting content is simple to do. I categorize my posts when I want to review a certain type of content. Like my resource, MVPs.
- Images and Keywords- With each post, I make sure I spend a little time doing keyword research and creating images that match the theme. These two boxes track this task with a simply Y if it’s completed.
- Notes- This area jogs my memory about what I’ve written in the past. Plus it provides any relevant information for the purpose and/or why I wrote the post.
- URL- I can’t overstress the importance of including all URLs in a central location. I’m always referencing articles I’ve previously written. I know there are plugins that can do this. But I’ve found it’s useful to tailor each link to WHY I’m telling people to go read a post.
#2- Redirects: This is another way to save time. Often in my blog posts I recommend free (and premium) tools to readers. That’s why I’ve included all the links in a central location. Instead of using Google to find a link, I simply refer to this tab.
#3- Guest Posts- This tab keeps track of the guest posts I’ve written for other sites. Plus it gives me a strategic approach for the sites I’d like to target in the future.
#4- MVP Ideas: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with blog content. Sometimes the best ideas come from posts on other sites. With this tab, I include a hyperlink and description to great pieces of content.
I don’t plagiarize anything. Instead, I use this section whenever I get writer’s block. Usually I’ll review this list and find an idea that I can relate to something I do in my Internet business.
#5- Networking: Reaching out to other blogs has been a challenge to me in the last year. So I’ve created a tab of sites I’d like to work with in the future. This helps me track conversations and what I’ve done to build a relationship with that person. (This tab is a work in progress. So I’ll keep you posted on the results.)
#6- Product Ideas: I get product ideas all the time – Especially when I write. So I use this tab to make sure I don’t lose any of these ideas.
That’s it for my Steve Scott Site master document. There’s a lot that goes into this file. And I’m constantly tweaking it to make sure I stay focused on whatever task I’m doing at the moment.
Master Document – Go Large Project
I’m doing a lot with the Go Large Project. You can break down most of the tasks into two distinct areas:
1) Creating content that generates traffic
2) Creating autoresponder sequences
Both of these are income producing activities. With the first, I concentrate on the SEO and YouTube strategies that drive traffic to my squeeze page. The second focuses on the different autoresponder sequences we use to make money (Right now, there are four total sequences.)
Here’s how all the tabs look in my master document:
Let’s review what goes into this document
#1- Master Content: This tab maintains all the traffic-generating content we’ve created. This tab is a combination of information and a simple Y if I’ve completed a particular task:
- Post number- This helps me quickly find a particular blog post in Word Press
- Title- Self explanatory
- Lead Magnet Promoted- I promote different lead magnets for this affiliate project. This is a way to hyper-target people in a niche market. Read this post for more on this technique.
- URL- The hyperlink of each blog post article. This is useful when we’re creating backlinks.
- Feeder Site Link- I have a feeder site with a Google PR 4. I’m currently creating a 200 word article for each of this blog posts. This column tracks which ones have already been linked.
- YouTube- Each article gets turned into a video. This section tracks which ones we’ve completed.
- Re-Optimized- Once I get traffic to a post, I like to edit it and make sure I’m converting traffic into subscribers. Re-optimizing articles is a great way to leverage the traffic you’re already getting. This column lets me know if I’ve done this task for a post.
#2 to #5- Autoresponder Sequences: As I said before, I have four autoresponder sequences with this project. So each gets a separate tab! Including each sequence on this sheet helps me easily test and track different things with my multiple email lists.
Trust me, things can get confusing when you’re writing dozens of emails each week!
#6- Old Broadcast Messages: I have over TWO YEARS of broadcast messages I’ve sent to my primary affiliate list. I keep all of this data on this tab as reference for the four autoresponder sequences. This makes it easy to find messages that were successful in the past.
#7- Scratch: This is my “working” area. On this tab, I’ve included a number of emails that haven’t made their way into any of the four autoresponder sequences. I’ve already identified them as successful messages. But I don’t know how I’ll use them yet. I keep them on a separate tab to make it easy to find emails that are proven winners.
Final Thoughts on the Master Document
As you can see, a master document can be used in a variety of ways.
I gave two examples. Both are completely different from one another. The important thing to note is I use this file to manage the key pieces of information for each of my Internet businesses.
The master document is a great way to maintain all the important information in a central, easy-to-find location. I don’t waste valuable time looking for a random link. Instead I have everything at my fingertips!
This is an indispensible tool for anyone in an information business (ie: anyone reading this blog.)
Implement this technique and you’ll save a lot of time. No longer will you have to hunt for a hyperlink or what you’ve written in the past. Everything will be included in this file!
This tool helps you gain a little bit of extra time that can be spent on the income-producing activities that propel your business forward.To Your "Internet Lifestyle",