If you have been blogging for any amount of time then you know how important it is to have an editorial calendar, Not only can you make blog post series look professional and not like you just woke up and slapped together a post but on days where your brain is a big blank empty spot you will already have ideas that you can use. There have been days where I felt I couldn’t come up with an idea to save my life but because I had my editorial calendar with my outlines and the bare bones of a post I was still able to be productive. And when you are working for yourself time is money.
Why do I need an editorial calendar
One of the main reasons is so that you can plan out your content and you won’t have ten posts in a row that talk about your life. Which if you are hoping to turn your blog into a business is not the best idea anyway.
Why do I use Trello as an editorial calender
I have tried I think almost EVERY to look for a program that I could customize it the way I think. I also wanted something that was flexible and easy to customize. If I needed to move ideas around, I could without having to erase everything and type it back in.
In the end, it was a toss up between Asana and Trello, and I finally went with Trello because the way it is laid out matches the way my brain thinks.
I found it easier to fill out the Trello cards and have my clients look at them than I did with Asana. With Asana it did not feel as intuitive to me like Trello did.
With Trello you can get Trello Gold which is only 45 dollars a year, and you can have all sorts of neat power ups. Yes, Asana has the dancing Unicorn, but I am much less impressed with a dancing unicorn than I can integrate Trello with Slack and programs such as those.
That is another reason I went with Trello because with Zapier you can make it do almost anything your mind can think up. It integrates with Slack, Google Drive and Google Hangouts among many other services.
So how DO you use Trello as an editorial calendar?
First I keep all my ideas, even the crappy ones in Evernote. Then once or twice a month I go through them and weed out the really bad ideas from the good ideas. The good ideas I then put on the Calender in Trello. I like to use the calendar view because I can see if I am posting too much of one topic. I don’t want to post about social media for three weeks in a row. If it turns out that I DO have too much of one topic, then I know that I need to go back to brainstorming and to come up with other topics to put on the calendar. Once I am satisfied with how it looks on the calendar I go back to the card view and sort it from what is due next on the list.
There are days when I do fall behind, and I have to rearrange the topics on the calendar, and with Trello this is easy. All you have to do is drag and drop it to its new place on the calendar. No more deleting and copying and pasting like I had to do in excel.
While you CAN make check lists on the card itself, I prefer to make different colors and drag the card to whatever I am doing now. For example in the am writing color I have Trello for the editorial calendar. Then after I am done with the first draft, I will move it to the Grammarly column. You can put the link to the blog post on the back of the card, so there is no hunting through a million files on your computer for one article. I have different columns that represent what I need to do next with the article.
Also with the columns, it is easy for a client to see exactly what I am doing. This cuts down on emails asking me for an “update.” They can just look at the Trello board and see what I am doing. Another nice thing is that I always have the latest Document attached to the Trello card so the client can look at it whenever they want to. This also cuts down on the likelihood that I will send the wrong file to the wrong client *cough* I know I am not the only freelancer to have done so, but it was still embarrassing when it happened. It also did not look very professional.
Below I have put a link for you to be able to copy my Trello Board.Remember to COPY IT TO YOURSELF or anyone with that link can see what you write down.
*This is NOT a tutorial. Lord knows there are enough of those out there. This is simply to help you decide if Scrivener would be of benefit to you in your tool arsenal.
What the double hockey sticks IS scrivener?
Good question! At it most basics Scrivener is a program where you can store all your notes and stuff for writing projects. It has a learning curve steeper than the top part of Mt Everest. I have been using it for 2 years, and I STILL am finding things it can do that I had NO idea that Scrivener could do.
I use it for all of my client work. Before I was on a PC (they have a PC version now FYI) BEFORE there was a PC version I used MS word for EVERYTHING. I can see what a pain in the ass it was now in college to have to go through my notes to find that one thing or to have to copy it down on index cards and all of that.
Damn, now I feel old.
Anyway, it was a pain let me tell you. With Scrivener, you can keep everything in one place, and it has magical powers so that you can find something rather than just copying and pasting. No more missing a letter in a reference then your professor takes points off because the website “doesn’t exist. No, I not bitter after all these years why do you ask? In short, this is something that I WISHED I had in college and in my early years of working.
Ok But I am not a college student So how will Scrivener Benefit ME?
You say you own a small business or are a coach right? You blog right? If you don’t, you are sorely missing a fundamental part to getting your word out there. If you do then YAY!
I blog in Scrivener for all my posts here on this site. Let me give you the reasons.
I can split the screen vertically so that my shitty first draft is on the left and my hopefully less shitty second draft is on the right
I can store my notes so that I can reference them quickly while writing. I take lots of notes while writing. I am always getting ideas and typing them out. Most are so shitty they never see the light of day, but a few gems have come out of said notes.
If I see something on the web I can send it to a scrivener and get this I can even get it to send to the right project. No hunting shit in Evernote. I tried that and it…was..a…mess.. Evernote as a blogging thing can kiss my ass.
Ok I still use Evernote to jot down ideas, and like my notes in Scrivener scratch pad most are really shitty ideas, but you gotta go thru shit before you can get to the good stuff.
It can read markdown. I learned markdown a while ago, and I like that I can use it while I am typing than when I copy and paste it into WordPress..viola!!! It is almost already formatted!
This is just a few reason I love to blog in Scrivener. As you can see Scinver is magical. It can do almost anything you need it to do.
But I am not a REAL writer so why would I need this program?
My friend, you blog right? Blogging is NOT dead despite some people proclaiming it is. Blogging is still one of the best ways to get your word out there. It doesn’t matter if you are a business coach you still need to write to get word of your business out. If you do not have a blog, already you need to start STAT!!
Also when you write a blog post, you need to have at least 1000 words, so that good ole google won’t think you are spam. If you just dash off 300 words, then you are NEVER gonna rank on google, and that’s the whole point, right? To get to that connoted first page. Before when I use other programs, it was sort of a pain to see how many words I had. Plus I felt there was no obvious motivation and I am all about visual motivation over here. With Scrivener, you have this
This provides the motivation that I thrive on.. See how when I met my session goal and it turned green? Before it was red and as I typed it changed colors! Take that Microsoft Word!
For big client projects I can make an outline in X-mind and save and export it as an opml file and import that to Scrivener, and it will make them all different pages so I can hack on the project. When I need to transfer it to MS word I can compile it and voila it is one big project! This is so much better than trying to write it all straight like I had to do in Microsoft Word in college. I write best from an out line and this way I can write like I think which makes for a better project.
These are but a few things that Scrivener can do. There ae lots of tutorials and classes that you can take to get the most out of Scrivener. I have found that good ole google is a big help. For example, when I couldn’t figure out how to split the screens vertically I was dumb and spent a good 45 minutes trying to figure it out then I turned to google and presto it showed me. There are lots of free Youtube videos that you can watch to help you.
If you are the kind that prefers to take classes, there are a shit-ton of courses out there that you can take. I took one class, and it was invaluable in getting me past the learning curve, so I didn’t feel like I wanted to pull my hair out every time I opened up Scrivener.
Now I can say that I love the program. I can’t imagine writing without it. It makes handling multiple clients SO…MUCH…EASIER! I still use Microsoft Word to send the final product, but when I am doing cold hard writing and editing NOTHING beats Scrivener!
So there you are typing away at your computer feeling all proud of yourself for FINALLY writing something. You know you need a blog to showcase your expertise, but you have been paralyzed by fear. Today however you put threw Mr. Fear out the door and sat down and typed your shitty first draft. You then revised it to make it as useful as possible. You feel that it is as good as it is going to get. There is just one step left, and that is to check your spelling and grammar. You remember back in college(way back in 2002) when you used good ole Microsoft Word for such tasks, so you do the same now.
I have nothing against Microsoft even though I am a die-hard Apple FanGirl. Way back when Microsoft word WAS the best program to use for checking your atrocious spelling *cough* but not now. Now we have something that is a million times better. What is it you ask? It is a magical program called:
As you can see, there is a free version and a Premium version. I know many of you are cringing at the cost of the upgrade. I know that many of you, especially those of you just getting started are bootstrapping your blog and business. I am here to tell you that the Grammarly upgrade is more than worth it, I mean do you think my grammar and spelling is as good as it appears on the blog? I am here to tell you, NOPE, I use Grammarly to make dang sure that everything is as near perfect as can be.
What is Grammarly you ask
Well at its core it is a grammar and spelling thingie. Its power is that it does so much more than what other great and spelling checkers do. It blows MS word out of the water.
I will be honest with you. My grammar such as where to put commas and such is horrible. My guess is it is a byproduct of being born profoundly Deaf. To the best of my knowledge, we do not stop to “pause” in American Sign Language (ASL). I have no idea where to PUT a comma. If I do put one somewhere, it is a wild guess. My Professors at Gallaudet University was willing to look past that (except for English Professors), so I was lucky in a way. MS Word never actually showed me where to put a comma, so I was commaless until Grammarly. This magical program showed me where to put my commas so that I looked smart(er). Looking smarter is one reason why I prefer it over the built-in grammar checker in MS Word!
The free version is ok. Nothing wrong with it, but the upgraded version is magical in this sense. It will show you what it called advanced issues and show you HOW to correct them. And not only that it EXPLAINS why, so it is a mini English professor.
But How Is Grammarly Premium different from the free version
That is a good question! I thought the very same thing until a friend let me try his premium version, and I was hooked! There are several benefits.
Grammarly premium has a lot more correction capabilities than the free version. The free version just does a basic correction. Grammarly premium, however, tackles difficult grammar issues. Such as where to put those pesky commas.
You know those business emails that you hate to write because you are never sure if you sound businessy enough? I feel the same way. That is when I turn the Grammarly from the creative writing checker to the business checker. That’s right, Grammarly premium can check different kinds of writings. When I blog I have it turned to the creative writing thinge and when I have to write a business email or sales letter I turned it to the appropriate writing checker. Take THAT MS Word!
One of my favorite parts of Grammarly premium is that it will suggest a better word for you when you are using the same word over and over. That can get annoying to readers. And it can suggest a different word when a different word will fit the text better. I do have to warn you that Grammarly IS just a computer program, so you have to use your common sense, but overall I have found this function to be extremely useful.
It has to be said some people on the internet like to copy others stuff word for word, and that is a no-no. Sometimes it can be unintentional. Like if you see a blog post that you think is a good idea then you try and put your spin on it but accidentally cross into the plagiarism territory. Grammarly has an excellent plagiarism checker. It has saved my butt on more than one occasion. So I think the upgrade is worth it for that alone. You don’t want to find yourself suddenly is a dispute over “stolen” work.
All in all, I feel that Grammarly Premium is a worthwhile upgrade. It has many features that you won’t find anywhere else. And in this age where you NEED to look and sounds as good as possible a tool like Grammarly Premium will help you in whatever endeavor you choose to do.
What editing program do YOU use? Tell me in the comments!
What is Convertkit?
ConvertKit is a program that allows you to send newsletters. There are a multitude of programs out there that also do this. You may be the most familiar with Mailchimp as that is the one that most people start out with. Mailchimp is great for beginners but if you are serious about growing your email list you need a program that allows you more control over segments in your lists.
Why Do I even need an email list?
If you have spent any amount of time online you will have seen that anyone who is serious about their business has an email list. This is because you have greater control at providing information when you are in someone’s inbox. Think about it. Facebook is forever altering their algorithm and lately, I have noticed that it is harder to get traction on Instagram. If you are depending solely on social media to get information about your programs and such to people, you are taking a huge risk and there is a not so small chance that your social media update won’t even be seen. However, if you are in someone’s inbox then there is a good chance that they will at least see that you have an update. Whether or not they actually open your email is another matter and often boils down to how attractive and compelling your heading is. That is a copywriting issue so we will put that aside for now. The point is that the chance of you being SEEN in an email inbox is significantly greater than your chance of being seen on a social media timeline.
How is Convertkit different from other newsletter programs such as Mailchimp?
Mailchimp is great for beginners. I used Mailchimp for a long time before finally making the switch to Convertkit earlier this year. If you are just starting out Mailchimp’s free version just may be all that you need.
If you have a sizable email list you will need something that allows greater control over your list. For example, I offer both blog coaching and copywriting services. Sometimes I want to send an update just to my blog coaching list. With Mailchimp, it was a clunky operation of making a separate list and hoping that I did not accidentally send an email to the wrong person. With Convertkit I can tag a pop up with blog coaching and whoever opts into that particular pop-up will be on my blog coaching list so later when I am ready to send an update to people interested in blog coaching I can just select that tag and PRESTO, no sending the wrong stuff to the wrong people. The tagging feature is a big thing for most Convertkit users.
Why did I make the switch from Mailchimp to Convertkit?
I needed more control over my email list and the tagging feature won me over. I felt as if I was constantly sending the wrong info to the wrong people. There were many times I would look back over a list and be like oh SHIT!! And I had more than my fair share of unsubscribers. After one too many times of this I finally sat down and thought about it and the universe must have been in agreement with me because at that same time Melyssa Griffin sent out an email challenge with a free trial of Convertkit and I signed up. After 30 days I was completely sold on Convertkit and purchased a plan. I have to admit that Convertkit has a learning curve and yes I had a couple of what I like to call my Oh Shit!!! moments but after reaching out to some friends who helped me set up my tags and explained in depth how to use them I have been able to really target my list. And that has been extremely helpful in growing my business.
Ok Tags are great and all but what else does Convertkit have that other programs don’t have?
Ok, I get you..you are looking at Convertkit and the price tag and you are wondering what makes Convertkit so great that they charge THAT much for. After all, Mailchimp is FREE.
Yes, my friend, other services may be cheaper but do they have Convertkit’s automation features? NOPE!
Convertkit’s automation feature is a game changer in the professional blogging niche.After all, you don’t want want to be tied to your email software. You got things to do! Like making money and taking over the world. With Convertkit you can set up “rules” and it will do what you need it to do.
As I have mentioned before I have one set up so that if you opt into my newsletter then your name will go under the writing tag so that I can target you when I have writing information to share.
I also have a book blog and I have a newsletter for that also and if you opt into THAT newsletter then the tag book blog will be applied and when I have info for that I can just target those people instead of sending people only interested in my ghostwriting stuff info on the latest Kindle Deals. That is a sure recipe for people clicking on unsubscribe.
I am also a big fan of the integrations that Convertkit has. Like the WordPress one. You see the opt-in for my newsletter at the end of the post? That is a simple integration on Convertkit’s part. With Mailchimp I was ready to trash my MacBook Pro with trying to figure out how the hell to get the opt in to show up. But with Convertkit, it is just a matter of a few clicks and get this, if you want the same one to show up then you can set it to default and it will show up all by itself! You can also add a different one with just a few clicks. This alone makes Convertkit worth the price if you ask me. After all, if you can get your opt-in to show up no one will be able to well..opt in! Convertkit makes this super easy!
It is no secret that I love Convertkit. I think the price is fair for everything that you can do with it. With Convertkit I can put my focus on growing my list and be sure that the correct people are getting the correct updates. And with that I am able to really focus on the things that matter most.
If you are interested in Convertkit and want to switch you can click here. This is my affiliate link but I love and use Convertkit and I wouldn’t suggest you try it if I didn’t use it myself. So give it a try and email me to let me know what you think!