Creating A Collaborative Editorial Calendar

Transcript from main presentation until Q&A:

Hi, welcome to the Creating A Collaborative Editorial Calendar webinar. My name is Brian Cervino, I am the Product Marketing Manager at Trello and today I am joined by our support specialist Michelle Earhart. The goal of this webinar is to introduce a couple of Trello boards that you can use with your content team and guest bloggers to create a visual, collaborative workflow. During this webinar I will be going over the following:

  • Editorial Calendar Board
  • Guest Blogger Board
  • Setting Up Collaborative Workflows
  • Trello Tips & Tricks

After the presentation I will be glad to answer any questions about these boards, and how you can customize them to your team’s unique needs. If you have any questions please type them into the GoToWebinar question box and I will be addressing as many as possible during the time allotted, with help from Michelle. You can also email any questions to support@trello.com and our support team will be glad to answer any questions that you have. Also, I want to let you know that I will be recording today’s webinar and will email a copy of the recording to all attendees and registrants. Finally, I would like to give a really big shoutout to our Content Manager at Trello, Lauren Moon, who is the one that developed these boards that we use internally ourselves at Trello. Let’s get started.

Aside from using Trello to organize our editorial pipeline, we rely on a few other crucial tools that I will be mentioning during today’s webinar. For team communication we use Slack for chat & appear.in for video chat. For writing and managing content we use Google Drive, Google Docs & Evernote. To create forms for guest blogger submissions we use JotForm, and Wordpress as our content management system. Also, I want to mention that while this webinar is focussed on creating content for our blog, the same workflows could be applied to other content marketing needs such as ebooks, white papers, etc.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the Trello blog, if not, you’re missing out! Let’s go over how an article goes from an idea to being published here.

We rely on two boards for our editorial calendar, our main internal board and our guest blogger board. First I would like to go over the workflow for our internal editorial calendar.

On this board we have our first list that acts as a resource for team. The next lists cover all the higher level aspects of creating content, through the publishing stage, then we have a list for any article ideas, which we prefer to keep off to the right so that it does not distract us from the editorial pipeline, and finally an internal list that we use to keep track of our guest bloggers.

On the “Things To Keep In Mind..” list we start with a few checklist templates that we copy to each new blog post card to make sure that we have a consistent process for writing, publishing, and promoting content.

Next on this list are our blogging guidelines, which includes our guidelines for tone and voice. At Trello we encourage anyone at the company to submit ideas and write posts for the blog, so having specific guidelines established for new writers can be very helpful. As you can see, this file is attached via the Google Drive Power-Up which makes it convenient for anyone at the company to have access to the document through both the Trello board and our shared Google Drive folder. We’ve also established a mnemonic device called “Drift” that acts as a quick reference for article ideas and posts.

The remainder of our cards cover our social media policy since sometimes content managers will help out with social, we also have a card where we keep an ongoing list of individuals and companies that have written or spoken about Trello in the past incase we want to reach out for a quote, and blog post performance stats so that we can easily access the data and see what posts are resonating most with our audience.

Next up is our “Researching” list which basically means brainstorming/outlines/drafts. If there is a card from the “Article Ideas” list that someone on the team wants to write about then they will move the card over from the “Article Ideas” list and the author of the post can add their avatar to the card to assign themselves to it.

You can also just add a new card directly to the list.

As mentioned earlier, we copy checklists for each blog post to make sure that we have a consistent process. Here is how you can copy a checklist from any card on your board.

If your blog has categories, create a label for each category and apply the appropriate label to each new card, this adds an additional layer of visual data to a card and allows you to filter a board by label so that you can quickly surface the types of posts in your pipeline.

As you may have noticed, there is a label for guest posts as well, which is helpful since we don’t add guest bloggers to our internal board, but do want to keep track of where guests posts are in relation to the rest of the content.

When it comes brainstorming and outlining a post, we encourage writers to use whatever tool they prefer, whether that is adding an outline to the card’s description, or by attaching an Evernote note to a card with the Evernote Power-Up.

It’s also simple to attach any other files to a card as well, such as audio files from an interview by simply dragging and dropping the file onto the card, or links to any other posts that you would like to reference.

Once you’ve done all your research, move your card to the Writing list. At this point we like to add a due date to the card since we have a pretty good ideas as to when the post will be written and ready for publishing.

What’s really great about adding due dates to cards is that every Trello board includes a free Calendar Power-Up. With the calendar power-up enabled you can get a view of all the cards on a board in a calendar form.

Cards can be opened from the calendar, and can be dragged and dropped to new positions on the calendar which automatically updates their due date. Also, each calendar has a unique iCal feed, which can be imported to any third party calendar such as Google, Outlook, Sunrise, or Apple.

When it comes to writing the actual blog post, we prefer that everyone on our team creates a Google Doc for the post, because the accessibility and collaborative editing of content it facilitates. We prefer to have the more nuanced editing of a post take place in the Google Doc, while higher level discussion about the goals, audience, and scope of the post take place in the comments section of the Trello card. The Google Drive Power-Up makes it easy to create and attach new Docs to a Trello card, and by default the name of the Doc will match the Trello card.

When a card is ready for editing, move the to the Editing list and at this point it’s a good idea to rope in your editor. To do so simply add them to the card and this will trigger a notification in Trello that they have been added to the card. When the post is done being edited they can move the card over to the Making Graphics list and add the team’s designer to the card.

Images for the post can be added by dragging and dropping files onto a card, or by adding them through the Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box Power-Ups. We like to make the header image for the post the card cover to make it easier to recognize, and make our board a little more fun.

When the graphics are done, the post is ready to be laid out in the CMS, which for us is Wordpress. Our content manager at this point is responsible for verifying all that all of the items in our checklist have been completed, and lays out the post.

One quick tip, while I have been adding members of my team to cards for each step of the process to notify them, it is also possible to subscribe to a list and get a notification for actions that occur on that list. For instance, by subscribing to the Ready For Layout list, I will receive a notification whenever a card is moved to that list so I know when a post is ready for me.

Once a post is published on the blog we move it to the Published list and promote it on all of our social channels, as well as newsletters, etc. We use the Twitter Power-Up at this point to keep an eye on how well the post is performing, as well as to get an idea as to what kind of copy and language resonates best. This can be useful to have when promoting and sharing content in other mediums, such as a newsletter, or to optimize titles of evergreen content.

So that basically sums up the workflow for our internal editorial calendar. Next I want to quickly go over our guest contributor board, and share some tips for setting up your own.

As you can see, our guest contributor board is a more simplified version of our internal editorial calendar. We add all approved guest contributors to this board to collaborate with us. We frequently source guest bloggers from active members of the Trello community, writers that inspire us, or through an open call for submissions.

To facilitate the open call we use a JotForm where writers can include some information about themselves and their pitches. We receive an email for each submission and review the the proposal. If we like a pitch then we add them to the guest contributor board, create a card for the pitch, and add the writer’s avatar to the card. To keep track internally of our guest contributors I will use the Email-to-Board feature. Each Trello board has a unique email address that allows you to create new cards on specified lists, so I can create a new Trello card on our internal editorial board from the JotForm email for each guest bloggers. If you plan on using any headshots from guest contributors it’s not a bad idea to attach them to their cards on the internal board as well.

Back to our guest contributor board, the board starts it off with some examples of successful past blog posts to give guest writers and idea of what resonates with our audience in tone and voice. If you wanted you could also include more detailed blogging guidelines here.

The next list is for pitches. These are usually pitches that we have come up with and guest bloggers are encouraged to add themselves to any pitch they would like to write and then move the card over to the Claimed list where they will begin writing their post. Guest writers will also pitch us ideas on this board, and we encourage them to add those ideas to the Pitches list as well where they can be discussed.

Once a pitch has been claimed and the writing process has begun we will create a corresponding card on our internal board to keep track of it in our editorial pipeline.

I would recommend subscribing to the Draft Attached list on this board to make sure that you are notified when writers have attached their draft for review and moved the card over to this list. From there move the cards along in the pipeline on your guest contributor board as you would on the internal board to keep guest writers in the loop on the status of their posts.

So that wraps up my presentation of how we use Trello to manage our collaborative editorial calendar.

I am going to get the Q&A session going in just a moment, focussing on questions about these boards first. Please enter any questions you have in the GoToWebinar box and I will make sure to address as many as possible in the time remaining. If you have to leave the webinar now and have questions or if you would rather ask your questions in private, feel free to email us at support@trello.com and we will be glad to answer them for you.