In a previous post, we talked about the people who can help you manage your blog successfully; people like content writers, graphic designers and virtual assistants.
Collaborating with skilled professionals can cut a huge amount of time from the blogging process for entrepreneurs, not to mention enhance the quality of the end result.
But with all these moving parts, how on earth do you keep track? With multiple blog posts at different stages of production and multiple parties involved, communication can quickly get out of hand. Email just isn’t going to cut it!
The key to successful blog management is having a central place from which the process can be coordinated and everyone involved can communicate quickly and effectively. There are lots of apps out there to help you do this, but my personal favourite is Trello.
What is Trello?
Trello is a tool for organising projects and collaborating with teams. Its interface is highly visual, making it very user-friendly; it’s easy to see at a glance what stage your project is at and who is working on it.
It can be used across a range of platforms, which makes it accessible from anywhere – perfect for working with virtual team members.
Trello breaks projects down into teams, boards, lists and cards. A team represents a group of projects; a board represents an individual project; a list is a single element within the project and a card is a task or item within a list.
So how can we use it to manage our blog? Here’s how we do it at Boost.
Step 1: Create a board
‘Boards’ in Trello represent different projects or categories. For example, if you were going to use Trello as a simple to-do list tool, you might have categories like ‘Business’ or ‘Personal’.
At Boost, we create one board for each blog that we manage, whether it’s our clients’ or our own. This board captures the entire blog production process, from start to finish.
Once the board is created, you can start adding members. If you need to give someone access to all the boards under one team, add them as a member to that team. This would be appropriate if you’re working with in-house staff on the blog.
Alternatively, you can add people to individual boards. This is probably the better option if you’re working with external contractors. Then you’re ready to start collaborating!
TIP: Changing the background colour of the board is useful to keep track of multiple projects!
Step 2: Create lists for each stage in the blogging process
Now that the board is ready, a ‘list’ is created for each stage of the blog production process.
At Boost, we break it down as follows: planned, drafted, proofread/edited, image prepared, formatted/optimised, scheduled, published, promoted, analytics reviewed. Feel free to add or remove stages according to your own workflow.
Step 3: Use cards to manage each blog post
Within lists, ‘cards’ are used to represent tasks, items or ideas. In our context of blog management, each card is used to represent an individual blog post.
Referring to your blog plan, create a card under the ‘Planned’ list for each of your blog posts, using the title of the article as the text. As each post is developed, the card is dragged and dropped to the next list, moving it along to the next stage in the production process.
This is a useful way to keep track of your blog posts, but where the magic really happens is when you utilise the features within the cards themselves. You can attach documents and images, for quick access to the content. You can add a due date, to show when this post will be published. You can create checklists, to ensure that every step of the process is done consistently (handy if you’ve got team members working on different elements). And colour-coded labels can be useful if you want to categorise your blog posts by type, author, topic or format.
Best of all, you can add comments, tagging individuals using the @ symbol, making it super-easy to collaborate with the team and get feedback as you go. This is particularly helpful for record-keeping and traceability, and for getting final approval before the blog post goes live.
Step 4: Enhance and automate
Trello offers a range of ‘power-ups’ and extensions; add-ons that give an extra dimension to your project management.
One power-up we find particularly useful is the Harvest Chrome Extension. Harvest is a time-keeping app which allows you and team members to log time against tasks and projects. You might find this helpful for measuring the time your team spend on different elements of the blog production process.
But where you can really maximise the value of Trello for blog management is by using Zapier. Zapier allows you to connect your favourite online apps, including Dropbox, GDrive and Slack, all of which we use at Boost.
Imagine our excitement when we discovered you could create a ‘zap’ which automatically created a Trello card when a new document was added to a particular folder in Dropbox! In other words, when a new blog post is drafted, it automatically gets added to the relevant list on the board.
But we didn’t stop there. We use Slack for internal communication amongst team members, and we set up another ‘zap’ to simultaneously notify us when that document is added to the folder. Pretty neat, right?
Trello is not just a great blog management tool, though – it offers a wide variety of other uses such as project management, job searching, Christmas shopping, wedding plans, recipe collections, travel, to name but a few!
Why not give it a try and let me know how you get on in the comments below 🙂
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