Random Thoughts

Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Content creation planning with Kanban

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Hello there. If you are a thoughtful person then you came to the right place :D

I'm going to tell you how I'm managing my ideas of the things I want to write in this blog. This blog has a particular editorial that relates to software development and entrepreneurship. In many ways is dedicated to explore professional subjects that I've been and will be learning in my lifetime.

Please be aware that this post is not a "content marketing strategy" guide, although that strategy can have its place in the method I'm going to tell.

During my days I have to deal with a lot of different challenges and I have to consume a huge amount of varied information. Some ideas popup at the lightspeed and vanish before the next day. Some other ideas are the result of a deep understanding of a wide subject. Do you see yourself in that place too? Let's close the open loops.

The open loops

I first learned about "open loops" in a conference talk video, but I can't remember anymore which one (if that has happened today, I'd probably had that noted). There is another reference to this that worth to check: Want to Calm Your Mind? Close the Open Loops, let me quote this blog post author (April Perry refers her learning from David Allen’s best-seller, Getting Things Done®):

Essentially, they’re commitments made to yourself or to another person that hasn’t yet been fulfilled. They’re hanging out in limbo (your brain), and they essentially drain your energy without you even realizing it (like when you have a bunch of apps open on your phone at the same time).

There are a bunch of techniques to close the loops, and the loops can be a lot different things. Here I'm focusing on the ideas for writings and how to manage them.

Take notes

The method starts simple: take notes! The notes should be taken right away when they popup in your head. You'll not be writing the whole piece at this moment, just write a probable title and a small excerpt. You'll come back to the notes later.

But where? That's a good question and some may tell you that "doesn't really matter where or how, what really matters is the habit". And that's true! But based on my experience, the "where and how" will enforce or weaken the habit. I already mentioned a little bit about this here: My "Hello World" projects. My recommendation is that you use a platform that you are more confortable, a place that you spend a lot of time and have good familiarity.

Planning with Kanban

Here enters a more specific feature requirement for the platform of your choice. So far you could have chosen to put your notes on papers, or in gists, or in your journal. But we need to make the management of your ideas more dynamic. There are many options out there. I'm going to explain using GitHub Projects & Issues.

Do you know Kanban? If yes, good! If no, let me briefly explain the very basics. You have a project and the Kanban board. In that project have many small tasks (the big tasks are split into other small tasks). In the Kanban board have mainly 3 columns representing the workflow: To do, In progress, Done.

For the article ideas management workflow it will be like this: In the To do are your spread ideas. Move to In progress only the ones you are working on. Move to Done when you publish the article. That makes use of the basic Kanban workflow, but you can improve yours adding more columns, as a Waiting for review or something like that.

You can read more about if you are curious: What is Kanban?.

The GitHub platform

There's a nice thing about GitHub, the platform have a lot of discrete features that link contents to each other and provides automation at some level.

In the GitHub Project board I do something like this: first I add a note with few words of my idea and leave in the To do column. As the time passes I consume and produce more information about that subject, then I convert the note to an issue and edit the description or append comments with new thoughts and resources.

In the matter of "content marketing strategy", many of the preparation can be made in the GitHub Issue. If it's a collaborative piece, other people can comment, give feedback and contributions. You can take advantage of the platform as much as you want.

This blog is hosted on GitHub so its quite convenient for me to link commits in the related idea, as in git commit -m "Blog post about content creation planning with Kanban #24". For this particular blog post I had the Kanban card: Content creation planning with Kanban.

And this is the Kanban board with all ideas that popped up in my mind so far: Writing ideas.

Close the loops!

I hope this helps if you have lots of ideas and want them to become articles. I started recently and it's helping me way more than any other method I used before.

And now, one more item to the Done list!