Trello was first developed as a project management tool. It is web-based, so that team members can complete tasks, collaborate, and track progress wherever they might physically be. It’s now almost 10 years old and still going, along with improvements and updates pretty regularly.
Think of Trello as a series of bulletin boards on a wall. And each bulletin has a title name and a bunch of post-it notes of tasks related to that title. As tasks get completed, they either move to the next board or are removed if they are fully completed.
It is probably already becoming clear that Trello is a great tool for lots of needs other than project management.
In fact, it becomes almost a perfect tool for freelance writers. Read on.
First and Foremost, Take a Look at Your Work-Life Organization
All those files and folders.
Take a look at your computer desktop; take a look at your physical desk and workspace; take a look at your to-do lists – chances are you have several; and
- You probably have a calendar, somewhere, that lists projects and deadlines.
- On that calendar may also be the dates that you sent out pitches to possible clients.
- You probably have another folder related to invoicing and accounts receivable, and, of course putting paid invoices into another folder, so that you can keep track of your income and tax responsibilities.
- You may even have still another folder that keeps all of your topic ideas that you might use as pitches for various niches in which you write.
In short, your work life is in all sorts of places – probably digitally – and you are having difficulty seeing the large picture. It’s enough to make you want to go back to bulletin boards on your walls. Because the big fear is that you will forget to open a folder on any given day and miss something that should have been done.
Trello to the Rescue in 5 Ways
Now you can have that big picture all in one place rather than in various folders all over your desktop. And you can do this through Trello.
Let’s take a look at the ways Trello can help you “clean up.”
1. Organize Your Workflow
You have writing tasks in all stages of development – that’s just the nature of the beast. And you are probably multi-tasking, as you progress on several pieces for a variety of your clients.
At the same time, you have pitches out there and are waiting for a response.
You have pitch ideas you have not yet used but intend to.
You have pieces that are completed and ready to go out for a specific client, and you need to present your invoice with that submission.
You may also have some pieces that are finished and awaiting pitches that you intend to send out.
You can organize all of this with Trello boards and see it all. Here are possible boards for workflow:
- Pieces you have been assigned to write (with deadlines please)
- Topics you have pitched and to whom
- Pitches you have written but not yet sent out
- Pieces ready to go – needing an invoice
You can see all of this on one screen and move your “cards” from one board to another as necessary. So, if you receive an assignment from an existing client or a pitch has been accepted, you will place both of those cards on board #1 – pieces to write.
2. Organize Your Pitch Topics and Resources
If you’ve been in this business for a while, you probably have specific areas of interest and expertise. And you may have topic ideas in each of those areas that you will be able to use in the future, based on assignments you might get or pitches you want to make.
You can create boards for each category of writing, place topic cards, and then remove then once they are used for a writing piece.
And here’s the other great part of this. For your topics, you may have already found resource materials you will want to use. Those can go on cards under each topic, so you are not trying to remember those resources or where you wrote them down.
3. Use Trello Calendar to Schedule Deadlines and More
Any freelancer, in any line of work, understands the critical importance of a calendar to keep track of tasks. In the freelance writing business, here are the key benefits of Trello.
Recommended article: How to Use Trello to Keep your Freelance Business Organized
One thing freelance writers cannot do is miss deadlines. This destroys your reputation and you will lose clients quickly.
Sending Out Pitches
And there is another aspect of deadlines. Let’s say you have pitch topics that can relate well as we move into election season. You will want to calendar these pitches, so you don’t forget to send them out.
Repurposing Rejected Pitches
If a pitch is rejected by one potential client/source, you will want to repurpose it and get it out to another asap. It goes on your calendar.
Invoicing and Tracking Payments
And very important, you have this whole invoicing/payment thing. You can create a calendar dedicated just to that function of your business. You will see at a glance when an invoice went out if the client needs a reminder, and then remove the card once payment is received. (and that card can go on yet another board that houses your paid invoices so you keep track of ongoing income).
4. Getting More Detailed with Your Topics/Pitches
As you use Trello, you will find new ways to add more detail. For example, you have your topic areas organized by categories on boards. You can create a much more detailed card for each specific topic. The cards can include such things as:
- Topic title
- Possible publications or client to pitch to with contact info
- Any visuals or media that might be used
- Engaging titles/headlines options
- Timeframe (e.g., holidays, seasons, events, etc.)
5. Add/Keep Important Info on Clients and/or Publications
You no longer have to go through emails to find the contact information you need. Create a board with contact information. You can divide it up based upon current/active clients and publications and those you intend to pitch to. Once a publication accepts a pitch, move it from potential to active. The point is you have all of your contact information in a single place for retrieval as you need. Think about the time you will save with Trello.
Are There More?
Absolutely. Every freelance writer is a unique entrepreneur with unique needs for the organization. Once you begin to use Trello, you will see many more possibilities. In fact, Trello becomes your virtual assistant. The key is to get started now, simplify your workspace and life, and come to see all that you can do.
Recommended article: How I use Trello to Organize my Freelance Writing Work