Like many people, I have trouble keeping organized. In fact, I’m kind of a mess.
But recently I’ve found a new way to stay organized: Evernote. Like many people, I’ve known about Evernote for a while, but recently I’ve found some incredibly valuable use cases that have really created a ton of value. With that in mind, today I present: the Marketer’s Guide to Productivity & Organization with Evernote.
Keep a Searchable Swipe File
One thing I do in Evernote that save me tons of time is keeping a searchable, tagged swipe file, that I can add to with one click.
What’s a Swipe File and Why Should I Keep One?
“Every professional copywriter keeps a swipe file – a collection of proven direct response promotions – and for good reason. Building a swipe file is easily one of the most powerful things you can do to advance your career as a copywriter. ” – Clayton Makepeace, Famed Copywriter & Direct Marketer
Swipe files are a term dating back to the early days of copy editing and direct marketing, where experienced writers and editors would keep huge files of ads they saw with headlines, closes, and other elements that worked.
Every marketer should keep a swipe file, regardless of their specialty. See a great piece of content? A great outreach email headline? How about a unique way to integrate share buttons or a great call to action?
Swipe it. Then look through your file when you’re confronted by a problem – and odds are a solution will emerge.
Keeping a Swipe File with Evernote Web Clipper
Evernote makes keeping a swipe file incredibly easy – and almost fun.
Start by installing the web clipper – and you’ll get a peaceful, friendly elephant quietly sitting in your browser’s extension area.
Then, when you find something you want to add to your file, click it and it springs into action:
You can tag images, put them into notebooks (which are like folders on your desktop or projects in BuzzStream), highlight and write on images, and do everything you need to maintain an organized, useful swipe file, right from the browser.
Then, when you’ve encountered a marketing challenge (say writing a good landing page headline), you can search your Evernote for ideas.
Maintain a Pipeline of Blog Post & Content Ideas
The Unbearable Lightness of Good Content Ideas
Marketers have to produce tons of content to feed the beast that is the modern-day internet.
Producing content isn’t hard. Producing useful, quality blog posts, resources, videos, guides, and tutorials (notice how I didn’t call it content…) is an all-consuming quest that will take over your dreams, your evening runs around your neighborhood, beers with friends, showers, and more.
And nothing is more frustrating than to come up with a good idea, or find an article or a concept worth blogging about, only to have it slip back into the ether of your mind. Or to have a great idea while you’re out jogging, and completely forget it by the time you’re back in front of the computer.
Keeping a Post Pipeline in Evernote
That’s why it’s important to have a system to come up with good concepts for content. And for me, that system looks something like this:
- Every idea (from sources like Ubersuggest, customer questions, other blog posts, internal discussions, interesting research I see) gets its own note in the Blog Post Ideas notebook.
- Other people on our team are also free to add ideas, comments, and thoughts on blog posts. If someone on our customer support team gets a customer question, or someone on our product development team pushes a new feature that should get mentioned, they can go in there and add notes to each idea as well.
- As we come up with more ideas, diagrams, relevant citations, and important points we add them to the notes, in something resembling a stream of consciousness.
- Once it’s time for the note to be converted into a blog post, we add it to Draft, and begin working on turning it into a finished post.
If you have significant content responsibilities at your job, I truly recommend you take this approach – at BuzzStream, it’s helped us go from weekly terror to writing quality blog posts on a weekly basis without too much trouble.
Stalk the Competition without Digging Through Dumpsters
If there’s one thing that keeps marketers up later than regular content creations, it’s the competition.
You can use Evernote to monitor the competition’s email strategies and keep an ongoing record of exactly what offers, content, and calls-to-action they’re pushing their list.
There’s 2 good ways to do this:
- Use the Email to Evernote feature and forward the emails into your Evernote account, after adding notebook destinations and tags to the subject line.
- Use Evernote partner app Powerbot to send information to Evernote. (Note: Powerbot is not freemium – you must pay for it if you’d like to continue to use it.)
Chris Dyson also wrote a really good post on Evernote, highlighting its uses for bloggers.
Evernote also has a selection of cool resources over on their blog.
How do you use Evernote to stay organized and be a better marketer?