Welcome to the Notion for Blogging series! Are you struggling to manage a million blogging tasks? Is your content plan scattered across multiple apps, tools, and notebooks? Feeling frustrated that you can’t keep everything in one place?
If you answered yes to any of those, I’m right there with you! I know the struggle all too well. A few months ago, I discovered the ultimate project management solution for my needs: the Notion app. I wanted to share this lifesaver with other bloggers facing similar challenges. So I created the Notion for Blogging series with you in mind.
- 1 What is Notion and why do you need it for blogging?
- 2 What you can expect from the Notion for Blogging series
- 3 How to use Notion for blogging
- 4 Pros and cons of using Notion for blogging
- 4.1 Pros of using Notion for blogging
- 4.2 All-in-one tool
- 4.3 Block styling
- 4.4 Embedded content
- 4.5 Cons of using Notion for blogging
- 4.6 Not always the best option for formatting
- 4.7 No ability to connect with apps at the time of writing
- 4.8 Limited text formatting options
- 4.9 Non-collapsible properties
- 4.10 Notifications don’t always show up on mobile (personal experience)
- 5 Subscribe to the blog to stay updated with the Notion for Blogging series!
What is Notion and why do you need it for blogging?
Notion is an all-in-one workspace that combines the functionality of spreadsheets, word processors, task management apps, and more.
Notion’s tagline reads, “One tool for your whole team. Write, plan, and get organized.”
Customize every element of your workflow with Notion. View posts and tasks in table, calendar, and board views. Use filters and sorting to customize and organize your content planning. Take notes in a clean, minimalist app, then rearrange them with drag-and-drop block styling.
This truly only scratches the surface of how you can use Notion not just for blogging, but also other areas of your life.
The best part? The free version for personal use is packed with more features than I’ve ever seen in a project management app. (And trust me, I’ve tried just about every tool out there.)
What you can expect from the Notion for Blogging series
I’ll share insights on my Notion setup as well as video tutorials and templates to make YOUR setup a cinch! Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post.
You have two options. You can watch the video tutorials in each post to create your own custom setup. OR, you can sign up to receive access to template packs with everything created for you. I’ll release a new template each week, so be on the lookout!
By the end of the Notion for Blogging series, your setup will include the following pages:
- Content repository
- Blogging dashboard
- Vision and mission
- Reader personas
- Monetization ideas
- Brand kit
- Backlink outreach tracker
- Robust content creation hub
- Database for organizing content offers
- How to use Notion to plan social media content
Let’s discuss each page in brief detail. Stay tuned for more detailed posts on each of the above pages. Bookmark or Pin this post — I’ll link each page as it’s published!
How to use Notion for blogging
Your content repository is your digital library. Articles, blogs, email newsletters, courses — save whatever you want to explore later.
Notion is the perfect tool for creating a content repository. It provides control on a granular level.
Here are a few quick tips for using Notion to organize your repository:
- Add relevant properties. A few of mine include URL, Industry, Medium, and Status.
- Set reminders. It’s easy to stow away an article or course, never to be seen again. Set a reminder to read it or complete it.
- Customize views. By content type, status, and whatever else suits your needs.
- Take notes on the page. Jot down or copy and paste key ideas to keep everything in one place.
- Embed the content on the page for easy reading. No more tab switching!
Notion doubles as a task management system. By setting notifications and adding a checklist property, it’ll be easier to remember that blog post you saved last week. (And remind yourself to read it!)
Tip: Use the Save to Notion browser extension to instantly save articles to your repository.
Your dashboard is where everything lives. This is only a snapshot of my dashboard — I’ve also embedded a master calendar view of my content creation hub. Which handily leads me to my next point!
Content creation hub
With so many tools out there, planning and creating content can be overwhelming. Canva, Hootsuite, WordPress, Google Calendar, Google Analytics. You probably use all these plus a million more to create, schedule, publish, and promote content.
Notion lets you see and plan all your content in one place. And I do mean all of it. Articles. Instagram posts. Pins. Ad campaigns. Backlink opportunities. If you can dream it, you can do it in Notion.
Your content creation hub in Notion is where all your content planning will live. Rough ideas, blog posts, content offers, social media posts — you name it.
Will you still need those scheduling tools to actually publish your content? Yes. But planning everything in the same place is a great way to use Notion for blogging.
Here are a few ways you can create a robust content hub in Notion:
- Add whatever properties you need. These might include SEO keywords, publish date, status, etc.
- Set reminders. This helps you stay on track with publishing.
- See all of your content in a single calendar at a glance. Need I say more?
- Use filters to segment views based on your preferences. Create separate views for individual content offers, social media posts by platform, etc.
- Embed your content creation hub elsewhere in Notion. Linked databases let you see your hub in other places. I’ve embedded my hub right on my dashboard in a master calendar view.
Content offers are the bread and butter for bloggers. You don’t need me to tell you that writing an ebook or planning a course takes a lot of work.
Use your content offer database to plan every component of your offer. Hash out deliverables, goals, rough ideas, tentative publish dates, and more within each page.
A few tips for using Notion to organize content offers:
- Relate your content offer database to your content creation hub. This lets you link individual blog and social media posts to your offer.
- See campaign dates at a glance. Set an end date to see the full duration of the offer.
- Add a property for deliverables. Use the multi-select property to add in deliverables like printables, ebooks, video tutorials, etc.
- Sort your content offers however you like. I’ve sorted mine by publish date ascending. You might like to sort yours by status, platform, etc.
Keep a wiki for note-taking
This is one of my favorite ways to use Notion for blogging. As bloggers, we’re constantly learning and relearning. We’ve got to stay updated on algorithm changes, best post times, and other content marketing principles.
That’s where Notion’s functionality as a wiki comes in. I love Notion as a note-taking app because it’s minimalist and clean. Perfect for a visual learner like me!
Here’s a sneak peek at how I use Notion for blogging and note-taking. These are my notes on the Instagram algorithm from the Hootsuite blog:
Create an editorial task management database
Okay, so you’ve got your content repository, creation hub, and database of content offers. Now how on earth do you use all that to get shit done?
Simple: create a separate task database.
Bloggers juggle tons of small, pesky tasks. Email so-and-so about that guest blogging opportunity. Create this ad campaign. Audit that post.
These small editorial tasks add up quickly. And it’s easy to forget about them.
Here’s a sneak peek of my task list. I’ve just added it as an inline table to my dashboard instead of creating a separate page.
You might like to keep your tasks within your content creation hub. Personally, that’s a little messy for me. But the beauty of Notion is that you can customize your workflow in the ways that work best for you.
Use your task management database to break down big tasks into individual chunks. Set due dates and notifications to stay on track.
Tip: If you work with a virtual assistant like I do (shout-out to Emily!), invite them to your blogging dashboard and assign them tasks easily.
Outline and draft posts
I outlined and drafted this post in Notion. Because I’ve set up a robust content creation hub (see above), all the info I needed was right at my fingertips. Deliverables, promotion plans, accompanying social media posts — I knew exactly what I needed to do. (Without having to switch between 50 tabs and apps.)
I’ve set up a blog post template. Every time I create a new post from the templates, all my post-specific tasks populate automatically. These include creating featured images, doing keyword research, writing social media posts, and more.
Some might like to add these tasks to their editorial task database. I prefer to keep them right in the draft.
Notion’s block style copies more or less flawlessly into WordPress, which is why I prefer it to Google Docs. I say “more or less” because Notion isn’t perfect. But we’ll cover the pros and cons of using Notion for blogging in just a second.
Pros and cons of using Notion for blogging
As much as I love Notion, I want you to be fully aware of the program’s functionalities and limitations. I’ve never been one to promote things for the sake of promoting.
Pros of using Notion for blogging
Here’s a quick list of the pros. We’ll break each one down into more detail.
- Fully customizable
- Drag-and-drop block styling
- Embedded content
- Set due dates and reminders
With all the blogging tools out there for writers, workflows can get scattered fast. Stuff gets lost. You spend too long hunting down a document or searching for that list of social media post ideas.
Notion minimizes this by combining the functionality of spreadsheets, word processing, and task management apps.
Notion replaced these 4 apps for me:
- Meistertask — task management
- OneNote — note-taking
- Google Docs (to an extent) — drafting blog posts
- Google Sheets — tracking word counts and planning social media content
I still use Google Docs for work, so I can’t say I’ve totally parted ways with it. Notice one big app isn’t on here: Google Calendar. We’ll discuss why in a minute.
Notion uses drag-and-drop block styling and headings, just like WordPress. That means you can draft your posts in Notion so you’re close to all the accompanying content you need. All you need to do is scroll to the top of the page to see accompanying properties like SEO keywords, due dates, and more.
Notion allows you to embed certain webpages and documents right into the page. Tweets, PDFs, Google Docs, Google Sheets — they all work. Which means if you have an SEO keyword tracker or framework already built out in Google Drive, you can embed it right into Notion.
Although you can’t edit any of the documents, at least you can see them right in the page. No more tab switching!
The full list of embedded content capabilities extends far beyond my needs. Here are some embeds that other bloggers might find useful:
- Figma: Vector graphics editor
- Abstract: Web and graphic design
- Invision: Digital project design
- Whimsical: Visual planning (mind maps, flowcharts, etc.)
Cons of using Notion for blogging
Just like we did with the pros, we’ll summarize the cons and then discuss each in more detail.
- Not always the best option for formatting
- No ability to connect with other apps at the time of writing
- Limited text formatting options
- Non-collapsible properties
- Notifications don’t always show up on mobile (personal experience)
Not always the best option for formatting
One of the few qualms I have with Notion is its inability to center text. It’s not a dealbreaker, but I’m a big fan of center align, especially for images. Some Notion wizards have figured out a workaround for this using complex formulas. But I ain’t about that math life. So I’m happy enough to deal with it and center in WordPress.
No ability to connect with apps at the time of writing
Notion doesn’t yet have API, or the ability to connect and sync with other apps. That’s why I said earlier that I haven’t parted ways with Google Calendar yet.
I say “at the time of writing” because the developers said the API would come out in Q3 of 2020. It’s still not out. And it’s something they’ve been promising for over a year now, if I’m not mistaken. This is the biggest pet peeve among many Notion users. Join any Notion forum and you’ll find folks complaining about it.
It’s not a dealbreaker for me. The current version of the app is robust enough for my needs. But a Google Calendar integration would be super handy for blogging and work.
Limited text formatting options
Notion doesn’t have a color picker for text and highlights — it comes with limited color presets.
I’m a big fan of bright colors, and I find that some of the built-in colors aren’t bright enough for my liking. Again, not a dealbreaker, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Fortunately, there is a solution for this if you’re using the Notion app for windows. Independent developer dragonwocky has created Notion Enhancer, an unofficial customizer that provides more customization control. I use Notion Enhancer and absolutely love it. But I do think better text formatting should be part of the native app.
This one bugs me. I like to keep things nice and clean. If you have a lot of properties, they push down the page content.
The native app doesn’t include this feature yet, but Notion Enhancer does. I highly recommend installing Notion Enhancer if you’re planning to use Notion regularly.
Notifications don’t always show up on mobile (personal experience)
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. My Notion notifications don’t always show up on mobile. However, this could be a problem with my phone — Notion isn’t the only app that doesn’t always notify me. So take this con with a grain of salt.
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