Somebody get me an Asana mug, because I’m going through a phase.
For those who don’t know, Asana is an online project management tool. The free version (which I use for most of my work & blog projects) has great features for tracking tasks, deadlines and assignees.
After using it for almost a year, I’m a big fan. I’ve used Asana to organize tech implementations, my content calendar, user requests and marketing projects. So this sneak peek is a little overdue!
p.s. This post comes with a video! If you’d prefer the video, you can watch it here.
1. Before you get into Asana – identify what it takes to get an email out the door
This is the most important thing on the list. (But don’t stop reading! It gets better. )
What are all the pieces that make up an email campaign? List them. Include the teams responsible and estimates for how long each item takes. Check out my Google Doc notes as an example.
It may seem trivial. But tools like Asana can’t work miracles. The only way they work is if you (and your org) know what’s up.
2. Start by entering your email content as Asana Tasks
Create an Asana project and add your emails as Tasks.
In this screenshot, I have the email calendar for my 2020 end-of-year season. My Asana “due dates” are the target send dates for my emails.
3. Enter each item from Step 1 as a subtask
Subtasks are a nice way to group all those required steps. Enter each item as a subtask to your “email” tasks.
Below, you can see all those deliverables as subtasks under my Giving Tuesday email. I’ve also tagged each task based on the team responsible, and preemptively assigned myself to the list task. Because #databaseadmins.
4. Add each subtask back to your project
Here’s a pro-tip. If you’re familiar with Asana, then you know that subtasks have a few caveats. They aren’t exactly visible in the calendar view, nor when you filter /sort.
That’s because when you add a subtask to a task, it technically isn’t linked to the project. But we can work around that! I typically create project sections that describe my subtasks, and then assign those subtasks back to my project.
See what I mean below. The list building subtask for my Giving Tuesday email now also lives in the “List Tasks” section of my project.(You can see how I did this starting at 11:30 of my video.)
5. Assign due dates and attach assignees
Try to assign due dates to every subtask, so that they appear in your calendar view. (Even if you’re not sure about a date, it’s simple enough to adjust later on.)
Assign staff where you can, too. For those who use Asana, the Task will appear in their personal homepage when they log in for the day. Super nifty if your org hopes to use Asana for multiple different projects!
6. Use Tags to label Tasks
Now, what if your staff doesn’t use Asana? That’s okay! I use Tags to mark which items belong to teams who are not in Asana. That way, I can still keep track of the items I’m waiting on.
Another great option for tags? Use them to indicate the status of different items (in progress, pending, etc…). A single Task can have multiple tags, so the Asana world is your oyster.
7. Leverage all the different views
The thing I like most about Asana is the flexibility. There are multiple view options that can cater to different colleagues’ preferences.
As you might’ve guessed, the “List” view is my favorite for organizing projects. But I have some Asana projects where the Board view is actually easier (i.e for my team to keep track of staff requests).
And on the days when I need to quickly see when things are due, there’s the calendar view. Definitely my second favorite Asana view, and my primary view for my blog content calendar!
If you’d like to see this project plan from start to finish, check out the full 15 minute video on my Youtube channel. You’ll get a good feel for what it’s like to work in Asana.
And if you choose not to use Asana? That’s cool too! Remember what I said earlier: Asana is a tool. The key part is understanding all the steps to organize an email campaign.