I remember I really struggled to get to grips with Twitter at first, I signed up for my first account in 2007 and after messing about with it on and off for almost a year I finally got it… now you can’t get me off the damned thing!
A few months ago I began using Evernote as my main productivity tool. Basically, Evernote is a multi-platform program that allows you to keep accessible notes. You can do this by creating notebooks and notes.
Within the past few weeks I’ve noticed a few people I follow on Twitter asking questions about the best ways to use Evernote and I have to admit it’s one of those tools where you finally have a Eureka moment after persisting with it, much like I did with Twitter. There are an infinite number of ways you can use Evernote to make you more productive, more creative or more awesome-r, however what I want to cover in this post is the ways I use Evernote as a productive blogging tool.
Create Common Templates
If you have a series of blog posts or articles which follow a set format then you might want to consider setting up a template with all the relevant HTML elements laid out which you can store in a reference notebook which can save you time when publishing these types of post.
At any moment inspiration can strike… It holds no bars – whether you’re walking the dog or watching an episode of Breaking Bad a juicy idea can spring forward from your subconscious to help you with a project you are working on. It might be for a client or you’ve come up with the topic for your next blog post but inspiration can strike at any time.
Before I used Evernote I might have made a mental note or scribbled something on the nearest piece of paper. The problem was that when I finally got around to taking action I couldn’t recall it or the notes I had made on that napkin just looked like a mad man’s scrawl on his cell wall… I’m sure you can relate.
Thankfully, I have my Evernote app with me on my cell phone (how trans-atlantic is that?) or tablet where I can jot down some ideas, so I don’t forget them before I can get to my computer and work on it further.
Call me old school, but I still love to use Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds. If I find an awesome post and that gives me some inspiration then I will star it. I have an IFTTT recipe (automation FTW!) set up to forward my Google Reader starred items to a notebook in Evernote.
If I happen to find a useful quote or some amazing data to enhance my blog post then I will normally capture it within my draft post; you can do this with the Evernote web clipper just highlight what you want to save and “clip it”. It will show up inside your Evernote, fully formatted, and complete with the URL it originated from.
I also have an IFTTT recipe to save my Twitter favourites to Evernote too using this RSS hack.
Search your Notes with Google
If you use the Evernote web clipper you can find notes related to your web search you may have already saved down.
As you can see in the image below on the left are the normal Google search results and on the right are some clippings you have already saved down.
This is an awesome tip I recently discovered on the Verge and it really has improved my research for blog posts and articles. It’s amazing how much you read and save down in Evernote that you might have forgotten about so this really helps me to re-discover some hidden gems.
Write Anywhere and Everywhere
Now that you’ve made a note of all your awesome ideas it’s time to start padding them out further.
As Evernote can be used as a mobile app, desktop app or on the website you can write pretty much write anywhere and everywhere. I usually like to pad out my initial ideas with a handful of bullet points or sub headings when I am in the moment.
I normally write the first draft of my blog post in Evernote. When I am writing I don’t worry about formatting. I just try to get the post out; I try to resist the urge to edit my work as I write.
I also keep a record in Evernote of my published blog posts (and guest posts) for two reasons:
- I’m quite paranoid about losing my work (even though I regularly back everything up)
- It makes it easier to link to my older posts if I want to reference them
I like having everything curated for my articles with in one place, so I will usually find some stock images or creative commons pictures from Flickr to add to my post.
Another awesome feature of Evernote is the ability to email notes into your Evernote account, using your secret email address. If you want to use this feature then you need to append the subject line with the @ symbol followed by the name of an existing notebook and if you want to add a tag, include “#” followed by an existing tag.
Once you have written your draft checked it and re-checked it, it’s very easy to copy and paste the note in to WordPress, check the formatting and then schedule for later.
I hope this has given you some ideas on how to get more out of Evernote as a blogger and if you have any more tips or questions please leave them in the comments below.