A Love Letter: Why Trello is Your Ultimate Project Management (And Editorial Calendar!) Platform

Trello is my all-time favorite (and free!) way to stay organized — from project management to plotting the life-stages of my blog content, podcast, and videos through content calendars. I'm even using Trello to help me plan and execute an ebook. Here's a screencap of what mine looks like right now: 

A little peek behind the curtain, you might say. Beyond the velvet rope, even. Exclusive access. Or … well, you get the picture.

So what the hell does all this mean? Lemmie break it down:

First, BOARDS are the pages that you create (the thing you're seeing here; the whole she-bang), LISTS are the columns that you see running down the page, and CARDS are the little items within them. I use each list to represent the stage of my content and the cards act as the actual content. These cards are movable (just drag and drop them anywhere), the act of which is so oddly satisfying, you’d find it on one of those Buzzfeed listicles. I’m also a very visual person, so being able to load up my images into these things really helps me “see” everything. You can also view Trello in a calendar format if you work better that way. But here’s what each list means to me:

  • NEW — This is where all the genius ideas I brainstormed will live until it’s their turn to be born into the world from my brain to my Macbook. You’ll notice that each of them have dates, and these are the dates in which they need to be completed. Setting a deadline for yourself is the only way these things will ever get done.

  • IN PRODUCTION — I’m currently working on these so please don’t bother me. Shut the door behind you, thanks.

  • COMPLETE — Pop the bub, cause these posts are done and ready to go live! Huzzah! You detail-oriented folks will notice the date has changed once it was put into this board, and the new date tells me when the post or piece of content is being published.

  • LIVE/MARKETING — These bad boys are on the site, and I’m also marketing the shit out of them on social media, to link partners, and more.

  • REPURPOSING — When I've fully planned out and scheduled all of my initial content marketing for a blog post (tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest, Instagram), I drop it into this column so that I can concentrate on repurposing it for other formats (podcasts, videos, downloads, Slideshare). Repurposing a single piece of content for many different formats and platforms is a good way to make your content go the distance. You could do this for anything, not just a blog post. For example: if you're a podcaster, you could easily create a blog post from it, transform it into a video (or film yourself while you're podcasting) then cut down a smaller 15-second clip to promote it on Instagram, or turn it into a Slideshare presentation. Repurposing takes some time though, which is why it has its own column in the content journey. 

nd the ones you can't see on this board are: 

  • GREATEST HITS — The lifecycle of my content is about three months, so all content will stay in the LIVE column for that long before I archive them in Trello. During this time, I continue to market ALL content every way I can (we’ll dive deeper into marketing of your content later in this ebook, including ways to automate this process) but after three months, I move the best of the best, my highest performers, my champions, into this column and archive the rest. Why? Well, I know that people love these posts and find them super valuable because they’ve received the highest number of visits, downloads, or plays. If I’m ever in a pinch where I’m not exactly meeting my traffic goals for the month (we’ll also talk about this later in the book), I can republish, revamp, or repurpose these to inspire similar content.

  • ARCHIVES — You don’t see an archive section on Trello, because archiving a post takes it out of this view. That’s ok — all of your content stays within Trello, so you can access it at any time. If you ever needed to look up an archived item, just open the menu, hit Archives, and search for what you’re looking for and WHOOMP, there it is.

 

The list of benefits of working with this software is long, but my favorite (and most useful) parts about using Trello specifically as an editorial calendar are:

  1. Due dates — As I mentioned, putting yourself on a deadline is key to getting shit done. I make these due dates my bitch on a daily basis.

  2. Lists — I’ve never been a spreadsheet kinda gal, and if you aren’t either, then it’ll be love at first sight. Lists solve all my maniacal organizational issues because I can SEE where each piece of content is living in the production and publication cycle. Physically moving each card into the next stage is highly gratifying, but also just makes sense. Spreadsheets don’t give you that kind of flexibility or control. Or organization, for that matter.

  3. Cards — What you can’t see in the screenshots above is just how much information I have in each card. Check it out. I mean WOW. You can add notes, images, checklists right in each card. When I’m loading up cards in the NEW board, I usually add in some notes about what I want this post/podcast/video to be about, any links I have to help support whatever it is I’ll be creating, when I want this post to go live, and any holidays or events the content will be aligning to. It helps get me started on the right foot.

  4. Flexibility — I can drag and drop these cards anywhere I want. If I want to take a post out of the GREATEST HITS board and move it back over into the LIVE/MARKETING board to republish, it’s as easy as a few clicks. If I want to dig a post out of archives to revamp or tweak, I can do that in a hot second.

  5. Labels — Within each card you have the option to label it with different colors. I have one color for my blog, one for my podcast, one for videos, and one for social media. So not only can you see what stage your content is in at a glance, but you can also see what platform or format it will take. This has helped me with programming issues. If I’ve got a ton of blog posts in the NEW board, but not very many podcast or video ideas, then I need to go back and rethink some of them to even out the content mix.

  6. Members — If you ever add to your content production team (from my lips to God’s ears, amirite??), you can assign cards to them with this feature. Add a new member to your board, and they will be an option in the Members dropdown on every single card. Delegation is amazing.

What are you using to manage your content projects? What questions do you still have about Trello? Leave 'em in the comments below, on Facebook or get at me on Twitter