You’ve used Trello for a while, and it has been getting the job done.
But lately, you open the platform and instantly cringe. Your kanban boards resemble a tangled, overgrown garden.
The kanban focus and system comprised of boards and cards can be incredibly valuable for a budding content marketing team. And Trello does offer options for larger and enterprise-level teams, so it has the potential to grow with you.
However, some teams find that it’s just not the right fit.
You may be a less visual-oriented bunch, desiring straightforward lists of to-dos. You might be very time-oriented and prefer to have a calendar spread out in front of you. Or perhaps you’re all about data, analytics and spreadsheets, and Trello doesn’t shine the spotlight on the right information to manage your day-to-day work.
Personally, I need a timeline in front of me—and I haven’t been satisfied with board customization. I’ve found that Trello can be quickly outgrown when working with teams as opposed to flying solo.
In any of these cases, there are Trello alternatives out there. They range from very similar tools to tools that take a totally different approach to content management.
Whatever your style, a SaaS company has designed a tool to meet your needs.
In this review, I’ll dive deep into four project management software products that are ideal for content teams, and I’ll help you decide which tool to choose depending on your needs.
4 Impressive Trello Alternatives to Scale Up Your Content Production
First things first, the tool that we developed for our own content marketing team. We have worked with hundreds of writers to produce thousands of blog posts, and in the process, we realized we needed a tool that was designed specifically for teams that produce large volumes of content.
Nothing else was meeting our specific needs, and we found our team members were scattered out across dozens of tools, from Asana to Slack and our email platform.
After we created CoSpot, our lives got a heck of a lot easier. It’s the perfect, all-in-one solution to team collaboration, content creation, task management and SEO. Our content managers, blog editors and writers have never been happier or more productive.
Now, we want to share our creation with you.
Overview of CoSpot’s Features
Organize Content by Keyword
Because its workflow was built for content writing teams that care about SEO and organic traffic, everything starts with keywords.
You can add keywords to your dashboard and set a priority for each one, then assign them to a writer or let your writers assign themselves the keywords they’re interested in covering.
Once a keyword is chosen, the user is prompted to create their Content entry.
You can add the pertinent data for the Content, including author, content type, title, word count and so on. That way, every time you revisit the Content entry, you’ll know everything about it.
Make Your Own Workflows
Each Content gets a Workflow. In CoSpot, Workflows are totally up to you. You can customize every single task in the Workflow and see a fresh Workflow attached to every Content entry. This way, you can standardize your writing, editing, publishing and promotion processes, and make sure every step is being completed in sequence.
You’ll get a good look at upcoming (and past) due dates and completed dates. To give you an example, for our purposes, we’ve got tasks like Outline, Provide Feedback and Approve Outline, Write Post, Final Edit and Publish set up for all our Content.
Because of this workflow, it’s easy to keep track of Content and team members—without the distraction of all the bells and whistles other tools give you. Big, busy calendars and boards really clutter your screen when you get to larger-volume content production.
In CoSpot, you’ll just have a nice, neat list of all the content that’s been produced, that’s in production and that’s planned for the future. Dates, tasks, authors and editors all clearly noted in an intuitive dashboard. What else do you really need?
Ah, the best part—WordPress is available right within the CoSpot tool.
As a writer myself, I must say this saves a load of time!
No need to switch between project management software to WordPress. Every line of text will be automatically added to a WordPress draft as you work. Publish blog posts with one click in CoSpot. And finally, stop worrying about setting up the right WordPress for every team member—nobody is going to accidentally click on anything anymore. CoSpot is designed for security.
Monday is a collaboration tool that gives a visual display of progress in a spreadsheet-like format. With drag-and-drop features and streamlined user interface that provides an at-a-glance view of your project boards, it’s been used by big names like Fiverr, Wix, Discovery Channel and DHL.
Overview of Monday’s Features
Set Up Your Projects with Boards
Similar to Trello, you’ll use boards to separate your projects in Monday.
When creating a new board, you’re given a bunch of options for templates—or you can create a board from scratch!
The following template categories are available:
- Content Production
- Project Management
- Sales & Customers
- Software Development
- Office Operations
- Real Estate
- Venture Capital
Each category has from two to 11 templates, giving you loads of options to get started. I’ve found this saves a lot of time when preparing new boards.
However, I should mention that all templates have the same features; they’re just organized differently. So if you pick a template that isn’t working for your project, you won’t have to start over with a new board.
Each board is separated into groups of tasks called “pulses.”
You can easily switch from board to board by clicking on its name on the left column of the app.
Organize Your Tasks with Groups
Groups contain lists of tasks. (Think of them like your Trello cards.) It’s a nice alternative layout compared to Trello because it’s more akin to a traditional to-do list or spreadsheet.
You can use groups to separate tasks depending on the nature of your board.
For example, the lead management template separates tasks into three groups: Active Leads, Won and Lost.
On the other hand, the content planning template can be used as a content calendar, which separates groups into This Month, Next Month and Upcoming & Idea Pool.
Essentially, it’s up to you to separate your tasks as you see fit.
Pulses: The Monday Task
This is the fancy name Monday gives to its tasks.
Each pulse is made up of columns. What’s great is that you can add as many columns as you like, making this system very similar to Excel (but much more streamlined).
You can create new pulses either by clicking “New” at the top left corner of your board or by typing in your pulse name at the bottom of any group.
Need to reorder your pulses? Just drag and drop them!
Customize Pulses with Columns
Columns make up the components of your pulses. All pulses within a group share the same set of columns.
You can add new columns by clicking the “+” button at the top right of your group. By default, your pulses will already have some columns, but this will depend on the template you choose.
You can choose from the following type of columns:
- Status: A text and color
- Person: An assigned person within your team
- Timeline: A beginning and ending date
- Date: A single date
After choosing the appropriate column, you can name it whatever you like and assign values for each pulse in the group. The same type of column can be used for different purposes.
For example, the Status type could be used as:
- Task status
There’s no limit to what you can use columns for, making groups and pulses customizable for any situation.
And of course, columns can be reordered via drag and drop, like everything else.
See Your Project at a Glance with Views
This is where Monday truly stands out to me.
Within your main Board window, you’ll have access to your groups of tasks at the bottom, but can add additional views at the top.
Whereas Trello only provides a kanban view, Monday lets you pick from:
- Chart (pie, line or bar)
It also has some options in “views” that aren’t really views at all, but that gives you additional functionalities:
- Broadcast: Gives you a live link to give access to your board to anyone
- Forms: Create question-and-answer forms based on your board
Both the timeline and calendar have drag-and-drop features to change the length of a task. When you make changes in these views, it changes the data in the groups as well.
So if you love Trello’s kanban view, but need something more robust like calendars and timelines, you’ll love this part of Monday.
Never Be Caught Off Guard during Your Week
This view is separate from your boards and gives you a view of your upcoming week in terms of workload.
You’ll see a quick reminder of how many tasks you have that week as well as an overview of each task below. If you click on a task, it will bring you to that board.
By default, Monday shows you the current week, but you can switch to future weeks as well.
You can select this view by clicking “My Week” at the top left of the app.
Similarly to Monday, Asana is a project collaboration and planning tool that offers more powerful features than Trello.
It’s widely used by big names like Google, Yelp, Airbnb and Spotify, and tends to be the default program businesses upgrade to when they outgrow Trello.
Overview of Asana’s Features
Separate Boards Into Projects
A project within Asana is where all of the files and tasks are stored, essentially making it like a board on Trello and Monday.
Group Your Tasks into Sections
Sections separate tasks into groups, which can be dragged and dropped within your project. You can add a new section by clicking the “Add Section” button at the top.
Asana’s Powerful Task System
Here’s the thing: I may find Asana clunky to use compared to Monday, but Asana’s task feature is much more powerful than Monday’s pulses.
It’s got a description, sub-tasks, attachments, dependencies and follow-up tasks. It’s kind of similar to Trello’s cards, but with more punch.
When you select a task by clicking on it in your sections, you’ll open up the task details to the right. You can see everything from the task history, description, dependencies and all its field values such as assignee, due date, priority and task progress.
To add any values, click on the icons at the top right corner of the task details. Most options are available in the icon represented by the three dots.
Customize Your Tasks with Fields
Fields are like Monday’s columns—components of your tasks. You can create a custom field by choosing from text, number or drop-down.
I’ll be honest here and say that Asana’s field creation pipeline is kind of tedious. You’ll need to navigate through several menus to create the custom field and add its description. That’s because the “Add Custom Fields” button available at the top of your project is both used to add a field to your tasks and to create a new custom field.
By default, your tasks will have the following fields:
Stay Organized with Views
So far, everything I’ve covered has been in a single view—the List view.
But Asana has six views to switch between all the information you need for project management:
The Timeline view is quite handy to get a quick overview of upcoming tasks. Plus, it shows all dependencies, giving you a more comprehensive understanding of what’s coming up.
I’ve found the Calendar view useful as well—each task has color-coded cubes that you can click on for an overview.
In the Conversations view, you can start threads and tag other members of your team. This is a nice touch, but I’m not convinced it would hold up as well as a dedicated chatting app like Slack.
The Progress view shows overdue tasks, incomplete tasks and completed tasks for the entire project as well as an overall due date. In my opinion, this view’s most useful feature is the ability to set a status update. Is the project on track, at risk or off track?
The Final view is for your files—a pretty standard window where all uploads end up.
Airtable is a cross between a spreadsheet and a database. Its flexible and entirely customizable features allow for several styles of project management.
Overview of Airtable’s Features
Your workflow in Airtable is divided by Workspaces.
What I love straight away is the ability to see what each workspace contains, unlike Trello. Instead of having to click on each workspace to access the boards inside, you get an excellent overview of all your workspaces—no need to switch in between!
You can add a new workspace by clicking the “Add a workspace” button at the bottom of the screen or at the top left under “Workspaces.”
Each workspace contains Bases, which is where your project management happens.
You can drag and drop existing bases to change their order or switch them to another workspace.
When you create a new base, you’ll be prompted to choose between starting a template, importing a spreadsheet and starting from scratch.
By starting from scratch, you can:
- Name your base
- Choose the color and icon of your base (Airtable has several icons to choose from)
- Start from an empty grid
Note that you can change these settings on existing bases as well by clicking the small white arrow at the bottom right corner of the base icon.
Once you open your base, it will look like an empty spreadsheet:
Of all the options so far, Airtable bears the closest resemblance to a spreadsheet. Each base can have several tables (like tabs in a spreadsheet software), and you can add rows and columns with different fields like dates, duration, ratings, URLs, attachments, etc. Plus, you can export your data to a CSV table.
At the top left corner, you can also change views to any of the following:
Here’s the thing: the kanban view alone replicates nearly all of Trello’s features.
You can drag and drop tasks, see the history for each task and add a new task in a row with an easy click on the + button.
And I love that you can customize the calendar view between months, two weeks, one week, three days or one day.
So what happens if we select a template instead of creating a base from scratch?
There are several templates to choose from. Additionally, Airtable has a community called Universe where you can access community-published templates, making your options virtually endless.
Unlike Monday and Asana, Airtable provides a significant difference between its premade templates.
And that’s all because of the power of blocks.
Blocks are a unique feature that adds extra functionalities to your bases.
They range from simple tools like color palettes to integrations with third-party software like Google Hangouts. Even advanced features like a 3D space to display 3D models within your base.
Not only do Airtable’s templates come ready with specific rows and column sections prepared for you, but they also contain blocks that are relevant to the template you’ve chosen.
And that’s not all! You can also separate your blocks into Dashboards, leaving you with infinite space to add and organize all the blocks you’ll need.
For example, you could have a dashboard for all your third-party integrations, another for charts and graphs and a last for attachments.
You can open and collapse your block dashboards by clicking the “Blocks” button at the top left corner of the dashboard section.
So Which Trello Alternative Is Better?
Now that I’ve gone over these tools, the question remains—which one is a better alternative to Trello?
There’s no simple answer to this question. It really depends on the types of project you want to manage. However, it’s wise to at least take them all for a spin and sign up for a free trial.
In terms of sheer functionality, Airtable wins because of its block system. But honestly, I’ve found Monday to be much more streamlined and simple to use than Asana and Airtable. I love that you can customize the views available on your board and easily create new custom columns.
Plus, if you enjoy the kanban view in Trello, it’s easy to implement in Monday.
Airtable also has an easy to use kanban view as well, but I’ll be honest—Airtable is so packed with features that it can quickly become overwhelming. Because of its similarity to spreadsheets, it can become just as difficult to understand at a glance.
Additionally, if your project requires the management of subtasks and inter-dependencies, Asana is the no-brainer answer, since it’s the only option with inter-dependencies available. It’s also quite convenient to be able to synchronize Asana to over 100 other tools.
However, for content marketing teams, a tool like CoSpot can really streamline your project management process, since it was made specifically for content teams. No extra fluff to distract you!
Charlene Boutin is a freelance B2B writer for hire specialized in creating compelling case studies and blog posts for digital marketing and SaaS businesses. When not writing, she can be found prototyping weird games in Unity or playing on her Nintendo Switch.