WHY IS BLOGGING CONSISTENTLY SO HARD?
Perhaps it’s because you don’t have a system to manage your blogging process.
There are countless specialist tools on the market that claim to be the answer to your blogging woes.
And while they might be great at what they do, by the end of this post we think you'll agree that using Trello for blogging will cover all of your bases - without expensive blogging software...
Blogging consistently is a process with many moving pieces:
- compiling a blog topic ideas list
- deciding on the topic for a particular post
- conducting keyword research
- researching the topic
- drafting the post
- uploading and formatting the post
- optimizing for SEO
- sharing and promotion
Often times the ‘content management’ part of our business gets broadly recorded on our to-do list as ‘Write a blog post.’
There’s a major gap between those two - and so we end up underestimating the time needed for each step of the blogging process.
This results in the deadlines on your editorial calendar constantly being pushed back and your posts not being of the quality you'd like - or are capable of creating - when they're eventually published.
If you haven’t yet found a system to consistently create great content and you don't know exactly what to use Trello for, try managing your blog content process using Trello.
The reason using Trello for blogging is an excellent idea is that it takes the ambiguity out of what needs to happen.
Once your blogging system is set up, you have a Trello editorial calendar board with the steps of the process laid out before you.
This allows you to:
- estimate your workload more realistically
- organize what needs to be done more efficiently
Using Trello for blogging also makes managing the blogging process extremely satisfying because you get to physically move the card with the title of each post from one list to the next as the steps are completed.
NEW TO TRELLO?
If you are not familiar with Trello at all, check out this article, where we briefly talked about Trello as a task management system.
It’s also worth checking out the part about basic Trello features and techniques - that’s pretty much what you’ll need to manage your blogging process too.
1. CREATE YOUR TRELLO BOARD
First and foremost, visualize how the blogging process flows and then list everything that needs to happen for you to get the blog post out.
Your blogging process will most likely look something like this:
- Gather ideas by watching social media, surveying your audience, and reading other bloggers’ content
- Capture ideas that piqued your interest using a tool like Evernote
- Review saved ideas and brainstorm topics
- Map them out on an editorial calendar
- Come up with a headline for the next post
- Create an outline
- Draft your post
- Finalize and proofread it
- Upload your blog post to the website
- Share it with your audience
- Save the links and social media updates for future reference
2. CREATE YOUR BLOGGING PROCESS LISTS
Now that you can see the flow of your blogging process, you can translate it into a series of lists on your Trello Board.
(If you remember, in Trello each category of activities becomes a list. Every new list = a step in the process.)
Create a new board in Trello and give it a name.
Translate the bulleted list above into groups of activities that need to happen.
This greatly depends on your blogging process, but you can also start to build out your Trello editorial calendar with example layout below:
- Shortcuts - templates and checklists
- Blog ideas list
- First Draft
- Final Draft
Here's the link to this Trello editorial calendar template board if you want to copy it into your own Trello account and adjust it to your needs.
3. TURN TRELLO INTO A CONTENT IDEAS VAULT
You MUST have a single content ideas vault. Otherwise you'll be spending more time collecting (and searching for!) your thoughts and past inspiration than you do actually writing.
For that, identify when and how you get ideas for your blog posts. Once you're clear on that crucial step, you can create a system to ensure your ideas all end up in Trello.
Here are a few ways you could do that:
- Add the Trello bookmarklet to be able to instantly transfer articles you're reading online into your Trello blog ideas list.
- Go to the Chrome Web Store and get the 'Add to Trello' Chrome extension (or download the Firefox add-on Web Clipper for Trello)
- Authorize the Trello connection
- Specify the Trello board and list your post ideas will be added to
Now, every time you come across a blog post or web page that sparks an idea for a blog post, send it directly to your blog ideas list in Trello.
- Get into the habit of jotting down ideas and immediately adding them to your Trello blogging board when you chat to clients or prospects
- Forward your clients/readers' questions directly into Trello using your unique Trello 'email to board' email address. To set it up:
- Go to Menu --> More --> Email-to-Board setting
- Specify the list and the position of the cards that will be added to your Trello editorial calendar board
Now, when you get an e-mail with a blog post idea, click “Forward,” put your Trello Blogging Board email address and hit “Send.”
- Add the Trello app to your Android or iOS device to be able to create Trello cards and even Trello audio notes for yourself on the go.
Here are a few more ideas so you never run out interesting content for your blog.
4. EMBRACE CONSTRAINTS
One of my favourite quotes is from (ex) Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, who said:
"Creativity loves constraint!"
Believe it or not, constraints will help you to be more creative.
For example, would you be more creative if you had to do A or B?
- 12 blog posts
B. Write 3 each of the following:
- blog posts answering readers’ questions
- inspirational blog posts
- blog posts about tools that make you productive
- how to posts
“A” feels pretty daunting, doesn’t it?
“B” - even with all its constraints - is so much more doable and fun, right?
I bet “A” would take you forever because there are just too many decisions you need to make:
- what to write about
- in what order
- how to go about it
In contrast, option B gives you clear plan of action. An added benefit to option B is that if you post once a week, you now have a content plan for 3 months!
Decide what categories of posts are most interesting for your audience and create a label in Trello for each category:
Go to Menu --> More --> Labels --> Create New Label or click on an existing one and edit it.
decide on your content categories
It will help you decide on the angle you'll take in your blog posts and will make creating a blog ideas list that much easier. It'll also ensure that your editorial calendar is packed with diverse content.
Below is an example of the kinds of labels you could use on your Trello editorial calendar:
Schedule a recurring monthly or quarterly appointment with yourself to sift through blog ideas list and decide on the topics for the next batch of posts. Adding this step to your blogging process will ensure that whenever you sit down to write a post, you’ll always have your topic cued up before you start.
5. PLAN FOR FREEDOM
We're big advocates of planning for freedom from activities that you don’t like - or need - to do by identifying the parts of any process that you can delegate.
We'd strongly recommend doing this - even if you don’t have anyone to delegate tasks to just yet.
It is very motivating to realize that you don’t have to do everything yourself. And now that you’ve broken your blogging process down into steps, it'll be a lot easier to identify and isolate the bits that could be done by someone else.
Already have team members that are helping you to create, publish, and/or share your blog content?
Make sure to show them around your Trello editorial calendar board. Ask them if you missed anything and then, decide how you (as a team) can ensure things don’t fall through the cracks.
Here’s an example...
Determine who is responsible for what part(s) of the process.
For this, you don’t need to have a large team. It might be just you and your assistant (VA) passing the blog post baton back and forth:
- You + VA: come up with ideas and add them to the Blog Ideas list
- You: Create headline
- You: Write first draft
- VA: Edit first draft
- You: Write final draft
- VA: find images and upload the post into your blogging platform
- You: Approve the final post
- VA: Schedule the post for publication
- You: Promote the post on social media and via email
- VA: Add social media shares to database
Make sure your team member(s) are subscribed to the proper lists on your Trello editorial calendar in order for them to see which tasks are meant for them.
If you have a team member who proofreads your posts, have them subscribe to the “Edit.” list. This way, when the first draft is ready and you move the card from “First Draft” to “Edit” list, your team member will be notified automatically without your having to email them.
Create a blogging process checklist for as many parts of the process as possible, i.e:
- formatting the blog post
- creating shareable images for the post
- creating social media updates
- deciding on ways & channels to share/promote the blog post
Again, do this even if you are not in the position to delegate just yet. When you are - you’ll have a set of instructions for your new team member already in place.
In addition to that, creating instructions knowing that you are creating them for a future assistant, will have you approach the task much more strategically and responsibly. You will be that much more detailed and thoughtful when adding tasks and attaching the supporting information such as examples or passwords.
Use the Trello checkbox feature to create your checklists: open a card --> click “Checklist” --> Title your checklist --> click “Add”.
You can add your checklist items one by one or, if you already have your checklist as a bulleted list, paste your list into the first checklist item and click “Add” - each one of the items will become a line item of its own
Creating these checklists will help you and your (future) team members to be more efficient instead of trying to keep all those steps in your head.
6. MAKE IT FUN
When managing your blogging process in your Trello editorial calendar, make it as visual as possible:
Add a fun background
Thanks to Trello and Unsplash you no longer need to be on a paid plan to customize your boards with stunning background images. You can also check out Trello's own list of Trello board templates for design and layout inspiration
Add a feature image for each list
This will enable you to quickly spot the list you're looking for.
Use an emoji
When providing instructions or chatting with your team members, wrap the emoji name in colons. As the famous saying goes, "an emoji speaks a thousand words". (I'm pretty sure that's what they say... ;)
Give yourself or your team member Gold Stars
Who doesn't love a pat on the back!
It’s incredibly motivating to get acknowledged for completed tasks so don't underestimate this simple way of rewarding yourself or your team members for a job well done. To find Trello Gold Stars and other stickers, click Menu->Stickers (Available in Trello Gold and higher)
As you can see, using Trello for blogging is the perfect way to leverage its versatility and flexibility.
You'll quickly create an actionable editorial calendar that will help you not only stop missing blog post publishing dates but also make the process super fun.
BACK TO YOU
Are you already using Trello for blogging? Which of the recommendations above are you most excited to try?