Note, I originally wrote a post in 2015 about my blog post process, but since that was two and a half years ago, things have changed. This post also contains affiliate links, which help support Ginger & Co.
Let’s just put this out there – I’ve been blogging for a long time. Before Ginger & Co., I had another blog for three and a half years called Howdy Girl (don’t google it, apparently it’s a porn website now #themoreyouknow). Before Howdy Girl, I had another blog with maybe five posts on it. I think the first blog post I did was in 2011. Seven years ago, y’all. In that time, I’ve seen lots of changes happen in the blogging world, both for others and for myself. Some things stay the same, but most do change.
The longer I blog, the harder it is to come up with new and engaging content. Okay, it’s harder to focus on new than it is the engaging part, but I feel like everything I want to talk about, I’ve talked about before. I mentioned last week that after four years, I think I’ve given myself the ability to go back and look at old posts and how things have changed. One of the things that has changed is my blog post process.
I’ve got a pretty complex setup for at least my own posts. I use four tools, Evernote, Todoist, Trello, and my Day Designer. Yes, this probably seems like a lot, but I’m going to break it down step by step to show you how I get ideas all the way to full-fledged blog posts.
Before I Publish a Post
1. The Idea
I have a super long list of blog post ideas and titles that just sit in Evernote. Some of these will probably never be written, but I keep the ideas in my note just in case. I’ve kept this list for about two years now, and it’s good to have ideas just sitting around in case I want to write something but I’m not sure what I want to talk about. At one point, I had broken the list up by categories, but now it’s really just one long list of title ideas.
Titles can sit in Evernote for a long time, but sometimes you gotta let things bake to their full potential, right?
2. The Calendar
My personal ideas sit in Evernote, but at some point they become blog posts. That’s when they move from Evernote to Trello. Working with three other ladies on an editorial calendar, I have a board specifically for all our blog posts in Trello. I’ve added the Calendar power-up on the board, so we can all see the blog posts. I assign due dates for all the posts after discussing them with the ladies and I can move around due dates depending on my inspiration.
With an IFTTT recipe, any blog post card that I assign to myself automatically copies over to Todoist, my to-do list app of choice.
What really sells Trello for me as a collaborative tool is the drag-and-drop feature, along with the ability to tag and assign cards. And it looks pretty, too.
While I do love Trello, my first love is still Todoist and I’ve used the program for over three years now. All of my daily tasks go in there, and after three years I’m a pro at their keyboard shortcuts. In fact, the keyboard shortcuts are so much a habit, I can’t seem to use any other program. The shortcuts and the natural language input make it so easy for me to add tasks.
When I assign a Trello card to myself, it moves into my “Ginger & Co.” project in Todoist. I then have a checklist I import into each blog post that features all the things I want to do, like write the copy, edit it, add photos, add it to my social media schedule, etc. I typically don’t put due dates on each individual subtask because I rely on the “Today” view a lot and having five “add to Facebook queue” tasks on one day doesn’t really help me.
Instead, I add a due date to the head blog post, but I end up doing two due dates. The first due date I have is the day I write it, so say, a Wednesday. I write the content, prep the post with an image, get it a short URL, and add it to my list in Evernote. Once all the pre-publish tasks are done and checked off, I push back the main due date to the day the post actually publishes so I remember to finish the post-public tasks.
4. The Day Designer
While I love Todoist, I’m also a believer in the power of actually writing things down. Which is why I love my Day Designer. I write all my tasks that are new in there every day. When it comes to planning out my week, I usually go in and write down my blog posts writing days first. Wednesdays (my day off), are usually the day where I try to write all my blog posts for the week, so I write them down.
In the planner, each post is just one line, like “Wednesday’s blog post.” I always keep the Day Designer here next to me, so even if I can’t see Todoist on my screen at the moment, I can still see the planner next to me.
After the Post Publishes
After I’ve published the post, I have some other tasks that I work on. These include sharing the post to my queues in SmarterQueue, which is what I use for social media. I also make sure that I add it to Pinterest and add it to my newsletter (when I remember to write one of those). Because SmarterQueue allows you to recycle posts (so you post it once and it keeps posting), my “After the post publishes” process is actually pretty short. Most of my work happens in advance of the post going live.