How many times have you started a new content project and found yourself lost in the weeds, trying to keep track of all the moving parts?
If this sounds like you, then you’re going to love Trello. It’s one of the best tools out there for managing your content pipeline, and it’s intuitive enough that even a newbie can use it with ease.
This article will show you how to create and update a Trello editorial calendar—even if you’re a newbie to using Trello.
- What is Trello?
- What Should a Content Calendar Include?
- How to Create an Editorial Calendar With Trello
- Step 1: Enable calendar power-ups.
- Step 2: Setting up lists
- Step 3: Ideation and Writing
- Step 4: Editing and Scheduling
- Other Content Planning Features
- Is the Trello Calendar Free?
- Sync Trello with Google Calendar
- Manage Content Better with the Trello Editorial Calendar
What is Trello?
Trello is a project management app that allows teams to collaborate using Kanban style boards.
You might be wondering, “What’s a kanban?” Well, it’s an organizational system that originated in Japan and uses cards to represent work steps and progress on a project.
Trello was founded in 2011 by Michael Pryor and Joel Spolsky. It currently has 50 million users worldwide with 150,000 new users per week.
When you want to work with someone through Trello, they must have their own account. This isn’t an issue because you can create a Trello account within minutes and set up a board based on existing templates.
Trello allows you to:
- Display cards with due dates in a week or month format. With this filter, you can see your entire month’s to-do list on the screen.
- Easily manage due dates by dragging and dropping cards.
- Track the status of team content projects.
- Manage a writing team easily by prioritizing tasks.
- Sync your editorial calendar with your Google calendar so that due dates aren’t missed.
What Should a Content Calendar Include?
You’ve likely heard that it’s important to maintain consistency with blogging and content creation in general. Based on 2020 data from Hubspot, small brands should be creating at least 1 or 2 blog content pieces per week.
The problem is that it’s easy to become disorganized. There are too many things to do, and it can seem overwhelming.
What a content calendar does is that it helps you create accountability, especially when you’re managing a content team. You’ll be able to track finished and unfinished pieces, as well as projects that have passed their deadlines—allowing you to stay on top of things even if your team is scattered across different time zones or countries.
For a one-person content marketer, Google calendar might just be enough. But when you manage other writers, you should use tools like BaseCamp, Notion, Google sheets, Trello and Asana for content planning.
It’d surprise you that Trello—with its simple interface—is used by some big news sites including Mashable and TheChangeLog for:
- Editorial. Content ideas you want to publish on specific platforms. You want to plan out podcasts, video content, blog posts, social media posts and content updates in your editorial calendar months in advance.
Some big companies plan out yearly editorial content. While there may be one or two changes along the way, this kind of content planning will give you direction. But how do I find ideas for content production? Here are 19 content ideation ideas you can use right now.
- Promotions. Now that you’ve created a post, how do you market it? Are you planning to do a cold outreach? Create Twitter threads? Make a video? You might want to schedule these in your Trello content calendar too. It’s smart to put promotion tasks on another board. This would give you a bird’s eye view of what you need to do per post.
- Ideas. You can jot down ideas that could be developed further via your Trello editorial calendar. Some tools allow you to prioritize ideas so your team knows the high priority projects to work on.
- Team management features. There are some basic features in Trello to manage writers and other creatives, though they may not be as sophisticated as those found in other project management tools.
There are existing templates available for using Trello as a content calendar. Start with any of these two Trello templates.
- Trello editorial calendar template – created by Leah Ryder. Trello Brand Marketing senior team lead.
- Trello blog content calendar template – created by Janet Mesh
How to Create an Editorial Calendar With Trello
Step 1: Enable calendar power-ups.
In your Trello Kanban board view, create a list of all your content to-dos. Set the due dates, and share this with relevant team members. You can invite people using the blue invite tab at the top of the dashboard. Add a label to distinguish task types.
For example, if you are scheduling tasks for social media, you might use a different color code than for blog content. When you’re finished setting up your cards and lists, enable calendar power up. There are two ways to do this. If you are on Trello’s business or enterprise plan, you can switch to the calendar view easily from the board view options.
Alternatively, you can use power-ups. Power ups offer more functionality and integration to Trello boards. However, note that you can only add one power up if you’re a free user.
Click on the “show menu” tab, navigate to power ups and search for “calendar”. When you click on the calendar power up, you’ll see a calendar list of every card that has a due date, organized either by week or month.
Step 2: Setting up lists
On the Trello boards, your lists help categorize your work into steps. For example, my Trello list currently has ideation, outlining, writing, editing, DONE, and promotions.
Each of these Trello lists has a basic description so that anyone can work with them.
You can add a cover image to each list to make your lists look catchy and to instantly show your team members what to expect. Once you’ve organized your content processes into lists based on your workflow, you can start creating cards for each list.
For every card you create, added members can add comments, you can label your items and set up due dates. Also, you can include a description of what needs to be done (for example, keywords, resources etc.) and set up a checklist of items in the order in which they have to be done.
Step 3: Ideation and Writing
As a writer, you probably have a few ongoing projects going on at any given time. You may also have ideas that need to be vetted before they become part of the project.
While it’s possible to create a list for each of these types of things, it can get cumbersome if you’re working with a large team or with multiple writers.
Instead, use Trello lists to keep track of your ideas and ongoing projects. Create separate lists for each type of content you want to manage and then add cards as needed. For example:
Ideation list: This is where writers submit their ideas for vetting by others in the organization or by the client. If you have multiple writers submitting ideas, this is where you’ll find them all together so you can vet them quickly and easily.
Ideation cards: These are ideas that have already been vetted but haven’t yet been added to your ‘current projects’ board.
Projects list: This one should be pretty self-explanatory—this is where your ongoing projects live!
Here’s a list of shortcuts and syntax for card descriptions, comments and checklist items:
- Bold text – Command/Ctrl + B (**text** or __text__)
- Italic text – Command/Ctrl + I (*text* or _text_)
- Strikethrough text – Command/Ctrl + Shift + S (~~text~~)
- Inline code – Command/Ctrl + Shift + M (`text`)
- Links – Command/Ctrl + K [text](url)
For every writer that has been assigned a topic idea and a due date, you want to move their selected cards from “ideation” to “writing” or “current projects”. Now they can tick off the checklist boxes to indicate their progress.
The Trello editorial calendar feature comes in handy here as you can see updates on multiple content projects within minutes. Note that you can add color-coded labels for each idea to distinguish content types or tasks. For example, guest posts vs blog posts.
Step 4: Editing and Scheduling
Each completed writing project can be moved into the editing list, and then to a scheduling list if you created one. You can also track these tasks in the calendar once you’ve set due dates for them. Also, you can move cards forward in the calendar view if you want to extend due dates.
Based on your editing and scheduling process, you could create checklists based on what needs to be done. For example, adding graphics, proofreading, editing, search engine optimization, etc. Trello has built-in Dropbox and Google Drive integration. This makes it easy to share Google Docs and files with your team.
On your scheduling list, you can create labels such as published, need modifications and scheduled to sort different content pieces based on their readiness for publication.
Other Content Planning Features
Trello is a great tool for making teams more productive, but it can also be used to centralize all of the different steps involved in creating content.
In some cases, you might have three or more people work on a specific piece of content. Depending on the task, someone might conduct research and interviews; someone else might write, someone else might edit, another person might do graphics, and someone else might optimize the content for SEO.
You can use the advanced checklist power up to assign checklist items to specific people on your team. This makes it easy for you to see who has completed what tasks on a project and when they are due. This can help you manage your workload better and keep track of deadlines so that nothing slips through the cracks!
Voting power up is another useful tool for ideation. This allows you to prioritize ideas, so writers know the projects that carry more weight.
Is the Trello Calendar Free?
Trello’s calendar features are available as either a free add-on or power-up. However, the features available in both cases are more or less the same.
If you use Trello’s free plan, you’re only allowed to activate one power up at a time. This means that if you need to use another power-up, you’ll need to deactivate your calendar power-up.
You can do that by navigating to the power up and disabling it. Gold users can activate 3 power ups at a time. Higher plans allow you to activate unlimited power ups
Sync Trello with Google Calendar
Connect your Trello account with any calendar tool using the iCal feature. To do this, navigate to the Calendar power up, and click on edit power up. You’ll be able to sync your calendar with any other calendar app using an auto-generated iCalendar link.
Note that it may take up to 12 hours for Apple calendar to synchronize with Google calendar. Also, updates between both calendars will not be synced in real time as Google calendar records updates from your calendar only once daily.
Manage Content Better with the Trello Editorial Calendar
At the end of the day, you probably already have a content planning solution that works for you.
But if you don’t, or if you want to improve what you have, make sure to check out Trello’s editorial calendar. It has robust features to cover major aspects of your content creation process—from brainstorming topics and assigning writers to publishing and promoting posts. Plus, Trello makes it easy to collaborate with other members of your team.
If you need help with your content strategy, send me an email at agnesagaddis at gmail.com.