How to Use Trello Like a Badass, Part 2: Creating Kick-Ass Content

March 29, 2018 ​- 46 Comments

​If you want to ​publish better content, you have to change what you do ​before​ you start ​writing or filming.

In this post, I'll show you the content outlining technique that I use to create better blog content, videos, presentations, sales pitches,... whatever form you end up communicating in, the first steps should always be the same.

Check out the video to discover my technique.



The technique shown here builds up on things we've previously covered here on the blog. Namely, you should be familiar with the Bento Box Thinking method. This is the foundation of how to think in a clear, well-structured manner. The better you are at this, the faster you can throw together an outline for an excellent piece of content.

Also, if you haven't seen my first video on how to use Trello yet, you can check it out here.

What Are Your Goals?

​There were many interesting comments and questions on my first post about how to use Trello. I have some more content in progress, to help answer those questions and help you become a productivity badass using this tool.

And as always, I'm interested in more feedback from you. What are your productivity goals? What processes in your business (or your life) would you like to optimize and systematize, using a tool like Trello?

Let me know by leaving a comment below. It helps me make better, more relevant content for you.​

Shane's Signature

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Love. Trello.
    Thanks for introducing us. We get along great :)

  • An opportune video on Trello, Shane, as I just started to learn about it and thought it could be a good way to organize my blog posts and other parts of my website until I bumped into Airtable (, which has a user interface that appears similar to Trello, but advertises itself as “part spreadsheet, part database” and therefore may be more powerful. Don’t know, but will be examining both. Yep.

    • AirTable is great for building simple database apps (think: managing records.) Trello is good for managing projects and tasks (Kanban, visualized processes.) There is, of course, some overlap as certain tasks can be supported by either tool.

    • I think Airtable is a great tool, but for most users, I would not recommend it for the kinds of use cases I’ve been showing in my Trello videos.

      The reason is this: if you want to follow the technique shown in this post using Trello, it will take you about 1 minute to get started, even if you’ve never used Trello before.

      If you want to do the same in Airtable, it will probably take you 30 minutes or more before you even have a Kanban board and a basic understanding of how to create data to operate the board in a similar way as I’ve shown here. Airtable is potentially more powerful than Trello, but it’s also far more complex.

  • Great video! It never occurred to me to use markdown inside checklists. So simple but opens many new possibilities.

  • I love your use of the camera in this demonstration. As a content creator, I often shy away from using the camera while demonstrating because I think it distracts from the demo. When I watch this, I see that you strategically placed the camera ina way that you are looking at us when we don’t need to look at the screen and then it is natural for me to look back at the screen when you do..thanks for the demo. I’m still using Notes from Google. If I upgrade to a bigger phone I might go with Trello.

    • Thank you, Brenda. It’s nice to know that you appreciate the nuances of our recording setup. :)

  • Great post, great creativity. I still lean toward mind mapping to do the same thing, so that’s another option too.

    • Thanks for your comment, Mark! Mind mapping never worked for me. But that’s just how it is: different approaches work for different people.

  • Shane you will fall in love EVEN MORE with a free account at workflowy – Trust me! all you get is a page, and you create bullet points, and you can drag any point under another one, slightly to the right, and it becomes a sub point. And you can drag a point to be a sub-sub point. Its all drag and drop so you quickly move things around. its amazing. you can create the structure of an entire 2k program youre creating just with it. try it and let us know!

    • Hello Oli,

      I used Workflowy years ago and tried it again recently to see if anything had changed about it. I think it’s a competent app, but it doesn’t have strong enough benefits for me to use it. The reason for this is that I have a ton of processes, projects, teams and so on in Trello. Workflowy might be slightly more useful for outlining large pieces of content, but that doesn’t beat having everything in one app, as I do in Trello.

      • I’m another workflowy apologist. Using trello as an outliner is definitely putting a square peg in a round hole, but I get the benefit of having everything live in one place.

        Workflowy is a solopreneur’s dream, but it’s no-good for teams.

  • Sande George says:

    Thanks for the outlin tutorial. Can you compile and export to a google or word doc?

  • John Naismith says:

    Thanks Shane. Already use Trello… love it. Haven’t thought of using it for this purpose… brilliant. BTW I learnt something else… often wanted to make something bold, now I know how.

  • Hi Shane,
    For writing content, I use, which is great. What I’m curious about is how do you work with multiple projects and a team in Trello. I’ve tried, but didn’t find the sweet spot. I then switched to Asana for more than 1 year, and now I’m using Freedcamp’s paid plan. Still looking for a good way to be on top of multiple projects and manage a team. This is the topic I would like to see more from content/advice from you. Thanks and keep up the good work!

      • Thanks, Shane. Looking forward to it!

  • I love your productivity posts like this and the one on bento box thinking. Please keep on posting such great gems of content!

    I used trello already for a while, but never noticed the drag&drop nor markup feature inside the cards. So I primarily use Evernote for my content checklists. No I will give trello another try.

    What tool do you use for task lists? Trello as well? I tried Asana which is great, but not for the use case you outlined here.

    Thanks again for sharing this with us.

    • Thank you!

      I use Trello for my task lists as well, yes. You can add a checklist inside any card and that’s a feature I use a lot, in Trello.

  • Karen McCamy says:

    Hi Shane,

    Interesting use for outlining content… I use checklists (& markup) in Trello, but have always “outlined” content in Word. With the Trello / Google Drive integration, I can attach the Word outlines to relevant cards…

    I’m wondering if you find Trello more *efficient* than document outlines, or just prefer having everything visually available in a single location/app?

    Love all of your productivity tutorials and tips! Please keep them coming, and (I think I’ve said this before someplace) would LOVE to see some specific recommendations for solopreneurs with no teams or collaboration requirements…


    • An important factor for me is that I use Bento Box Thinking and very minimal notes for my outlining. I make videos with bullet points only and I also use mostly short bullet points to outline a post before I start writing.

      Because of this, the checklists in Trello are all I need. They are certainly not the best tool for all types of outlining, planning or scripting, but for my method, which is minimal preparation and rapid turnaround, I don’t need any extra features.

      • Karen McCamy says:

        Thanks for clarifying, Shane! I guess I’m still used to extensive planning that comes with my background in academic writing! But I can also see where it trips me up with “too much information” in my outlining! I’ve actually started using Trello cards — 1 card for each post — and the checklist for planning my posts… thanks for the insight!

  • Another great video lesson Shane. Thanks.

    Where are you currently working from? I’d be interested in a post from you about working on the road and your favourite winter bolt-holes.


  • I love this approach. I’ve taken a similar approach to the thought process yet never thought of using trello

  • Karen+McCamy says:

    For anyone trying out Shane’s methods for outlining content in Trello (which I love, btw)… I frequently work “mobile” with my iPad(s) so this may not apply to everyone, but FYI… If you **are** working on iOS the markup doesn’t work… unfortunately! :-(

    Even if I add the markup (in this case [**] for bold text) on my laptop it doesn’t carry over to my Trello board when viewed on my iPad(s)…

    I still use it, but it’s a shortcoming of iOS, I’m guessing…

    If anyone knows definitively why this markup doesn’t work on iOS, I’d love to know! :-)

    • Hm, that’s odd. I didn’t know about this. I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to keep my life iOS free, so far. ;)

      • Karen+McCamy says:

        Hehe! I’m a “hybrid-monster” I guess! I love my iOS mobile devices (2 iPads & an iPhone) but I’m a PC person all the way on all of my computers! My niche is “techie” so it actually helps me understand the differences between the 2 platforms (iOS & Windows)…and they are *pretty significant* at times! iOS is definitely limited in certain functions, compared to desktop… Even Evernote is still somewhat limited on iOS…

      • Karen+McCamy says:

        I wanted to quickly update & clarify my comments about iOS limitations & Trello…

        The “markdown” works in Trello card descriptions on iOS but not in checklists or comments…

  • Great video Shane. I only came across this site when reading your bio to one of the blogs in ThriveThemes.
    ps. I love the videos done by yourself and Hannah. What software do you use? Maybe you could do a video on it too :)
    Cheers mate

    • Hi Razz,

      Thank you for your comment! For our videos, the main pieces of software we use are Camtasia Studio and Adobe Premiere.

  • Great stuff! More of this please Shane. By the way you just can’t out source stuff like this to your team its unique.

  • Hi shane, such a great tutorial for newbie for me. Please create more tutorial like this for multiple projects and manage a team. For now i’m using clickup to manage multiple task and project like trello.

  • thanks Shae, good stuff. I recently started with Thrive and am learing every day and today I start writing my first blog post for my target audience loved ones of addicted people.

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