Sticky notes engulf your computer monitor.
You have 15 browser tabs open at once as you attempt to stay on track.
If your content marketing workflow is scattered across your desk like some kind of corporate horror scene, then you may want to consider implementing Kanban tools.
A Brief History: Where Kanban Tools Originated
Translated from Japanese, the word Kanban means “visual signal,” and was implemented by Toyota in the 1940s by the industrial engineer Taiichi Ohno. In it’s most basic form, the manufacturer would have visual, physical cards labeled something like “requested,” “in progress” and “done.”
Applying this method, the automotive industry was able to prevent wasteful activities and to focus on demand-driven “just in time” production. Instead of focusing on production quotas, they instead focused on producing on immediate demand.
Later on, during the rise of technology, Kanban tools began to be applied in other emerging industries such as software development. And eventually, in 2004, David J. Anderson became the first to apply the Kanban method outside of manufacturing for industries surrounding IT, software development and knowledge workflow.
Which leads us to today, as content marketers and their entire teams use many different styles of Kanban software tools for productivity.
Who Can Benefit from Using Kanban Tools?
It’s difficult to imagine how the Kanban method could improve your content marketing workflow. So let’s break down the teams and individuals who could benefit the most from implementing Kanban tools into their workflow:
- Small to large businesses that have heavy collaborative content marketing management needs
- Entrepreneurs starting, growing, and running their business
- Individuals wanting to tackle projects or organize their ideas in their personal life
For the purpose of this article, however, we’ll focus more on how business professionals and entrepreneurs can utilize Kanban tools to improve and optimize their content marketing workflow.
To give the most concise and clear comparison, we’ll examine each application’s product overview, key features, key differentiators and pricing packages.
So get comfortable as we dive into some of the best Kanban tools on the market and what each of them can do to enhance your business!
7 Kanban Tools to Save Your Content Marketing Workflow from Clutter Chaos
Trello is arguably one of the most popular choices when it comes to software programs used for content marketing. It functions as an effective Kanban tool, providing options for a simple clean layout and a more personalized view of each board with easy click-and-drag functions.
Trello Product Overview
Above is my “Board” in Trello, where I keep track of the clients I write for. Each board can include an unlimited number of team members for streamlined communication and collaboration.
From there, you have “Lists” (like my “Drafts” column) and “Cards” (like the one that reads “CoSpot: Kanban Tools Post”). In each card, you will find the following:
- File attachments
- Customized checklists
- Due dates
Trello’s Key Features
Trello has a few distinct key features to assist many users.
With real-time updates, users immediately see changes made by other team members; no need to refresh your browser.
Within the dashboard, users can create specific teams, then add project boards within that team. (With the free version, you are allowed up to 10 boards.)
Make locating your cards a breeze with the ability to search, filter and add custom labels.
Trello also features plenty of integrations by what they call a “Power-Up.” With the free Trello version, users receive one per board. (The most popular is the calendar power-up feature.)
You also have full control over who sees which boards with Private, Team and Public settings.
Trello’s Differentiators & Pricing
The main differentiators of Trello revolve around the package level you choose. While Trello’s Free version allows for unlimited creation of customized project boards, if you need more—you’ll have to upgrade!
Beyond the free version features discussed above, here is a breakdown of the main differences between the Trello Gold and Trello Business Class upgrades:
Trello Gold — only $5/mo (or 12 months free when you share Trello with friends!) and includes the following:
- Unlimited boards and members for large teams
- Mobile apps for iOS and Android
- Three Power-Ups per board
- Custom backgrounds, premium stickers and emojis
- 200MB for uploading photos and even videos
- Saved searches for easy access
You can see the side by side comparison between Trello and Trello Gold here:
Trello Business Class — $10/mo and includes all Trello Gold features, plus the following:
- Unlimited Power-ups — to customize your use of Trello to make it a living project board optimized to your business and team needs
- Collections — a way to organize boards by specific and customizable categories such as “marketing” or “promoted content”
- Administrative Controls — control board visibility, access, and creation to ensure company information is kept private as needed. Remove team member access (if someone leaves your team) without losing their content within the project board
Trello boards truly function as a Kanban tool and the free version includes full functionality on a team collaboration level. The paid versions Gold and Business Class are for larger content marketing teams and agencies that would need more power-ups and stronger administrative controls.
Overall, Trello offers many features that can enhance your project management and communications on a team level.
Kanban Tool doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to easy user experience. Kanban Tool offers a clean and basic visual layout and doesn’t focus heavily on personalization.
Kanban Tool Product Overview
What struck me first about Kanban Tool is its simple and clean layout. This platform boasts a no-fuss visualization of all ongoing project boards for your content marketing demands.
It offers customizable board templates:
- Product development
- Sales pipeline
- Online marketing
As well as customizable cards with:
- Due dates
Additionally, users enjoy the platform’s “swim lanes,” which offers a horizontal row view.
And the handy Work in progress (WIP) limits prevent users and teams from getting overloaded with tasks or projects.
Kanban Tool’s Key Features
With Kanban Tool, users and teams work with Real-time collaboration and also receive notifications when changes are made to cards or projects.
Collapsible one-click columns and swim lanes allow users to focus on specific areas of project boards dedicated to your content marketing stages.
Kanban Tool’s Differentiators
One of the biggest perks Kanban Tool offers is Time Tracking. You can track how much time is spent on certain tasks and projects, as well as review an individual team members’ performance.
Kanban Tools also offers Insightful Analytics, allowing users to analyze workflow and avoid bottlenecks throughout content marketing stages.
Another unique feature is Kanban Tool On-Site, where the platform self-hosts the application securely for non-cloud stored data.
Kanban Tool’s Pricing Options
Kanban Tool embodies its name and delivers the necessary features and functions you may want or need for your business’s project management without any added fluff. Available is a free version that only allows for two boards and two users (no file attachments), which, of course, is meant to encourage users to upgrade to either:
- Enterprise — with time tracking and reporting, process automation and unlimited boards and file attachments
- Team — unlimited boards and file attachments
MeisterTask is a highly-engaging visual experience that still delivers as a Kanban tool. Customization options increase with the paid versions of this platform, but the free version certainly doesn’t skimp either.
MeisterTask Product Overview
MeisterTask offers many features within its platform.
For starters, it has a nice user-friendly interface and is optimized for the highly visual user with bright colors, icons and images.
It also offers customizable cards that can add:
- Tasks for team members
- Due dates
MeisterTask’s Key Features
MasterTask has many key standard features that make using the platform an enjoyable experience.
For the platform’s Pro and Business packages, you can have custom backgrounds that allow users to personalize project boards into the desired stages of your content marketing workflow. Also in Pro and Business are project groups to avoid confusion on where team members should be operating.
Lastly, there are unlimited automations, which are perfect for those repetitive tasks you need to be executed, such as:
- Assign the task
- Change the status
- Move the task
- Send an email
- Set or remove due date
- Add or remove tags
- Start or stop time tracking
MeisterTask has extensive integrations for both Pro and Business packages.
Additionally, MeisterTask’s companion application, MindMeister, offers a mind mapping program that includes brainstorming, planning, note-taking and meeting management functions. MeisterTask alone is a powerful tool for your project management, but if you and your team are looking to dream, build and collaborate from the ground up then MindMeister might be a great option to combine with your Kanban tool.
MeisterTask Pricing Options
The Free version includes unlimited project boards and users, customizable dashboards and content marketing boards, file attachments, limited integrations and mobile app access.
AirTable takes the Kanban layout to the next level with various different layouts if the “card look” just isn’t doing it for you. A visual layout can be a big distractor for many people and AirTable has a unique approach to customizing how you view your content marketing projects.
AirTable Product Overview
AirTable offers functional tools such as:
- Project boards
- Customizable cards
Also, users can select from desired visual layouts such as:
AirTable’s Key Features
AirTable has some interesting key features. You can filter projects by priority or status, which gives a customized and focused view of ongoing content marketing projects.
You also have an at-a-glance overview of projects with a Calendar view including a sidebar list.
Users and teams can also determine grouping fields when creating a new board and display the relevant information in the desired format.
AirTable offers unique field types for personal projects outside the standard Kanban tools as well as numerous integrations.
In particular, there’s the AirTable Universe, where AirTable users can choose from collectively shared templates of other users.
Users can also link related content to avoid duplicate entries.
AirTable also has Blocks, a dynamic set of tools and functions that take collaborative designs to another level. Visualize and format with:
- Interactive maps
- Multiple styles of charts/graphs
- Page designers
- Mass SMS texts
- Time tracking
- World clocks
AirTable Pricing Options
What’s nice about AirTable’s pricing is that it has a Free version allows for 2GB of data storage per two weeks.
However, should you find that’s not enough, here’s a quick glimpse of what’s available:
AirTable is not the most traditional style of a Kanban tool. But it caters to certain users who don’t need a highly professionalized platform. However, the additional tools and features make for a more visual and interactive platform than most.
Simplicity and chat communications are the main events when using HeySpace as your Kanban tool of choice. It doesn’t have flashy integrations, however, they are working to improve features using their roadmap or suggestion box.
HeySpace Product Overview
Because HeySpace’s platform is heavily centered around communications and features unlimited “Spaces” (or groups) that utilizes features such as:
- Due dates
- Tagging team members
- 1-1 chats
- … and more
Additionally, HeySpace has a Free Task Manager that includes:
- Up to 10 members
- Basic task management
- 5 MB and storage of up to 10 GB
HeySpace’s Key Features
HeySpace has the ability to create multiple workspaces for separate teams, projects or even companies–perfect for content teams who work with numerous clients.
Within these workspaces, users like myself can view full-screen chat with teams or view full-screen boards of their ongoing projects.
To keep an entire team on the same page and a project on time, HeySpace has progress indicators that notify everyone. For each project, they indicate the percentage complete until marked “Done.”
Also, HeySpace offers the capability to Taskify another team member. You can simply create a card/task out of someone’s message. This combines two much-loved features of Slack and Trello.
HeySpace’s pricing is straightforward. There’s Free, which we discussed above, and Premium, which adds the following benefits:
- Enhanced task management
- 100 MB uploads
- Unlimited file storage
- Dedicated support
While HeySpace lacks all the bells and whistles other Kanban tools boast of, this application is simple and straightforward with a heavy emphasis on the importance of communications between teams and individuals working towards a common goal.
Breeze has optimized its Kanban tool and designed it simply and effectively enough to cater to a wider user base. The layouts are simple and not overly focused on the visual “wow” factor. The features are where Breeze truly shines.
Breeze Product Overview
While Breeze does offer a free 14-day trial, you would be required to purchase one of their paid package options:
Breeze doesn’t exactly break down what each package entails. However, here are the standard features and functions included in each:
Breeze’s Key Features
With Breeze, users have a choice of board view or list view to provide the best perspective to track ongoing content marketing projects.
Also, it has a detailed yet simplified card layout and built-in calendar view. (No integration is needed, but you can integrate with any other calendar software you prefer.)
Breeze allows unlimited free client users to be added to any project made public, which allows clients to see what’s going on behind the scenes.
Also, it has a Recent Activity view that allows you to track actions taken by other team members within the platform.
It also has At-a-Glance viewpoints to see an overview of your team’s workload, daily agenda and a project’s status.
With Breeze’s simplistic layout you can truly appreciate the optimized features this platform has to offer without the unnecessary visual distractions.
Monday offers a Kanban approach to using their software but it offers so much more within the platform making it much more versatile than others.
When first setting up Monday, you have the option to select a specific template to optimize your features and layout. These options are ideal since Monday does not offer a free version, which means you truly get what you pay for when selecting a preferred template.
Let’s break it down further.
Monday Product Overview
With Monday, you can choose from various templates to set up the ideal functions and layouts such as:
- Sprints — manage your agile process
- Recruitment tracking — similar to ATS (applicant tracking system)
- Team project template — Kanban tool and functions
- Production orders — manage your business’s orders through the entire production process
Take advantage of Monday’s Team Project Tracking, a viewpoint for big picture goals that shows the status of any given project. This will give you a macro view that doesn’t break down the individual tasks.
Weekly Task Boards also help break down tasks for the current week, next week, completed and backlogged tasks. Project tags connect the weekly tasks to the Project tracking page.
Another handy feature is the Individual Task Boards, which allow users to focus solely on individual tasks without the congested collaboration features included on the board.
Monday’s Key Features
Speaking of handy features, Monday is known for a few key features.
This platform offers a “Search Everything” tool, which allows users to search specific items across multiple formats. This little tool ensures you don’t miss anything! A few standout examples to use in this search tool are:
- Tags without a reply/response
- Assigned tasks
- Archived boards
Additionally, Monday’s Timeline View provides a streamlined glance of all ongoing projects. This helps users determine where bottlenecks might occur and offers an easy click and drag to adjust dates and timelines as needed.
Monday is a truly versatile tool. Its platform goes the extra mile to help users set up their ideal template to achieve their individual goals.
- Content Calendars
- Roadmap Management
- Sales Pipeline
- Agile Sprints and more!
Pricing for this Kanban tool is broken down by the number of users, ranging from 5-200+ and then into specific packages of either Basic, Standard, Pro, or Enterprise. The prices shown below are for five users.
CoSpot offers specifically tailored tool to keep content marketers and contributors on track. This way, users can focus on delivering high-quality content every time.
While it’s not a true Kanban tool, it is Kanban-oriented in the sense that you can see and track the number of in-progress tasks easily. So let’s take a look at what this tool can offer teams who are looking for a similar Kanban method experience.
CoSpot Product Overview
The CoSpot platform offers a customizable content pipeline so you’re able to visualize each stage of your content. This also helps each individual writer and editor keep track of “In-progress” tasks.
CoSpot’s Key Features
CoSpot offers the ability to designate specific keywords for your contributors to choose from.
It also sets clear writing and style guidelines for your specific content needs.
Which Kanban Tool Is the Best?
Selecting the right Kanban tool will depend on many factors such as:
- Size of your company — do you need high-level admin capabilities and streamlined communication?
- Business structure — what kind of product or service does your company provide?
- Personal Preferences — are you a visual processor or do all of the colors and features distract from the task at hand?
While many of the listed options have overlapping features and functionality, there are certainly enough significant differentiators that could be the deciding factor as to what tool will be best for you.
Hopefully, this in-depth look into seven Kanban tools has given you a better idea of what options you and your business have to optimize all of your content marketing needs.
Lindsey Horton is a Professional Freelance Writer for hire. She specializes in B2B writing such as case studies, white papers, and articles. She helps businesses express vital information concisely and engagingly to their audience.