Three years ago, creating an ebook, blog post, and video content took week, sometimes months, of hard work. Today, spending weeks on this same content will put you out of business. The pace of content creation has accelerated forcing you to be extremely efficient.
You have two options:
- Outsource: Buying efficiency and expertise
- Work smarter
I think it’s safe to assume that you want to work smarter. I have several tools that I rely on to for organizing my time, clients, and content creation process. Use these tools and you’ll be running your content marketing strategy like a boss.
Here you go:
“Organize anything, together”
Trello is an organizer that uses boards to keep track of tasks and organize ideas and details. You can add, remove, and move items from board to board. For me, Trello has replaced my unorganized piles of Post-It Notes and 3×5 index cards.
I use Trello to organize:
- Blog Post Ideas
My 50 Priorities list
In the morning before I get started, I check my 50 Priorities board, grab an item and move it to my Daily Tasks board. This process is simple and just “feels right”.
I’ve learned that organizing your ideas into lists cripples the creative process. It’s difficult to see how ideas connect with each other or visualize extensions of current ideas. Instead of lists, I use Mindmaps to visually map out my ideas. I’ve found that mindmapping helps produce better ideas.
I use Mindmaps to visualize blog marketing strategies, plan product launches, and even organize my annual camping trip! Click here for an example of a mindmap that I sent to participants before my recent Side Income Blogging workshop.
Never Play Calendar Battleship Again
You know how it goes. You propose a meeting time. The other person isn’t available and counters with another meeting time. That time doesn’t work for you, and your follow-up suggestion starts the cycle again.
This Calendar Battleship game can suck up an extraordinary amount of time and costs money in lost billable time and forgotten meetings.
TimeTrade eliminates this hassle by allowing people to use a link to view your schedule, pick a time, and send you a confirmation. You can tell TimeTrade what times you want to offer and any messages you want to send to confirmed appointments. The application also checks your iCal and/or Google Calendar to prevent double-booking appointments.
Do you offer free consultations? Use TimeTrade to set up a calendar and include the scheduling link in your blog posts, sidebar, emails, ebooks, and special reports. This puts your entire process on autopilot.
Web Services Duct Tape
As you see, I use about a dozen different services to run Pushing Social. Alone each of these services get the job done. But magic happens when they are connected together.
For example, imagine creating a To Do item in Basecamp during a meeting and having a Trello Card automatically created on your Daily Tasks board? You can pull this off by creating fancy code to connect the two services, or use Zapier to quickly tie these two services together in about 5 minutes.
I use Zapier to connect Buffer with Google Docs to create spreadsheet with links that I’ve shared during the week. I’ve used this document to create Weekly Wrap Up posts and weekend reading lists.
Feedly became my favorite RSS Reader when Google closed down Google Reader. Feedly’s service is simple. Grab a blog’s RSS feed (i.e. pushingsocial.com/feed) and add it to your Feedly account. Now you can read the latest posts from your favorite blogs without visiting each one individually.
Feedly is great for “Power Curation”. Add all the blogs that cover your niche and zip through the headlines in minutes. Feedly connects with Buffer, Evernote, and Pocket allowing you to quickly update your social networks or save links for future reference.
Outsource Your Brain
Simply, Evernote stores and organizes stuff. Anything I care to remember or need is stored in Evernote including screenshots, photos, book outlines, blog posts. When I need something, I open Evernote and search for it. It’s my Outsourced Brain.
Evernote is incredibly flexible and my short description doesn’t do it justice. Here are a few Evernote primers to get you started:
Evernote has become my main bookmarking tool. Install the Evernote Web Clipper to quickly send bookmarked links to your Evernote notebooks.
All of the benefits of MS Office without the cost.
The Borg collective known as Google has almost completely assimilated my workflow. I use Google’s free Google Drive service to write (Google Docs), create spreadsheets (Google Spreadsheet), collect online feedback (Google Forms), read and send email (Gmail), and schedule training events (Google Calendar + Google Hangouts).
Putting my entire workflow in one basket would scare me but all of this stuff is free and works incredibly well. I didn’t mind Microsoft Office until I had to pay for it.
Get Google Drive (You probably already have it and don’t know it)
Free Online Photo Editing
Blogging has evolved into a combination of writing and design. Specifically, bloggers spend a fair amount of time resizing and editing images. Until recently we were forced to drop serious cash to get Photoshop (or pirate a family member’s version) or use drastically inferior open-source alternatives. Thankfully, Pixlr has arrived to basic image editing needs. You can resize, crop, style, and add text to images with a few clicks. It’s also free. Love it.
Online Project Management and Collaboration
Basecamp is simply the best way to organize, manage, and collaborate with a team of people. It easily and elegantly handles discussions, event scheduling, to-do lists, and file sharing for distributed teams and clients. I simply could not run an efficient consulting practice without it.
The only drawback is that it costs $20+ month to use. But by far, it is the easiest investment to justify if you share and implement ideas for a living.
I’ve used Zapier to link my Gmail account to Basecamp. Now can simple flag an email and have it added to my personal Basecamp project for follow-up.
Asana : I’m hearing great things about Asana. I plan to start testing it on a limited basis soon. Stay tuned.