Armed with an obsessive love of color-coding and all things related to organization, I’m on a mission to help you maximize efficiency in your business and life so you can spend time on what matters most to you.
Equally right and left-brained, I’m that unique business owner who can think like a creative, but act like an administrator. This blog is where you’ll see me bring that dual-brained magic to life, taking the left-brain side of life and breaking it down for your right-brained self.
No matter what kind of business you run, content creation is going to be a big part of it.
Whether it’s through a blog, newsletter, social media, or something else, content is one of the most effective ways to market your brand, share your expertise with your audience, and build up a solid reputation within the creative industry.
But when you’ve got content across so many different platforms, how do you keep it all straight? What’s the best way to not only plan and schedule content across your blog, newsletter, and social media channels, but also manage where things are in the workflow, what tasks still need to be done, and keep track of those great ideas that pop up at the most random times?
Between this business and some side projects, I manage content for two blogs, (soon-to-be) two newsletters, and two different Instagram accounts, and also contribute to a couple other blogs on a regular basis. With all of the platforms I manage producing at least one piece of content a week, sometimes more, there’s a fair amount of content to keep track of.
So how do I manage it all, keep track of those random ideas, and not go completely bonkers?
The answer is Trello.
Chances are you’ve heard about Trello at some point, but it was probably for something else like project or client management.
While Trello is great for both of those things as well (and I do use it for both), I got my start using Trello for content planning and management and it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to my business.
Before we get into the ins and outs of managing content with Trello, let’s do a quick rundown if you aren’t familiar with the platform.
Trello helps you organize content or anything else in three main ways — boards, lists, and cards.
Boards are overarching categories that you’d likely use for something like your content planning, your editorial calendar, or your active clients.
Lists are more narrow in topic and are a great place for things like individual clients, a particular editorial calendar (like your Instagram vs. your blog or newsletter), or a specific step in your content workflow.
Cards are as specific as you can get and are best used for specific tasks or, in the case of content management, individual pieces of content. On any card, you’re able to add checklists (great for workflows), due dates, labels, comments, and descriptions.
Now that you’ve got the rundown of just how Trello works, how can you take those boards, lists, and cards and translate the into an effective, simple, and organize content management system?
Before you can start managing and scheduling your content, you have to start by planning it, and planning starts with coming up with ideas.
To do this, create one board that basically serves as a brain dump for all the ideas you might have in relation to blog posts, social media posts, newsletters, opt-ins, freebies, videos, and any other kind of content you’d be creating.
Thanks to the Trello app, you can have access to your account and this board whether you’re on your computer or phone, which means no matter when an idea pops into your head, you can open the mobile or desktop app, pop onto your Content Ideas board, and create a card for the piece of content.
On that content ideas board, create an individual list for every platform you’re creating content for and let those lists serve as the brain dump for all your ideas.
I have a list for L&S blog content, one for L&S instagram content, one for L&S newsletter content (coming soon!!), and one for each of the other platforms I manage or contribute to.
Any time you come up with an idea for a post, use the accessibility of the desktop and mobile apps to create a card on the specific board and write out a thought, quote, title, or few words — whatever will help you remember the idea when it comes time to actually plan and write content.
Once a quarter, I sit down with all my content ideas and plan out my blog content for the full quarter, and every couple of weeks, I do the same for Instagram content.
However often you plan content — every week or every quarter — when it’s time to take those ideas and create a cohesive plan, start by looking over the cards on your Content Ideas board for whatever you’re planning, be it blog, newsletter, social, or video content.
Any time you come across a post idea you definitely want to include in the editorial calendar for the next week, month, or quarter, add it to a list titled To Editorial Calendar.
After you’ve selected all your ideas for the time period you’re planning, you can transfer the whole list to the Editorial Calendar in just one click!
Before you actually move all those planned pieces of content over to the Editorial Calendar, you’ll want to do one more thing first — label them!
Trello has 10 different colors you can use for labels to visually indicate whether your content is going up on your blog, newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other kind of platform.
You can name the colored labels, but an even easier way to keep track of which color is for which platform, create a list with a card that specifies the platform and is labeled with the color. It basically serves as a cheat sheet, so when you’re preparing to bring new pieces of content into the editorial calendar, you’re able to label them super quickly since all the categories and corresponding colors are right there.
We’ve already discussed the different lists to put on a Content Ideas board, but what about the Editorial Calendar?
You could do the same thing and create one list for every platform you’re writing content for, but in order to easily keep track of where every piece of content is in your workflow, I recommend creating a list for every piece of your content management workflow. Mine includes lists titled Planned, Drafted, Edited, Scheduled, and Published.
When you combine the labels with lists for your workflow, it makes it super simple to easily keep track of what content is planned for what platform and where they are in the workflow overall.
Once you’ve selected content and actually added it to the Editorial Calendar, it’s time to plan out when all those posts are going to be published and for this your secret weapon is the Trello Calendar Power-Up.
Power-Ups are basically different plugins that add some super helpful features to individual boards. If you’re using the free Trello plan, you can use one power-up per board and if you use the Trello Business Class or Enterprise plans, you have unlimited power-ups.
Give the new pieces of content you’ve added to the editorial calendar a due date (even if it’s tentative) and then switch into calendar mode to get a big picture look at your editorial calendar.
If you’re planning content for a single week (great for platforms you post on more frequently like Instagram or Facebook), you can look at the weekly view of the calendar and get that bird’s eye view of when your posts are planned for.
If you’re planning content for a month or quarter, the monthly view allows you to easily scroll through and see everything with the option for click on individual days to see more detail on days where you have multiple posts going out.
Once any piece of content has a due date and is on the editorial calendar, you can drag and drop it to a different day and the due date will automatically change.
Now that you’ve labeled and scheduled everything, what other ways can Trello help you actually keep track of everything you’re writing?
In addition to labels and due dates, Trello cards have tons of things you can add including attachments, checklists, comments, descriptions, and even other cards! All these tools allow you to write captions for social posts, attach Word documents or links to Google Docs right in the card, and even link cards for cross posts to different platforms.
If you’re collaborating with others or have an assistant or other team member who manages your content, this is especially helpful because when it comes time to actually format and schedule content, everything is one place instead of spread across multiple different platforms.
Whether you’re planning and managing content for one platform or twenty, Trello is a fantastic tool that helps you keep all those ideas in one spot instead of stored all over the place, and who wouldn’t love that?
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