When I think of tools that help me be productive, Evernote tops the list. If you aren’t familiar with Evernote, it’s a way you can “save your ideas — things you like, things you hear, and things you see.” It’s insanely useful because you can access it from any device, so you can use it wherever you are.
When I downloaded Evernote many months ago, I thought it might be useful, but I didn’t exactly know how I would use it to make my job easier. But once I set up easy ways to send emails, web pages and blog posts to it, I became addicted. Now that I have started to use it more consistently, I can’t imagine life without it. It has replaced many of the other “systems” I was using, and I consider it critical for my content marketing productivity.
How to collect information from multiple sources
As I mentioned, the beauty of Evernote is that you can easily save information to it from many devices. Here are some ideas on how to get started with specific suggestions on how to use Evernote from specific devices and apps.
You can access Evernote from any web browser and via any device with an app, but my favorite interface is the Evernote desktop client on my MacBook Pro. This is where I do my hard-core organizing and editing. There is also a desktop client for PCs, but I have not tried it.
Once you have Evernote set up, it’s time to start populating it. While everyone has a different way to organize information, I set up a folder system of stacked notebooks to keep my ideas organized. In essence, I create a notebook within a notebook so I have a stacked structure where I can easily group information. When I save my info (more on that below), I send it directly to a specific notebook or to my default folder if a relevant notebook is not yet created.
Set up ways to send information to Evernote
One of the ways I have found the most efficiency with Evernote is by setting up easy ways to send information to the app from the devices I use most (a MacBook Pro and iPad) and in the applications I use most (web browsers, email and my RSS reader):
- From my web browser on my MacBook: I installed the Evernote web clipper to my browser (I use Chrome), and now I can save URLs, full articles or selected text with a click of a button.
- From my email on my MacBook: I use Postbox as my email client, and the system is integrated with Evernote. Whenever I want to send an email to Evernote, I simply select the Evernote icon from the toolbar.
- From my web browser on my iPad: I read a lot on my iPad, and it was a bit challenging to find a way to clip web articles from that web browser. But, since I followed these instructions from Lorenzo Orlando Caum, I am now sending even more ideas to Evernote.
- From my RSS reader on my iPad: I use Feeddler Pro as my RSS Reader, and I can send any post to Evernote with a click of a button.
- From email on my iPad: While I prefer to send emails to Evernote via Postbox because it’s so easy, I can also send them from my iPad by sending them to a specific email. To do this, you can follow these instructions.
- From Twitter: You can also send tweets directly to your Evernote account.
Ways to Use Evernote
Once I got a system for collecting and saving information to Evernote, I found a lot of ways to use it for content marketing projects.
Evernote is the main system in which I save anything I am researching or anything I come across that I may find useful later. I simply clip the article I find useful or send the email to Evernote and store it in the system of notebooks to keep the topics organized. I also save scanned documents into Evernote when I see something in print that I want to save for a project.
Blog post ideas
As Laura Roeder mentions in last week’s post about how to plan your blog posts for a year in advance, “Start keeping a file in a notebook, a folder on your computer, or an email folder. Whenever you receive questions from your clients or prospects, save the question in this folder or document. It can be a simple spreadsheet, a word document, or a group of saved emails.”
As you can infer from this, ideas come from all sorts of places: emails, other blog posts, a mental inspiration while you are taking a walk (or a shower). I have found that Evernote has been the easiest system for me to save my blog post ideas regardless of the source. If it’s from an email, web page or blog post, I send those ideas directly to Evernote using the system above. If it’s a one-off idea, I keep track if it in a note. All of these get stored in a notebook called “Blog Post Ideas.”
Drafts of blog posts
I used to be a Word fanatic for organizing and drafting blog posts, but now I solely use Evernote. It’s very useful for me to jot down ideas or add info to posts whenever the thought arises — which is often not when I am in front of my computer.
I have one notebook for everything related to blogging, and then I have stacked notebooks within that:
- Blog posts in progress: Each partially-written post is its own note.
- Blog post ideas: This is a running list of very general ideas for posts.
- Published posts: Once a post is published, I move it to this folder.
- Posts I probably won’t use: I thought I had a great idea, but it wasn’t going anywhere. While I likely won’t use these draft posts, I still save them in case I can re-work them into something else.
List of ideas
At CMI, we constantly have ideas flying around emails and in phone calls. Instead of saying “That’s a great idea,” and not having a specific plan on what to do with it, I now send all of these suggestions to a notebook in Evernote. I then reference this list on occasion to see if there are any ideas we can use.
Like any marketer, I have a lot of projects in various stages of progress. I now have one note dedicated to keeping track of everything going on. I also track open items and questions for upcoming meetings in this note. This way, when someone says, “Let talk about this on our next call,” I centralize this info in one place. It’s a simple idea, but I’m able to prepare for meetings and answer questions about projects much more quickly.
In my job, I often answer the same questions, such as, “What are the guidelines for submitting a blog post to CMI?” I now centralize all of those responses for easy access in a notebook, so I can easily grab the email and customize.
Are you using Evernote for content marketing? I’d love to hear about some of the other ways you are using this app. Let me know in the comments!
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