Evernote and Blogging: A Match Made in Heaven

I’m a huge fan of the (free) service, Evernote. I use it to capture and organize ideas, websites, images and audio notes for pretty much every project I have going on in my life. And believe me, I have a lot of projects going on. I don’t think I’d be able to keep everything straight without Evernote.

One area where Evernote is particularly helpful is for running my website, Cloud Coach.  I use it to:

  • Collect blog post ideas and write full blog articles.
  • In every phase of product launches: from brainstorming, to product creation, to marketing.
  • To keep track of my coaching clients’
  • To take capture notes and suggestions from my own mentors
  • Capture website development ideas
  • And more…

Curious about how I set it all up?

First: The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up for an Evernote account if you don’t already have one.  Install the desktop version of Evernote, along with the smart phone app if you’ve got one.  Finally, install the Evernote web clipper for your browser.

Next: Now that you’ve got everything installed it’s time to create a some notebooks. Some notebooks I’d recommend setting up are:

  • Blog Post Ideas
  • Website Ideas
  • Product Ideas
  • Swipe File
  • Individual Notebooks for each of your clients
  • Individual Notebooks for each of your mentors

Third: Now that you’ve created all of these notebooks, you want to group them together so they stay organized. right click one of them and choose Add To Stack>New Stack. A notebook stack is basically a notebook that you can nest other notebooks under. Think of it as a folder with sub-folders. This will be the catch-all for everything related to your website or business.

You can see that the stack for my business is called CloudCoach Stack. Once you’ve created the stack, you can start adding the rest of your notebooks to it.

Congratulations, You’re all set up. Now what?

Let me give you an idea of what exactly I’m putting into each of these notebooks so you can see how vital Evernote is to Cloud Coach.

Blog Post Ideas

When an idea for a blog post strikes me, I know I have to capture it quickly or else it will be gone.  Unfortunately, inspiration doesn’t always strike at the most convenient times, so this is the notebook where I capture all those ideas. They are usually just outlines for posts, but sometimes they are just a catchy title. And other times they are fully flushed out posts ready to publish on Cloud Coach.

But how to get these ideas quickly into Evernote?

For me, I’m always by email, so the ability to post to Evernote by email is very convenient. Whenever I have a blog post idea, I usually just quickly open up a new email and fire it off to Evernote. The subject becomes the title of the note, and the message becomes the body. Here’s a post I did with detailed instructions on how to set this up.

Website Ideas/Swipe File

If I ever get an idea for a modification I want to make to Cloud Coach, I just jot it down in its own note. Often though, the idea comes from seeing another website with an interesting design element or feature. This is where the Evernote Web Clipper comes in handy. The web clipper is a browser extension that will let you capture all or part of any webpage along with your notes.  So, when I see something that inspires me, I simply highlight it, click the Evernote button, and add some notes. Anything I’ve highlighted (including images) will be saved.

Client and Mentor Notes

If you work with clients or you have a regular meeting with a coach, you know how hard it is to keep all of your notes straight. My strategy for this problem is that I create a new note in the appropriate notebook for each session with my client or coach (Example note name: Annie 2/2). I’ll type all my notes directly into Evernote during our session, and bold any action items.

Ubiquity is Priceless

So you can see that I rely on Evernote as my external brain– and I really do. Sure I could do something like this using any number of programs or services. But what I think separates Evernote from the rest is that it is literally available from everywhere: My browser, my desktop, and my smart phone.  What good is your external brain if you can’t access it any time you need? The smart phone and desktop apps even work offline and will sync changes once they are back online.

Your turn: I’d love to hear about how you use Evernote. If you sign up using my link, you and I will both get a month of Evernote Premium! Share some of your favorite ways you’ve put it to work in the comments.

Photo by TZA
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13 comments
peterbryenton
peterbryenton

I upload photos of the packaging from my favourite foodstuffs & products to Evernote so that I can find them easily when shopping for replacement stock.

Heather
Heather

Just getting started with Evernote (for about the third time). I stop and start all the time... but now I'm reading great how-to articles like this one and it's really starting to make sense to me how useful Evernote can be for me. Question: do you keep a separate notebook for each client? And stack them all under Cloud Coach? Sounds like a lot of notebooks - wouldn't that take longer to organized your clips and notes? I'm wondering if having one notebook called Clients in my biz stack is better/worse? Then tag each item with the client name. Can you share why you prefer one way over the other? Is there a downside to too many notebooks or no? I want to set this up once and get to using it. Thanks so much!

ethanwaldman
ethanwaldman

@CraigMcBreen Hey Craig, thank you for tweeting my articles.. Much appreciated!

Peter
Peter

I've actually found a combination of both evernote and Read it later to be extremely useful. I wouldn't say I'm much of a fan of swipe files simply because there's often a lot more to something that I would like to save and simply taking a screenshot or copying text isn't really that best option for keeping things searchable. I've got a massive archive of posts and websites on read it later!

Absolute best part about evernote (and RIL) is that they stay synced. I try to get as much done at home before I do go and jot down a note (good for reminders) but when I'm out, perfect tool for keeping up to date with what I need to get done when I get home.

saraho
saraho

Hmm, I just tried to right click on a notebook and I didn't get the prompt to "add to stack". And I was so excited about being able to group notebooks. Any ideas. (i'm on a Mac notebook and I actually control clicked which should be the same thing..)

suddenlyjamie
suddenlyjamie

Love this one-two combination.

I use Evernote to capture quick notes about topic ideas (I have one "running" note for each of the blogs I write for), and also to clip snippets of posts or other things I find online that might provide future inspiration.

I use Evernote a TON when I'm researching a particular topic (whether for my own blog, or a client's) - keeping a file of reference sources and articles that I can then refer to when I'm working down at my local coffeeshop and am not connected to the internet.

LOVE your idea of keeping a "client log" ...something I ought to do, but never seem to get around to.

You can also use Evernote as a way to archive possible blog images. Sometimes - I swear - it takes me as long to find the image for a post as it does to write the post. I can use Evernote to clip images as I come across them and save them for later use.

ethanwaldman
ethanwaldman moderator

Hi Heather- Both ways are valid. I just prefer separate notebooks for clients because I find dragging and dropping notes is easier. Tagging isn't quite as fast (for me). Plus, I like to be able to move the whole notebook to another folder once I'm done working with the client.  I suppose you could do the same thing with tags for each client, but again- I prefer multiple notebooks. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

CraigMcBreen
CraigMcBreen

@ethanwaldman You're most welcome! Enjoy your stuff.

ethanwaldman
ethanwaldman moderator

@saraho That's odd: I'm on a mac right now and am seeing the Add to Stack option when I control-click. Are you sure you've got the latest version of Evernote desktop?

ethanwaldman
ethanwaldman moderator

@suddenlyjamie Nice! Thanks for sharing your story. The client log was huge for me because I used to take notes on whatever was most convenient.. sometimes a google doc, sometimes a scrap of paper. Using Evernote as a rule every time has made it a lot easier to keep things straight.

ethanwaldman
ethanwaldman moderator

@JonathanMead Nice. The portability is key. As Tenacious D once said: "Always record.. ALWAYS RECORD". :D

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