If you haven’t heard of Trello, then you should check it out as soon as possible.
Trello is a cloud-based organization tool that works like a virtual bulletin board. It’s extremely intuitive and user-friendly, and there are a ton of features that make it amazing for remote workers and digital nomads.
Our team of writers generates a lot of content every month for a wide variety of clients. The content comes from the client (via a monthly content interview)—then we do the writing, editing, and formatting.
As we manage all of this content, we have to be extremely organized and efficient for several reasons:
- Our team is constantly growing because the business is rapidly expanding.
- We have dozens of open projects at any given time, in various stages of completion.
- Our clients range from home builders to CPA firms to digital marketing companies, so we’re managing a wide variety of content.
- Content marketing is all about churning out high-quality work frequently and consistently. We can’t afford for assignments to get lost in the shuffle.
Here are six ways we’ve used Trello to keep our team organized and on-task as our business continues to grow:
1) Assigning projects to a team of writers
Because we have a growing team of amazing writers, it can be tough to keep up with who’s doing what. Trello makes this extremely easy to manage. Each writer has their own “board” for assignments, so I simply create a card with the assignment info and drop it onto the writer’s board.
Trello also integrates seamlessly with Punchtime, an amazing cloud-based time tracking and analysis tool.
Writers can install a Web browser plugin that allows them to easily “clock in” right from the Trello card. It keeps up with how much time has been spent on each assignment, and automatically adds that info to the assignment card.
2) Communicating objectives and project details
There are so many Trello features that make it easy for us to efficiently communicate about writing assignments.
One of the things that makes our content creation strategy unique is that we start the process with a “content call” between one of our account managers and the client. Prior to the content call, the client and account manager decide which blog posts to focus on for the month, then we interview the client to generate the bulk of the content for the posts.
This has been an amazing strategy for several reasons:
- It’s easy for the client. No one has to sit down and write an outline or get bogged down emailing a bunch of ideas.
- It guarantees quality content because we’re using the expertise of the business owner. I’ve found it comes naturally for my clients to talk about their products and ideas. Our job is simply to synthesize expert information into well organized, well written articles.
- It’s extremely efficient. Usually, it only takes a 10-15 minute conversation to generate enough content for a 750-1,000 word blog post.
So, getting back to Trello…
The account manager records these content calls and links the mp3 to the Trello card for the writer. Not only does this save time us time, it eliminates the middle-man so we can be confident that important information isn’t getting lost in translation.
Each assignment card also links to the client’s website. When writers do work for a client for the first time, they can familiarize themselves not only with the company’s services and mission statement, but with their branding, aesthetic, and tone throughout the site. This helps the writer match the “voice” of the company’s other marketing materials.
There are also comment threads on each card so writers can ask the account manager for clarification. Managers can check in as deadlines are approaching, and we can easily have conversations during the editing process.
We love using Slack for communication that involves the whole team, but Trello makes it easy to have specific, semi-private conversations about particular writing assignments.
3) Managing workflow
When a writer completes an assignment, he or she moves the card to the editor’s board. If the piece needs images and visual content, the card goes to the graphic designer’s board. When it’s ready to go it comes to our editor’s board for review.
After our editor checks everything out and sends the post to the client, the card goes to the “Sent to Client” list.
And finally, after the client and editor work out any final edits, the card is moved to “Approved by Client” and we finish the process of formatting for their blog and scheduling the post promotion.
Sound complicated? Trust me, it’s not.
In fact, it’s incredibly easy to scroll through Trello and see the status of every open project at a glance.
4) Integration with Google Drive
The actual post writing is done in Google Drive, in a shared folder that the entire team can access. On the Trello card, writers attach a link to the Google Doc for the piece, so our editor doesn’t have to hunt for content.
It also adds a layer of security because all our content is safe and sound in the cloud instead of on someone’s hard drive.
5) Organizing resources
In addition to our client workflow management, our team uses Trello to organize training resources and brainstorm ideas for our own blog. Whenever someone finds a helpful resource—for example, an article about writing catchy headlines—a card is created on the “Training Resources” board with the link attached.
This keeps our resources organized in one place and makes it easy for writers to quickly access useful information as they’re working on assignments.
6) Keeping every team member in the loop—in the moment
Writers get notifications when we add them to a new assignment card and reminders 24 hours before a deadline.
Trello also sends a notification when you’re mentioned in a comment so you can respond immediately, even from your phone.
If the pop-up notifications are too overwhelming, Trello also sends summary emails of everything you haven’t already seen. This ensures that you aren’t missing important information.
Are you excited yet? This is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are more incredible Trello tips straight from the Trello blog.
Oh, and did I mention that Trello is a free tool?
Yeah. What are you waiting for? 🙂
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