How To Use Evernote For Blogging To Boost Your Efficiency
Tons of people use Evernote. More than 100 million, in fact—and that was two years ago.
And lots of those folks are bloggers and marketers like Colin here:
A1: I usually start with ideas and planning in Evernote. #CoChat
— Colin Haas (@colinmhaas) June 4, 2015
Some awesome bloggers like Michael Hyatt are also extremely vocal about using Evernote for blogging—just check out his ultimate guide to creating blog posts with Evernote.
So last week when CoSchedule made it possible to convert Evernote to WordPress, we thought you’d enjoy some actionable advice on how to use Evernote for blogging and content marketing. Yeah, let me repeat that quick: You can now turn Evernote notes into WordPress blog posts with CoSchedule.
Here is how to use Evernote for blogging (and stick around to the end for tips on how we use Evernote at CoSchedule).
Why Evernote Is Awesome For Blogging
Evernote, at its core, is a note-taking tool. It helps you organize notes into notebooks, which helps you remember everything.
- You can use Evernote for anything. For bloggers, that includes marketing strategy, content plans, meeting or interview notes (and you can also record the audio), content ideas, research, and actual content creation.
- You can use Evernote anywhere. The tool integrates with literally hundreds of other apps and devices, some of which you’re probably using already, like CoSchedule.
- Because Evernote focuses on making the tool useful for any device, you can take notes wherever you are. You don’t even need to be online—when you have an idea while on an airplane, you can still make a note that will sync with your other devices once you find the Internet later (because let’s face it, who pays $10 to have sketchy Internet for a couple hours?).
- And because of that, you have access to all of your blogging notes wherever you are.
While it’s a simple concept, Evernote has some serious features that make it a blogger’s best friend.
1. Capture Blog Post Ideas In Evernote
Any blogger who’s been at it for a while will relate to Emma’s problem with blog post ideas here:
@eradscantina see ideas always come at inconvenient times and by the time I get home its gone – I write it down now
— Emma White (@TheRealSupermum) March 19, 2015
It seems like great post ideas come—they exist for a few seconds—then we forget them. Since Evernote is on your smartphone (which, let’s face it, is always with you), you can use it to “write it down now” and never forget an idea again.
So how can Evernote help you capture blog post ideas?
Use Web Clipper and the Evernote Helper to store your ideas.
How many times have you cruised the interwebs and found inspiration for a blog post? Evernote’s Web Clipper is awesome for capturing those fleeting thoughts before you ever forget them.
With search engines like Google looking further into facts, data, and research in your posts to rank them higher on their search engine results pages, Evernote makes it easier to gather the information you need to boost your SEO.
Watch this, and you’ll know exactly how to use Web Clipper in less than a minute:
Here are a few ways you can use Evernote’s Web Clipper and Helper for blogging:
- Read blogs in your niche. When they have a great idea, blow their post away with something way better. Capture that post with the Web Clipper to save the idea.
- You may already have a few blog post ideas and are doing online research to validate your points. Web Clipper gives you the opportunity to copy entire articles into your Evernote.
- Another option for research, and my preferred, is to use Evernote Helper to copy and paste URLs and even the coolest facts, quotes, or pieces of inspiration. That way, there are fewer notes to sort through in Evernote, but you capture the gist of what you needed with a link to reference the source. And you can do all that without ever leaving your browser, which saves a ton of time.
Get started with Evernote’s free Web Clipper to gather blog post ideas easier than ever. Just imagine how many more ideas you’ll have in your drafts bin! And how much time that can save you when writing your posts.
Use Skitch to take screen shots with arrows, notes, and highlighted areas.
Skitch is a super powerful tool to take screen shots and provide context to your readers to help them understand what to focus on. I’ve seen tons of bloggers use Skitch including thought leaders like Neil Patel.
You may already know the importance of using visuals in your blog posts: 60% of your audience is visual learners. Skitch makes it easy to include more images in your posts to help you visually tell your story.
Again, Evernote pulled together a great 2-minute video to show off some of the ways you can use Skitch to take screen shots and mark up pictures:
Skitch makes blogging easier for four reasons:
- Skitch is excellent for showing your customers and prospects exactly how to do something on your website or with your product. Our customer success team at CoSchedule could probably not survive without the help of Skitch to annotate CoSchedule “how-tos” for help docs. And if you read this post about marketing calendars, you would understand why at least some product-centric content should come first before inbound-only content.
- Lots of bloggers like to include screenshots of Web pages that prove their points. Skitch makes it easy to take the screen shots and hone in on specific areas by using rectangles, arrows, and text. That gives your screen shots more context, which is super helpful when you rely on visuals to tell your story.
- The blur out tool is super handy. I thought I’d never really use it, but when you take a screen shot of your own social media accounts or examples from forums (you get the picture), it’s nice to keep information private while getting your point across. Trust me, this is a billion times easier than figuring out how to do it with a tool like Photoshop.
- Skitch connects directly into Evernote. Once you’re done with your image, you can simply drag and drop your Skitch image into the note where you’re working on your post. That keeps your content in one place when you’re researching, outlining, and gathering information in general.
Get Skitch for free now to include better annotated images and screenshots on your blog.
Email blog post ideas directly into Evernote.
If you’ve never used Evernote before for capturing your blog ideas, I totally get the learning curve of figuring out a new tool. So why not start gathering ideas with a tool you’ve used for years—your email—and simply send them directly into Evernote?
Michael Hyatt has a detailed post to help you understand the tech behind this. It’s really simple to get started:
- Find your Evernote email address in Account Info > More Account Settings.
- Optimize your subject lines to add emails as notes directly into your existing notebooks with tags and reminders. Your subject line becomes your note name, so use this syntax: Note Name @Notebook Name #Tag Name !YYYY/MM/DD.
- Send your email.
Even if you don’t remember the subject line syntax, that’s fine. The email will just go into your default folder which you can change under Preferences > General.
While you could move files from your default, it saves a ton of time to learn the subject line syntax now and simply know that your notes are filed properly without any other manual steps.
This feature is awesome for bloggers and marketers:
- You may subscribe to a few different blogs to receive their content via email. Now that you use Evernote, when an email comes through with an idea you love, you can easily forward it directly into Evernote to turn that email into a note in your “Blog Post Ideas” notebook.
- When you come up with an idea as you look through your email, just write yourself an email and send it into Evernote. That keeps you focused on getting through email without ever leaving the tool, and you won’t forget your blog post idea.
- You may have an approval process or want some general feedback before pursuing a blog post idea. You can easily write the email to whomever you’d like, and send it directly into your Evernote.
3 bonus ways to capture blog post ideas with Evernote.
Admittedly, I don’t use these ways often (yet). But they sound pretty powerful for those of you who blog slightly differently than me:
- If you’re a big fan of writing posts on paper—or gathering some of your thoughts on graphic designs, brainstorms, etc. offline—you can easily scan directly into Evernote.
- While I’ve never scanned, I’ve definitely taken pictures on my phone and added them into Evernote, which is super easy, too!
- If you’re a big reader, chances are, blog post ideas come to you all the time from the books you read. You can actually use Kindle’s highlighter tool and get all of the awesome quotes you highlighted into Evernote for blog post fodder. Imagine book reviews or even a nice area for your favorite quotes to use in multiple posts.
2. Write Your Blog Posts In Evernote
Michael Hyatt has some great advice for turning blog post ideas in Evernote into actual content. Begin with a template and flesh out your blog post outline right in Evernote:
Set up a blogging template in Evernote. There are certain components that I want to create or collect for every blog post. For example, I am now using the SCORRE™ method from the Dynamic Communicators Workshop (DCW) to prepare every post. This is an acronym for Subject, Central Theme, Objective Statement, Rationale, and Evaluation. I store my template in an Evernote notebook called Templates, along with numerous other templates I use on a regular basis.
Michael even included a screen shot of his template you can use to build your own:
Essentially, you’ll use this template to turn a blog post idea into real content. This is an easy way to shape up an outline for your posts, getting the inspiration flowing for that idea you may have thrown in Evernote a couple weeks or even months ago.
Here is that blog post template in text format so you can easily copy and paste it into a new note in your Evernote:
[What do I want to talk about?]
[What do I want to focus on?]
Persuasive: Every person should ___ because of/for ___ (keyword).
Enabling: Every person can ___ by ___ (keyword).
Write the first draft
Edit the first draft
Read it aloud
Insert relevant HTML code
Publish a draft
Proof-read the draft and make corrections
Insert metadata and run post through ScribeSEO
Tweak as necessary
Schedule for publication
Set the featured image in WordPress
What I like about this template is that it helps you turn an idea into real content. It helps you focus on:
- Finding unique angles for your posts so you don’t sound just like everybody else.
- Focusing on objectives that essentially answer the question, “What will my audience learn when they read this post?”
- Targeting keywords your audience uses to help them find your content through search engines.
- Brainstorming many different headlines to eventually choose the best ones for your blog posts.
- Following a simple, task-based workflow to make sure you don’t accidentally forget something as you write and publish your posts.
And one of the cool things about this template is that you can tweak and customize it for your own preferences. At least now, you have a starting point to see what it may look like in your Evernote.
3. Publish Your Blog Posts From Evernote To WordPress (Or Wherever, Really)
Well, technically you can actually publish your blog posts from Evernote to WordPress—or to HTML or PDFs. It’s all possible with the new integration between Evernote and your CoSchedule editorial calendar.
Watch this video to learn exactly how to plan your Evernote notes as content with your editorial calendar:
Sidebar: Some of you—the planning nerds like me—may want to plan your Evernote posts on your editorial calendar before you start writing it. There are a lot of benefits of doing just that:
- You can plan your time a whole lot better by knowing what you’ll publish ahead of time.
- Planning ideas on your calendar will help you prioritize your blog posts based on what has the best opportunity to “move the needle” or in real people words—it focuses your energy on the projects your audience should really love.
- Your editorial calendar provides a list of publish dates. So whatever tasks you do to make a blog post happen, you can work backward to knock them all out before you wake up and think, “Crap! I need to write and publish a post today!”
And planning your Evernote ideas on your editorial calendar—even before you write the posts—is totally possible. Follow this same process, just write your posts later on.
The process is simple:
- Connect your Evernote notebooks into CoSchedule.
- Drag and drop your notes from your drafts bin in CoSchedule as real content on your editorial calendar.
- Use the workflows and communication you love in CoSchedule for managing your Evernote-created content.
- When your Evernote content is ready to publish, send it to WordPress, or even share it as a link, HTML, or a PDF.
- After publish, use your social queue to promote your content right from CoSchedule.
It’s seriously that easy.
Bonus! How CoSchedule Really Uses Evernote
You just learned how to capture blog post ideas, write your blog posts in Evernote, and how to transfer your posts to WordPress and beyond. Well done!
So here’s a bonus of how we use Evernote for blogging at CoSchedule.
1. Capture blog post ideas in Evernote.
You just read all about this in some extreme detail, so I’ll save you from repeating myself on the how-to process. At CoSchedule, we capture blog post ideas using the Web Clipper, Evernote Helper, and email into Evernote features.
Right now, we have one note where anyone on the team can add in ideas, too. That way, if it’s just one sentence and a link to the source of inspiration, we have slightly fewer notes to sift through for the good ideas versus the stinkers.
We use one notebook for all of our notes relating to blog post ideas. That same notebook is where we start to flesh out posts, too, with research.
2. Research blog post ideas with Evernote.
Once we vet our ideas to know if they’re any good, we throw them on the calendar as Content in CoSchedule. From here, we use Evernote’s tools like Web Clipper and Evernote Helper as we conduct online research to fact-check our posts before we ever write them.
This also plays into Evernote’s ability to record audio. We do a lot of case study-esque content to help our audience learn how to plan content even better from the pros who use CoSchedule like Raven Tools, Convince and Convert, and THINK creative group.
After doing a few of these interviews with me writing a million miles an hour, I started researching how to record what my interviewees are saying to help me focus on the conversation instead of just writing down their answers to my questions. I’m excited to try out the recording feature for the next interview.
3. Write your blog posts in Evernote.
Garrett has mentioned this before: He writes every post in Evernote. It’s nice to forget about formatting for a little bit, and concentrate purely on writing great content.
Here’s what Garrett has to say about it:
One of my all time favorite writing tools is most definitely Evernote. I use it to keep track of all of my blog post ideas and regularly add notes and outlines to my documents as I come up with new ideas or details for posts. With Evernote, I can easily take my “blogging brain” on the go, so time and location are never a limitation to my writing process.
Here’s a screen shot of how he starts with a brief idea, then fleshes out his outline in Evernote first, then fills in the blanks with his real posts:
Read the post this outline turned into: How To Save Time Writing Blog Posts.
4. Plan a note for this week’s projects, what’s on deck for next week, and all upcoming projects.
I’m at risk to nerd out right now. So I’ll try to be as clear as possible.
CoSchedule is a software as a service (SaaS) startup built on agile development processes. That works for us for the development team, so we’ve adopted that model of project management for marketing.
Essentially, we have one note to which the entire team has access. This note has three main sections:
- Active Projects: What are we doing this week?
- On Deck Projects: What are we planning to do next week?
- Upcoming Projects: What are things we could do, but aren’t planning to do quite yet?
Some projects constantly happen every week—so we know they’ll happen—like publishing on our blog, sending emails and newsletters, and hosting our Twitter chat.
Yet this process, managed at a high-level in an Evernote note, helps us plan the additional projects we’re working on. This note serves as the itinerary for our Monday marketing meetings, and helps us talk through the projects, know who the owners are, and address any road blocks.
Read this post on Evernote’s blog for a lot more detail on how we use Evernote to coordinate marketing and our team.
5. Document your progress toward your marketing goals with Evernote.
I just mentioned we have marketing meetings on Mondays. Just as it’s important for us to know what we’re doing this week and get a glimpse of next week’s projects, it’s super important for us to understand how our past marketing performed so we can optimize future projects.
We document our progress toward our marketing goals in a notebook with new notes added once a week to track weekly progress.
Our goals include increasing:
- Social media shares
- Email subscribers
- Customer conversions
Our weekly reports run through stats from a bunch of different tools, often of screenshots of various dashboards showing our weekly progress:
- Social media analytics from CoSchedule
- Traffic reports from Google Analytics
- Email subscribers from Campaign Monitor and KISSmetrics
- Customer conversions from Intercom and KISSmetrics
At the start of a new month, we’ll look at how all the data added up. Basically, we look for trends to understand what’s working and what’s not so that we prioritize our time (and future projects) according to what will drive growth.
Evernote helps us track all of that.
6. Have one notebook for active projects and separate notebooks for ongoing projects.
I don’t like clutter. So I don’t like new notebooks for every project because sometimes they’re really small and then notebooks just sit there, making it difficult for me to see the few notebooks I use every day.
We have one notebook for one-off active marketing projects we’re working through. We actually write a lot of our content in Evernote notes, whether it’s blog posts, Web pages, landing pages, case studies, tear sheets—you name it.
When a project is done, we move the notes to another notebook for closed marketing projects. This keeps it simple to archive since we’ve most likely edited the content once it was formatted, so we consider the final published content to be the master source.
For ongoing projects like our #CoChat Twitter chat, we have a notebook to which we add new notes all the time. For example, it makes sense to manage all of our #CoChat stuff together, and to easily reference what we’ve created in the past.
How Will You Use Evernote For Blogging And Marketing?
The beautiful thing about Evernote is that there are a billion different ways to use it. We’d love to hear how you use Evernote for blogging!