If you have been following along all month, you know that I have dedicated January to blog organization (missed any of the posts? Check them out here, here and here). To finish up the theme for the month, today I will be sharing my favorite digital tools that keep me and my blog organized...which in turn keeps me from pulling my hair out, ha!
Before I begin, I realize that there are many people that don’t trust digital tools and would rather use good old paper and pencil to keep track of things. That’s cool, everything isn’t for everybody. BUT, just know that there is a way to mix written notes with digital systems...I will be discussing that in this post as well :)
This is the first place that my ideas go. Evernote is a digital note system that you can do so much more with than just a standard note app that came preloaded on your phone. You can save voice, photo and even hand drawn notes/images. You can also organize your notes into Notebooks related to the same subject matter so that it’s easier to find what you’re looking for. If you prefer writing notes, Evernote is still an awesome way to keep track of those notes. Just write your notes, snap a pic and upload it to your Evernote account. You can even tag items, so you can tag your handwritten notes by subject and still find them easily when searching within the Evernote app.
I keep all ideas for blog posts, products, courses, free worksheets, etc. in Evernote and since everything is organized, it’s easy to find what I need when I begin filling in my editorial calendar.
Another place that I get ideas for blog posts is by checking out the contents on the Google Sheet that I have for keeping track of certain hashtags in Twitter. I perform market research on auto-pilot thanks to an IFTTT automated task that I created. The task is set up to save any post that contains the hashtags that I specify into a Google Sheet, so I can check this at my leisure and see if there are any ideas for new blog posts there. It’s basically a way to see trends in problems or questions that my audience has and if I notice them a lot I tend to create a blog post with the solution in it. Market Research is very important when you’re creating content for people because you need to know what they actually want to know and/or struggle with.
My editorial calendar lives in Trello. Every blogger needs to have an editorial calendar so that they can keep all of their tasks and posts together and scheduled (that hair pulling thing that I mentioned earlier? Yeah, you need an editorial calendar to keep your hair in tact). Trello is a tool that you can keep workflows, lists and things to do organized in and you can schedule due dates for tasks. I used to use Asana for my editorial calendar contents, but when I started using Trello I stopped using Asana as much because there were some things that Asana was lacking (mainly the workflows and boards with flexible options on each). I love the easy drag and drop feature on Trello boards, I love that I can have multiple checklists under one task and I love that I can use Trello on the go even with no internet connection (gold!).
In Trello, I keep all blog posts for the month with their scheduled live date, email contents for my email list, weekly tasks and monthly/annual goals. I also have various boards for product launches, my blogging workflow, bi-weekly sprints (focused projects for two week time periods), collaboration info and travel plans. Trello can be used for anything...like, seriously.
Related: The Ultimate Blogging Workflow
All of my content is scheduled in Trello, so when it’s time to start working on creating content, I hit Google Docs to create my blog post. I use Google Docs to draft all of my posts before moving them over to Squarespace for final editing and publishing. I have been using this method for a few years now and it has not disappointed me. I mainly use Google Docs because of their auto-save feature that is pretty much immediate. This makes it difficult to lose an entire blog post that hasn’t published yet (this has happened to so many bloggers and is heart wrenching every time!). I also love that I can work in the Google Docs app with no internet connection. I tend to work on posts when I’m away from home, so that flexibility of not needing the internet means that I could work on a post from the park, a coffee shop, a car, etc. It has helped tremendously in keeping my blogging process flowing smoothly.
Once my blog posts are live, I tend to promote them on my Instagram feed. To keep Instagram organized, I use the UNUM app in which you can plan out your feed. Your existing feed is shown along with space to upload images for the future. This way, you can see how your feed will look before posting the new image, and you can edit the photos and add the descriptions/tags in advance. I have been using this app for almost a year now and I love it! There is a free and paid version, but for what I want to do the free version is perfect.
I really love digital tools and systems because you can access your information from anywhere, it’s hard to lose your ideas and a lot of these systems/tools interface with each other so you can set up automated tasks as well (another awesome way to keep everything organized). The ability to use these tools on-the-go and not need to bring your laptop with you is also a huge bonus. I have the apps downloaded on my phone and iPad so that I can access them anytime, anywhere. As a blogger with a 9-5, content creation tool flexibility is necessary.
What are some of your favorite digital tools? Let me know in the comments!