How to Blog Regularly Using Trello

Blogging is easy. Blogging regularly is not. Fortunately, there is Trello for that. It is a project/task management application created by great folks in Fog Creek, and it has helped me publish one post a day on this blog. Here is how I use Trello for blogging regularly.

Signup for a Trello Account

First, get a free Trello account. You can signup using Google account. After you enter your own username and password, you can login later using your unique credentials. It is optional, just pick the one you prefer.

Welcome on Board!

After you create a new account, a Welcome Board appears. This Board teaches you the basics of Trello.

Warning!

Although you can archive your Boards, Trello currently does not support Board deletion. Rather than creating new Boards for testing sake, play with Welcome Board instead.

Create New Board for Your Blog

I assume you are now ready to create a new Board for your blog. Click Board, add New. Use your blog title as the Board’s title. I use BWQ | Dian Ara’s Quest. BWQ is the project code. I have to do this because I have a dozen of Boards, each represents a standalone project I am currently working on.

You can optionally add description to any Board.

Manage the Lists

Upon each Board creation you get 3 default Lists: To Do, Doing and Done. You can edit these Lists to meet your needs. You can also add new Lists.

Warning!

Although you can archive Lists, Trello currently does not support List deletion. If you want to tweak Lists to create a method that suits you best, play with the Lists on Welcome Board.

Card = Post

In other projects, Card might represent a milestone, or a task. For my personal blogging one Card represents one post.

You can create as many Cards as you like. You can either archive or delete them.

Trello + Kanban = FTW!

With Trello I can implement Kanban, a concept I really like because it helps me focus. You can read about Kanban elsewhere on the internet, but in a nutshell, it has following rules:

  • Work is a continuous flow, from left (start) to right (end)
  • Visual matters A LOT
  • Limit your work in progress (WIP)

Before you start creating new Lists, think of how your blogging process actually flows. Mine goes like this:

Since I prefer looking at everything in a glance, I keep the amount of Lists short. On my Macbook I can only do this with 5 Lists at maximum. And I need to hide the Activity widget on the right bar.

Check Your Action Steps

On each Card you can create as many Checklists as you like. I use it as a reminder, what action steps are required to complete a blog post. I love the green icon that appears whenever all items on a Checklist are checked. Like I said, visual matters in Kanban. Even if the task needs only one-step action, I use Checklist anyway. The green icon somehow gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Topics vary from one post to another, but the action steps to complete each post are relatively the same. So…

The Magic Trick: Template Card

… I create a Template Card containing a Checklist with all action steps required to complete a post. I can copy Cards so I keep 3-5 Template Cards. Whenever I come up with a new idea to write, I will just edit one of those Template Cards’ title.

The Flow

Since Template Card will soon become new Draft Cards, I put them on the first List: Ideas, Draft, Info. When I am ready to work on one of them, I will drag-and-drop it to the second List: NOW Writing.

After I write the post, I move the Card to the third List: Scheduled.

If I need to publish it immediately, I skip the Scheduled and move the Card to the last List: Published.

Published also serves as an archive List. One Published List equals 1 month of blogging. When I start a new month, I create a new Published List and archive the older one.

For Multi-Author Blogs

Trello is great for collaboration. If you have multiple authors working together on your blog, just invite them to your Board. You can then assign some authors to some Cards (=posts).

To communicate to each other you can add comments on Cards. You can even mention them by typing @username, and they will be notified.

The Magic Trick: Calendar as Feature Image

Trello supports file attachment. If you attach an image, you can optionally make it your Card’s feature (=cover) image. I attach some monthly calendar images I found on the internet, and use them as visual tools to plan which topics to publish on certain days.

Yes, I can activate a calendar widget on Macbook’s Dashboard and access it with a single click. This trick, however, offers 0 click. I just need to look at everything in a glance. I am that lazy. ^.^

Trello Notifies, Not Reminds You

Trello’s notification, both in-app and sent via e-mail, notifies you whenever you are invited and mentioned as well as when there are changes done to Cards, Lists and Boards you subscribe to.

Notification does not work as a reminder. This might be a minor drawback if you do not stick to your computer nor connect to the internet as much as I do. If you need to be reminded that you have to write tomorrow at 8:00 AM, just use your phone’s alarm application.

So…

Do you have any method or tool to help you blog regularly? Have you tried Trello? If you have, I would love to know how it works for you. ^.^

8 thoughts on “How to Blog Regularly Using Trello

  1. Love it! I use Trello for everything – and am working on converting my design team to Trello from Teambox.😉 Excellent explanation, too – you gave me some great ideas. Thanks!!

  2. Thank you, interesting. I use Trello a bit but am still coming up with proper naming for Blogging. What about using Labels to quickly filter things out and use your Boards to track weeks/months so you can see what you publish each month?

    PS – I think you need to update the copy to change “to left (end)” with RIGHT
    Work is a continuous flow, from left (start) to left (end)

    All the best.

    • Unfortunately, labels are not movable across Boards. If you have one Board for each project and are not planning to move Cards across Boards, labels are great for filtering. I, on the contrary, need to be able to move Cards across dozens of Boards. To deal with this small problem, I simply add code on every Card’s title.

      To track monthly published posts, I use Lists on another Board (named ‘Archive [year]’). Although Lists inside a Board can be archived, I want to be able to see those old posts in a glance.

      Thanks for noticing my mistake. Post updated!😀

  3. Hi Dian,
    I just copied a BOARD to another ORG
    The Labels inside the LIST inside that board carried right over.
    However, you are 100% right that when you MOVE a CARD to another BOARD you are hosed, the LABELS do not carry over! That’s a constraint if you become Label-dependent🙂

    First you have to get your head around the terminology, then around the structure, then around the methods and limitations of that structure.
    Certainly the VISIBILITY and ease of MOVING objects around is really quite helpful, and, as you say, very Kanban supportive.

    CHECKLISTS
    How do you feel about multiple checklists in a card?
    My blogging methodology (as I’m sure yours) is more complex than your checklist. I have:
    Research (4-5)
    Produce (3-4)
    Promote (8-10) – promote has SEO tasks and social media

    I thought about breaking up these steps into different cards but then I can’t drag a card (Post) across stages of the process easily, and I really feel the need to keep each Post in one contiguous object, unless I am missing something.

  4. I love your Marketing 2.0 concept Nag your significant other so they read it. I love Trello already, your useful ideas make me love it even more. I’m doing research on using Trello at work so I won’t act on your ideas yet, but I’ll be adding another board soon!

  5. This was very helpful. I’ve needed to move my workflow out of Evernote and rediscovered Trello. I was about 80% of the way there but seeing you discuss workflow and template cards was a huge shortcut. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Just getting started with Trello and blog planning is high on the list – glad I found your article with some great tips! Will definitely reduce some of the trial and error that usually accompanies getting to grips with a new tool. Thanks for saving me some time!

Care to share your amazing thought?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s