Do you hate that blinking cursor and blank page feeling you get everytime you sit down to write a blog post?
Is it because you have no idea what to write?
I feel your pain. This was me about 3 months ago. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants on most things, and for some reason, I thought I could do the same for my blog content too.
But you know what? It doesn’t work so well… not if I don’t want to be stressed and wasting time trying to come up with blog post ideas every week…
There are many ways that you can come up with blog post ideas. But I’ve found it works best if you have a plan in place and somewhere to store all this ‘awesomesauce’ you’re going to come up with.
I’m a huge fan of Trello and I love how you can use it to suit your specific needs. It really does accommodate most organizational styles, so I know you guys are going to love this post.
How to Use Trello as Your Blog Post Content Planner
I’ve been using Trello ever since I started my freelance writing business back in September 2011.
During that time, I used Trello to keep track of my client projects; using individual boards for each client and then adding cards for each task I needed to do.
I kept things pretty simple. I had a “to-do” card, a “in progress” card, and a “completed” card for each client board.
I would share that board with each client and tag them when I needed a response from them.
It worked really well.
Then I used Trello to keep track of my writers. My freelance writing business got to the point where I just couldn’t do all the work I was getting, so I hired a couple of writers to help me out.
So I created a board for each writer and assigned them task cards as well.
Honestly, it was pure bliss using Trello in this way.
For some reason though, I’d never considered using Trello for content planning until earlier this year. I worked with a content planning specialist to help me figure out a plan for the rest of the year.
She gave me access to a Trello board that she used to create all her content for her blog.
I had a major *facepalm* moment when I saw her using Trello. But you know how it goes, once you’ve used a tool for one thing for a while, it’s hard to see how it can be used for anything else.
For the first few months, the content planning board in Trello worked well. Then the wheels started to fall off the wagon and I was back to square one: writing blog posts on the fly.
After a few mad months of this, I took a step back and reviewed my content planning board and discovered that some of the card areas just weren’t jiving with me, so I changed them.
Here’s what’s on my Trello content planning board now:
- Monthly plan
- Post idea brain-dump
- Posts to write
- Posted & Promoted
- On Hold
The basic idea is to move cards from one phase to the next, starting with the monthly plan area.
Here’s a quick peek at what mine looks like right now:
Each of the cards above started out in the “post idea braindump” area, which you can’t see on this screen (for privacy reasons).
Each card is then moved along the chain.
It’s also about batching for me. To keep on top of all my blog posts, I spend the entire day writing on a Monday. This allows me to crank out blog posts for an entire month and then, the following week, I’m doing the same.
Right now, I’m 3 months ahead, which means that in a few weeks, I’ll have written all the content for my blog for the rest of the year, leaving me free to focus on other areas of my business.
The key with making Trello work for you is figuring out what you want on your content planning board.
To kick things off for you, you can grab a copy of my Trello content planning board and then modify it for yourself.
You can grab that here.
How to Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas Again!
Now that you’ve got your Trello setup to manage all your content for your blog, you need to fill it with ideas!
This is the fun part, for me at least 🙂
If you struggle to come up with blog topic ideas, you need to take a step back and develop a plan for your content.
All the Trello boards in the world won’t help you unless you’ve got content to fill them with.
So the first part is coming up with a content strategy for your blog. In this article from Hubspot, written by Neil Patel, Neil talks about identifying your target audience, what keywords they search for a lot and what type of content they like to consume.
He also mentions developing your unique writing style and your content posting frequency.
All these things will help you develop a strong content strategy. So do this first before you go any further.
Blog Topic Generation
Now that you’ve got your content strategy sorted, you can dive into coming up with blog post ideas.
There are so many different ways that you can do this, but I want to focus on the top three that work for me. Feel free to change these to whatever apps you use to save content to read later.
This is my fav place to find blog post ideas for my content plan.
It all starts by looking in my Pinterest feed and doing a quick scan to see what pins are getting a lot of shares and likes.
If I see some that inspire me to write a blog post, I’ll save the link and add it to my Trello board under the “post idea braindump” phase.
Next, I’ll do a search in Pinterest using one of my main keywords and take note again of those pins that have the most shares and likes. Again, any that inspire a blog post idea, get added to my Trello board.
I’ll keep repeating this process for all my keywords.
The last thing I’ll do in Pinterest is check my analytics (you can only access this if you have a business account) and see which of my own pins are getting a lot of click throughs. I’ll review to see if there is a follow up blog post I could do, or whether I can repurpose the content for another medium.
And that’s Pinterest done. I’ll normally have about 15-20 blog post ideas just from this exercise.
I allocate 30 minutes to doing this with Pinterest.
If you’re not familiar with Pocket, it’s an app for your smartphone, tablet, and Chrome browser. It allows you to save content for reading later.
You can tag each piece of content so that when you jump into Pocket, you can quickly search using your tags to find the exact content you’re looking for.
I love it! Pocket is where I save all content that I want to read later.
When looking for ideas for blog posts, I’ll also review my Pocket feed and look for content that I’ve favorited. I’ll then see if there is a different spin I can put on the idea for my own blog.
And you guessed it, it then goes into the “post idea braindump” phase in my Trello board.
Again, I allocate 30 minutes to this exercise.
Did you know that inside your Buffer account, there is a place to add blog feeds?
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s a screenshot of what that looks like:
Under the content tab you’ll see an area called “content inbox” – this is where you can go in and add feeds from blogs you like to share content via your social media accounts.
But what you might not have thought about doing with this same feed, is using it to come up with blog content ideas.
Again, spending no more than 30 minutes, I’ll go through my feeds and open posts that I think might work for my own blog.
I’ll then do a quick browse of each item of content I’ve opened and decide on the blog post idea that will work on my site.
Then I’ll grab the link and add it to a card on my Trello board under “post idea braindump”.
Another thing that I do is save emails I receive that I like in a folder within my Gmail. This folder is labelled “blog ideas” and it’s another place I’ll jump into and take a look at when doing the exercises above.
If it’s been worthy enough to be saved in my email, then it is worthy enough to make it into my blog content plan 🙂
Now it’s Your Turn
I hope you can see how powerful Trello is in helping you achieve your content creation goals. Not only is it great for this, it can also be used to help you plan out your big picture goals as well as manage client projects.
You should also have some great ideas on how you can come up with an endless amount of blog content for your own blog.
By doing the exercises above, I typically come out with at least 100 blog post ideas, plenty to keep the creative juices flowing 🙂
Do you have a different way of coming up with blog post ideas? Share them in the comments below!