When I browse through my Pinterest stream, I often come across pins that praise Editorial Calendar solutions in Trello. I totally get it why so many bloggers are so fond of Trello for maintaining and creating their blogging journey. In Trello, you can add a calendar overlay that lets you forgot the classical list form that Trello comes with, for a moment.
Anyway, I studied various designs and setups that bloggers showed off in these posts, and I decided to create an Editorial Calendar that has some awesome workflows built-in.
I quickly realized that it is an impossible task to actually satisfy everybody’s needs. There are different options of how a board can be set up, and this will later influence the creative process.
That’s why I decided to build three different versions of an automated editorial calendar. And as you will see below, these three different versions provide a varying depth to every single step in the blog post creation process.
4 Reasons Why You Should Embed Workflows
Before I dive into the various setups for the automated editorial calendars, let’s have a quick look why you are really better off with having workflows embedded into your Editorial Calendar board.
Reason #1: Because they reduce the number of manual steps you have to do. Adding labels, moving cards around, adding checklists, etc. can quickly consume a lot of your time. It can be tiring! With a few simple workflows implemented into your editorial board, you can lean back and enjoy the reliability of Bot that does these things for you – without complaining, ever.
Reason #2: They decrease error probability. Because let’s be honest. We all have these days where we are somewhere else with our mind. Something is slipping through the cracks, and days later, you cannot explain anymore how this could have happened.
Reason #3: They allow a standard procedure, thus making it easier for you to follow through every single relevant sub-tasks for this process. And should some of your processes need an update someday – you simply adjust the checklists, and any new posts you work on will use the updated checklist(s).
Reason #4: When you are working within a team, with a VA or are outsourcing some of your less-favored tasks, you can invite these people into your board and make sure they are paying attention to the tasks at hand. On top of that, you can enable some tracking procedures for critical steps to keep control over the creation process of your blog posts.
Automated Editorial Calendar Board Setups
The goal of an Editorial Calendar is to manage your blog post creation process in a way that allows you to stay on top of your game. At any moment, you want to be in the position to know what you have already completed and what is still open for you to do.
Typically, your editorial board consists of various lists. And by completing each “list” task, the card is moved down the line.
3 different setups:
#1: Basic Editorial Calendar
The basic version comes with a very simplistic 3-list setup.
Ideas: holds all your blog post ideas.
In Progress: once you begin working on one blog post, you can move it manually over into list “In Progress”, or you can have it moved over automatically by applying a label to it. When you use shortcuts (hover over the card and press “L”), you don’t even have to use the mouse.
When the card arrives in the list “In Progress”, two checklists are added to the card: “Blog Post Checklist” and “Social Media Checklist”.
When you are done with the sub-tasks in both of these checklists, you can work on the “Review Post Checklist”, which is appended to the card once you add the label “Review Pending” to it.
Once this checklist is completed, the “Pending Review” label is removed and a new label “Scheduled” is added to the card along with a reminder for you to set a due date for this post. The due date is the date when the article goes online.
Published: The moment the card becomes due … meaning the publishing date and time are there … the card is automatically moved to list “Published”. The label “Scheduled” will be removed automatically and a new green label “Published” is added to the card.
Watch this short intro video to see how the Basic Editorial Calendar works.
#2: Standard Editorial Calendar
The standard version of this automated editorial calendar consists of six lists.
The principle is the same as with the Basic Editorial Calendar.
The goal is to complete each “list” task and move the cards down the line, so that it goes from “Ideas” to “In Progress” to “Revision”, etc. until it ends in the list “Published”.
I thought it might be easier to comprehend what this automated editorial calendar has to offer in regards to features. That’s why I created a video in which I run through the blog creation process and show you live the various functions and features that I embedded into this calendar.
The Standard Editorial Calendar is a good choice for bloggers who blog often enough to realize that using some standard processes can make the blogging journey much easier. With this calendar setup, you can make use of several of benefits I am praising for workflows elsewhere:
- You perform frequent actions with one click
- You execute complex action sequences with one or a few commands
- You enable standard processes that take a weight off your shoulders
- You minimize errors, even when you are tired, stressed and worried. A bot doesn’t have these kinds of issues
Both, the Basic and the Standard Editorial Calendar board setup, are included in the same Workflow Kit.
Should your blog post creation process have already outgrown this 6-list-setup, I have another automated editorial calendar setup I’d like to introduce to you.
#3: Advanced Editorial Calendar
I have taken this example from one of the board inspirations Trello itself is offering, and I packed it with useful workflows. This is the most complex workflow build I have built so far, and I am a little proud how nicely it is working.
It is made up of 9 lists:
I would say, it makes a lot of sense to use this board setup when you either work on multiple posts simultaneously. Or, when you are allocating the work to be done on several shoulders.
And of course, all the benefits I mentioned for the standard editorial calendar, are also true for this version.
Working within a team requires communication effort. Onboarding someone to your individual processes takes a little time. When you use the workflows that are included in this Workflow Kit for an Advanced Editorial Calendar, your self-organization will take on new heights.
I added a lot of brain power to the commands, and it would blow up this article if I would write about every single one. That’s why I created a video that runs you through the process and shows you what’s happening in every single list.
Note, that I also embedded a few fall-back scenarios. Sometimes, our creative processes aren’t linear. Something may stop us along the way. And this version of an automated editorial calendar deserves its name ‘Advanced’ because I paid attention to details.
It’s not the end of the world when we have to postpone something or repeat a step. These things happen. The Advanced Editorial Calendar tolerates these kinds of events.
Why it makes Sense to Create an Editorial Calendar with Workflows
So now, that you hopefully have watched one of the videos, what’s your takeaway?
Does it make sense to you to use some kind of an automated editorial calendar for your blog post creation process?
Or maybe, you create videos and podcasts, and need something similar, but with adjustments?
Not a problem at all.
All commands in the Workflow Kits are adjustable. And it is not even very hard to adjust them, because these commands are all written in plain English. No programming language needed. Even if English isn’t your mother tongue (it’s not mine either), the language used is very easy and no grammar is expected from you to use (along from some punctuation rules, maybe).
If you want to use different label colors or names on your board, you can change that yourself in the commands.
If you want to use different list names that better reflect your video or podcast creation process, or name them in a different language, it’s not very difficult to adjust that, either.
Every Workflow Kit comes with text files of the commands.
I’d recommend you first make a backup of these text files, and then use the find&replace function of your text processing program, and replace those list or label names you want to change.
Both Workflow Kits also contain the checklists I am using. You are totally free to use my version for your Editorial Calendar or to adjust them to your working style.
Is Trello really a good Tool for an Editorial Calendar?
Trello is a good tool to run an editorial calendar with.
First of all, it’s free. There are also paid versions, but with the free version, you can create as many boards as you want.
Getting to know Trello is not very difficult either. You may want to have a look at the 18 Trello features I appreciate the most about Trello. Knowing how to make use of these, will already lift you out of the beginner phase.
Further, with a free account with Trello, you can enable one Power-Up per board. In this case, you want to make use of the Calendar Power-Up which will allow you to see all your scheduled and published posts in a nice weekly or monthly calendar format.
To use any of my Workflow Kits for Editorial Calendars, you will have to connect your Trello account with Butler for Trello. This is a separate application that allows you to run all these workflows in Trello. They also offer a free account. With the 500 operations you are allowed to do per week with the free plan, you should be good to go.
Should you get the hang on it and want to spice up some other of your Trello boards, the silver plan would be your next best step. It costs only $10 per month, and this is still a very low price compared to what it allows you to do and how much time it allows you to save.
If you want some inspirations on what you can do in general with these commands, you may want to jump over to my other article, where I am introducing 11 little hacks to tame your Trello chaos. The commands I show there, give a good insight into some typical Trello automations. They are not workflows, yet. But you can play with them in your mind and allow your creativity to join in to make up some possible workflows that would work for you.
There is also a free online course I created that gives you a more thorough understanding of Butler for Trello.
And of course, there are shortcuts to create the most impressive Trello boards, dashboards, and team applications. I have already created a bunch of Workflow Kits that are all fully functioning, but always offer room for individual adjustments. And I have plans to create more cool applications and interesting workflows.
If you are interested in smaller packages of workflows, you may want to check out the Workflow of the Month which I regularly publish on my Patreon page.