When it comes to building a content marketing calendar, I think I tried every tool out there. I downloaded fancy spreadsheets, did trials of robust marketing tools, and even used one of those big paper calendars. All of them were good in their own way, but when I wanted to plan my recruitment marketing content in a way that was visual, easy to make notes, and move dates around effortlessly, they either fell short or were more complicated than necessary.
And then I discovered Trello.
I’d been using Trello for a while to keep myself organized. As a solo employer brander, there are a crazy amount of things to juggle. Thankfully, Trello kept me on track. I loved it so much that I even started using it for other things like managing all my household to-dos, meal planning, plotting novels, saving important resources, organizing trips, and keeping track of my budget.
(And no, this isn't an affiliated post. I just love it that much. I basically don’t know how to function in life without it.)
It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I played around with the Calendar Power-Up feature that I realized this tool was exactly what I was looking for to make content planning a breeze. Even better is that it all can be done with their free plan!
Curious to see how I use it? Check out this step-by-step guide.
1. Create your board.
Although Trello has great community templates to get you started, I like working with a blank slate. All of us have different goals and tactics for our recruitment marketing plans, so a blank board lets me organize it based on evolving needs.
2. Create segmented lists.
This will depend on your approach to content marketing. I typically break it down into categories such as:
Themes: I often group my content strategy into quarterly themed chunks. For example, one quarter might focus on DEI stories. Another might focus on our engineering hiring efforts in a specific talent market.
Important dates: This can remind you of holidays, days of recognition, internal initiatives (e.g., a big program launch; important company news; etc.), and key events.
Content: This usually refers to blogs, collateral, downloads, videos, podcasts, and photos.
Websites: This is for your career site and/or third-party sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and so on.
Internal communications: It’s not uncommon for companies to blend employer branding with employee engagement and internal communications. This is especially true for smaller companies and with the change to the remote/hybrid world we’re living in thanks to the pandemic.
This might feel like a very busy content calendar already, and you may wonder how we can distinguish what’s what. That’s where labels come in. More on that later.
If you need to add a list, simply click on “Add another list” on the right-hand side. To remove a list, click the three dots on the right corner of the list and choose “Archive this list.” You can still access it in your history.
If you want to change the order of your list, click on your list and drag it to the desired spot.
3. Add cards to plan your content.
Select the “Add a card” option under each list to start organizing your content. For the card title, keep it high-level.
Just like moving your list, you can simply move your cards from one list to another by clicking and dragging. Or, you can open your card and select the “Move” option under Actions on the right-hand side.
4. Open your card to plan your content details.
Okay. There’s a lot you can do here. It’s up to you on how detailed you want to get, but let me show you some of my favorite features so you know what’s available.
The description box is a great way to post high-level details. Maybe this can be your meta description or a one-liner to help you and/or your team know what’s going on in this piece. This can even be a place you put your copy for a social media post.
You can use the attachment option (found on the right-hand side of your open card) to add files, links, other Trello cards, and links to your drive. In this example, we’ll attach an image we’ll use for the social media post. As you can see, the photo will pop up in the card header and in your list view.
If you prefer to keep your board clean, you can remove the header image. To do this, open the card, click on the “Cover” option on the bottom right of the header and choose to remove or change the cover.
5. Add your to-do lists and notes.
In a perfect world, everything would be done immediately with no loose ends. In the real world, that’s rarely the case. To keep yourself super organized so you don’t miss your deadlines, use the checklist option (found on the right-hand side) to add your pending to-do’s.
You can also use the notes section to keep yourself and your teams up-to-date on what’s going on. In the notes, you can add attachments, other Trello cards, emojis, and tag members from your team.
6. Assign labels.
Remember what I said about keeping your cards organized? Labels are a visual way to help you see what’s what when looking at your calendar view. You can also filter your content using labels.
In your open card, click the labels section (on the right-hand side) and edit your labels by clicking on the little pencil next to the color and creating a name for your label.
Then, select the label that applies to your card. You’ll see it at the top of the card when it’s open and in the card title area when in list view.
7. Set your deadline dates.
To visually organize your content calendar, adding dates to your cards is the most important thing to do.
In your open card, select Dates (on the right-hand side) and choose your due date. You can also choose a start date for ongoing projects. Again, this will show up at the top of your card and in the title section when in list view.
8. Power-Up your Trello board with a calendar view.
This is my favorite Power-Up to help me see what’s going on at a high-level. Better yet, it’s included in their free plan.
To get your Power-Up, open a card and select “Add Power-Ups” from the right-hand side. From there, search for the Calendar Power-Up and click the “Add” button.
Once you add your Power-Up, you’ll see it as an option at the top right-corner of your board. To check out the calendar view, click on the Calendar Power-Up from this area.
And because random things love to pop up so our perfect schedule feels like it never goes according to plan (I know you know what I mean), you can simply click on a card and drag it to another date. This is probably my favorite part of this. Whenever I used other tools, it felt like a hassle. Don’t even get me started on all the Wite-Out I used for the paper calendars.
Voila. A simple content calendar...but that’s not all!
I covered the basics, but there are plenty more features we didn’t go over. I’d be here all day telling you about them, and that’s just on the free plan! There’s even more on the paid versions.
However, here’s a quick rundown of some of the other features I use:
Sort by: Click on the three dots on the top corner of your card to sort your lists by things like due dates, card names, etc.
Copy lists or cards: An easy way to duplicate things in one click. For example, I’ll create a template card or list and duplicate it whenever I start planning for the next quarter. There’s even an option to “make a template” if you’d rather go down that route.
Archive: I usually archive cards when I’ve completed the task. You can access them in your history and even send them back to your board.
Watch: This is a nice feature because it alerts you if anything changes. You can get an app, desktop, or email notification for things like updates to the cards or when you’re nearly past your due date.
Members: Add members to your cards for team collaboration. I’ll usually use this to assign someone as a task owner for the card.
Butler: Create automatic rules. For example, you can create a rule that whenever you add a card to a certain list, it will assign a specific due date to it.
Stickers & Giphy: Make your board a little more fun by adding stickers or Giphys for things like marking things done, celebrating something, or just generally communicating with your team.
Trello can be as simple or as robust as you want it to be. I’ve tried many project management tools over the last decade, but I keep finding myself coming back to this. Hopefully, this offers you a free, easy, and organized way to plan your recruitment marketing content calendar.
Need help building your recruitment marketing content calendar? Harlow offers activation services. Contact us here to learn more.
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