Do you track your blog post and article pitches and their status? Do you wish you could? Do you use GMail? If you answered “yes” to the previous questions, I have your solution! Streak CRM for GMail. CRM, short for Customer Relationship Management, is a system to track sales deals/customers. But, Streak CRM is more than a one sales trick pony. Streak can track so much more, right inside GMail.
I’d found Streak while looking for a easy to use, mostly free CRM, for my business. It’s been very helpful to helping me understand where work/deals might be stuck and what’s worked.
How I Discovered Streak CRM for Blog & Article Pitches
I was updating my sales CRM pipeline in Streak the other night. Since I’ve been spending a little more time on this blog lately writing and submitting posts to various sites, it got me thinking. “Could I use Streak CRM to track my blog/article pitches? And, how would it help me?”
A Little on How Streak CRM Works
Streak CRM works on a concept called the pipeline. The pipeline is a process and each process in a pipeline has stages. Stages are the logical steps in the process from beginning to end. In the default view in Streak, the pipeline stages progress from left to right across the screen.
For example, in a Blog or, Article pitching process you may start with a blog post idea, then draft the post and edit it. After that’s done you might submit it to a site or, several sites. If it gets accepted, there may be another round of edits from the site editor before it is finally published.
Stories or, blog posts are assigned to a box. The box contains the status of the story or, the blog post and any associated emails.
The Journalism Pipeline in Streak CRM
To find out what was in the Journalism pipeline, I clicked NEW next to Pipelines menu in GMail.
The Make a New Pipeline window displayed.
I scrolled through the options and found the Journalism pipeline. The description “Track stories being written and in progress” looked like a good candidate.
I clicked on Journalism and then, clicked Done. The default Journalism pipeline displayed.
Interesting. There were definitely some things I could use. Other things I would have to change or, add. For example: What if a post or, article pitch is rejected? or, an Editor wants more edits? Not a big deal. Streak can handle it.
Customizing the Journalism Pipeline in Streak for Blog & Article Pitching
This is what I set up my writing pipeline to look like. And the great thing about Streak is you can set up a pipeline however you want.
Changing the Pipeline Name
The first thing I did was change the Pipeline name from Journalism to Writing. To do that just click on the name and edit it.
Next, I changed up the stages and added some of my own. The stages in my Writing pipeline include (yours may vary):
Use what you know about the process to create a pipeline that represents it. And, don’t worry if you have to add or, rearrange stages in the pipeline. Streak handles that without any problems.
Once you’ve decided on the stages you want in your pipeline you’ll probably want to know how to add a stage to the pipeline, remove a stage or, re-order stages of the pipeline. Each is covered below.
Adding a Stage to a Streak Pipeline
Go to the end of the pipeline and click on the “+”. The cursor changes to a pointer. Click on it and an empty field opens. Name the stage and you are done.
Removing a Stage in a Streak Pipeline
Hover over the stage you want to remove and a gear icon will display, click on it and a menu will display. Click delete stage. The stage is deleted.
Changing the Order of Stages in a Pipeline
Simply go to the pipeline and drag the stage in the colored bar. A hand icon will appear allowing you to drag the stage. Drop it in the new spot and you’re done.
Changing Columns in Pipeline Stages in Streak CRM
After setting up the stages, I moved on to changing the columns a bit. The columns I wound up with are:
- Assigned To (automatically assigned to you, can be delegated)
- Date Created (Smart Column which means it’s data entry is automated)
- URL (once your blog is published, I thought it might be nice to have a place to drop the link)
Congratulations, now your Pipeline is setup for writing and pitching. Now that your Pipeline is setup, let’s add your first blog post / article idea to pitch to your CRM.
Adding New Blog Posts or, Articles to Streak CRM
To add a new blogpost idea to your CRM follow these steps.
Click New Box. Then, type in the name of your blogpost.
Adding Emails to Your Your Blogpost or Article Box
This is one of the really powerful things about Streak. From within GMail you can assign emails to a box. Then, the emails about a blogpost or, article pitch are associated with the blogpost in your CRM. I love this part of Streak!
To add an email thread to a Box in Streak:
- Head over to your GMail inbox.
- Next to the email you want to add, you should see a new icon to the right of GMail’s star icon. This is the Streak icon. Click on the Streak icon, a context menu displays. In this case, the box I want to add the emails to is under the Suggested Names For Box.
- Click on the name for the box you want to assign the email.
Tip: If your Box or, Pipeline doesn’t show up, try refreshing your browser. That usually fixes the issue.
Next, you want to assign the email to a Pipeline. Click on the Pipeline you want to add to the new box. In this case, we’re using the Journalism demo.
A Journalism label is added to the email in GMail. Now the email is associated with the Journalism Pipeline.
Now that the email is associated with the Streak pipeline and box, let’s check it out in Streak.
Viewing the Pipeline and Box in Streak
Head over to Streak then, select the Journalism Pipeline. Now, there is one idea from your email added to the Idea stage. Cool, isn’t it?
To see the notes and other information. Click on the Streak icon to see the details.
The box details display.
There is a lot of information on this screen.
Let’s take a look at this CRM box screen in two pieces. The top and the bottom.
At the top of this screen
At the very top you will see the Pipeline we are in, Journalism. Next to that is the name of the the Article or Blogpost we are working on. This was originally named Blog Post Idea (from our email), but since it’s really my first article, I changed the name to Article 1. Just click in the box to change it. Streak will save the change on its own.
What you will also note is the Stage. From the Stage status we can determine that Article 1 is in the Idea stage. To update the Stage just use the drop down menu to move you article or, blog post through the different Stages in the Pipeline.
You can also leave notes about the development of the blog post or, article in the Notes box. Other fields in this screen box are based on the columns you setup.
The second half of this box provides some decent information as well. That email we added to the box appears here under the Contents heading. You also have the option to add a few additional items to the content of this box. Some of them, require paying Streak for a Pro membership.
That wraps up my coverage of Streak CRM for article and blog post pitching.
Happy writing! If I missed something, or you want to ask a question, let me know in the comments below!
Interested in trying out Streak? To get started, head over to the the Streak website.
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