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There’s two things to say upfront here – one, I’m a bit of an organisation fan and I love software that helps. Two, I recently discovered Trello and I am very taken with it. The main thing that I currently use the software for is to manage my blogs – this is just one of five so I need an editorial calendar to master all editorial calendars. And here is why I think Trello is perfect for an editorial calendar and how I use it.
An editorial calendar?
Before we look at Trello, let’s take a quick look at what an editorial calendar is and why it can be a virtual tool in the bloggers arsenal. One of the top things all the experts tell us is that the best way to grow a blog is to post regularly. It doesn’t mean daily or twice a day; it could be once a week or a fortnight. But by regularly posting, you become a regular feature in people’s worlds and you also rate higher in search rankings for regular, new content.
The best way to organise this is an editorial calendar. I never used one until I got serious about my blogging and launched my websites. I saved a few articles in Pocket for inspiration, maybe looked at seasonal topics and wrote what I fancied, when I fancied.
Now I have a posting schedule for each blog. One post each week and a category for that post. So for The Blogging Blog, this means that on the first Wednesday of the month, I write about social media. The second one is for blogging and the third is for Search Engine Land, my look at Google and such. Fourth one is for productivity and organisation topics (like this one) and if there is a fifth Wednesday, then Tech is the topic. If I want to cover something else, then I would add a second post that week.
So how do you keep track of what you are going to write on these dates? That’s where Trello and the creation of your editorial calendar comes in.
Trello the editorial calendar
If you haven’t met Trello before, it is a piece of software that can be free to use. There is an upgrade version for $9.99 a month (paid annually) that gets you access to loads of extras. But for the purpose of an editorial calendar and quite a few other jobs, the free version will do nicely.
With Trello, the first thing you create is a board. Onto that board you add lists and onto each list you add cards. Everything can be labelled as you want. So for my main board, just called ‘Blogging’ (I’m very imaginative) I can add all the posts from my different blogs. I also have a board for each of the blogs, named for the blog as well as one for my paid work away from my blogs and one for Social Media Sharing (bit of a pending project that one). Inside each board are the lists.
April 2017 update – Trello have now paired with Unsplash, the free stock photos company, to allow you to add a picture from their website to the background of your boards. This makes it easier to see what board is about what at a glance and makes for a nice visual, if you like everything to look nice (I do!).
I have a board that I use to organise my weekly regular blog tasks, stuff like schedulding to Pinterest and updating plugins. It also has a list of Facebook groups that have sharing days. Another board is my To Do List where I list all the jobs I want to be doing on my blogs. This can be things like updating a particular post, creating a new freebie or even looking at a new page layout pack. If you want to see boards at the very top of your list, you can star them (which you can see with the first four).
Organising the calendar
Of course, the key part of an editorial calendar is an actual calendar. Trello uses what it called Power Ups. Most of these are only available to upgraded accounts but the Calendar one is free for everyone. Here you can assign each card for each blog post a date to be posted and view them all on a traditional calendar.
You can also assign each post a label, a coloured line above the title but below any image that categorises them as required. For The Blogging Blog, the label refers to the category where the post will go once published.
Another handy trick is that you can attach details of one card within another one. So if you have a few posts for inspiration, you can copy them and add them to the original card for the post. To do this, simply click ‘share and more’ at the bottom right side of the card and copy the link provided. Go to the card for the post and in the comment box, post the link. Trello will now connect the two and you can click straight from one to the other.
That’s a few ideas about my system but there are loads of other ideas out there. Some people use one calendar to schedule posts and to manage social media, having a list for each day and a card for each job. Others move blog posts along a process from idea to creation to posting and even sharing.
The great thing about Trello is that you can do what you want with it. It also pairs well with other free software, particularly IFTTT which has a range of recipes to use with Trello, including sending cards to a calendar such as Google Calendar if you prefer a traditional calendar style application.
If you work with others, you can also add other people who are on Trello to your team and allow them access to the boards. This means you can assign a task to someone and they can see all the information then move it along the process once they have done their bit. So it is a great collaboration tool too!
Fancy trying Trello? Then I’d love it if you would use my affiliate link to get started (remember it is free!) and feel free to send me a message if you want to know more about it.
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