First up: CoSchedule, or the best thing to happen to bloggers and content marketers since sliced Internetz.
What is CoSchedule?
CoSchedule is a premium Content Marketing Editorial Calendar and plugin for WordPress blogs. Tasking out content, managing drafts and edits, promoting content on social networks are all activities that you plan around your site but to date there haven’t been many options for editorial and social teams to easily align. As an all-in-one publishing solution, CoSchedule promises to replace the confusion brought on by crazy Google Doc Spreadsheets, unwieldy email threads and separate social platforms.
A New Way to Look at Content
The plugin is super slick and adds core handy new features to two key areas within your WordPress back-end:
1. The Editorial Calendar
Here you can add drafts, assign tasks, and schedule future social media posts in an easy drag-and-drop interface. Drag a blog post over to a new date and all the scheduled tweets, Facebook posts and other related social posts are moved along with it, helping you plan and adjust your publishing as things change. Collaborators can easily see at a glance all the content globally being created each month, as well as promotional efforts around everything.
2. Edit Post CoSchedule Element
Once you’ve installed the plugin and logged in, below the text area for blog posts you’ll notice a new CoSchedule element. Whereas the calendar gives you a global view of all editorial activity, this element gives us a post-specific run-down of all the tasks, internal editorial comments, and scheduled social messaging. This view is especially helpful to individual contributors, as they can see all promotional efforts around their post, and if it’s already published they can track shares across different networks to see where the content has performed best to date.
Features We Love
- Social scheduling
CoSchedule connects with native social platforms and Buffer alike to help you push content across your ecosystem and drive traffic to your site. You can sort all your variations of tweets and other pushes around a post and see them both in a detailed view when in edit mode, and from a bird’s eye view in the calendar. It’s so much more intuitive to mix up mentions and hashtags when you can see what you’ve already associated to that post itself all in one place. It’s also really easy to promote older content, see which posts are high-performing, and which ones need a bit more love, all of which can help you better hone your content strategy over time.
- Automatic shortening/UTM
The platform has built-in link shortening and UTM parameters so you don’t need to do that manually, which is a huge time-saver across the board. We bought 3rd1dr.co and integrated it with bit.ly and CoSchedule. Using a vanity URL for shortened links makes them look more polished and authoritative, and it’s simple to set up.
- Collaboration and workflow
We don’t use the task features that much as we have another system for project management across the board and we’re still fairly lean, but we know from our partners on the platform that as teams grow and you have several writers/contributors, editors, designers and coordinators all collaborating on posts CoSchedule helps with tasking features and that internal commenting system baked right into where you’re editing the post. It saves lots of time and effort and reduces email communication with individual writers.
Things That Could Improve
- Clunky messaging UI
This is pretty minor as you learn to adapt pretty quickly, but especially in the calendar view if you paste text in the message area and then select channels and blog posts to associate it’ll override the text and can be a little frustrating for those used to systems like Hootsuite which operate differently. But if you proceed linearly through the workflow as laid out you learn to go through the motions to avoid losing your work.
- CoSchedule is a WordPress Plugin
As such it only works if you’re using a WordPress blog and it needs to be a self-hosted .org installation (as opposed to a WordPress.com blog).
- CoSchedule is NOT an SMMS
CoSchedule is not intended to replace or supplant your existing Social Media Management System (e.g. Buffer, Hootsuite) as it really focuses on social promotion around your content. It won’t help you curate other content around the web, field tweets, DMs or posts directed to your accounts, and generally push messages unrelated to your site’s content across networks. CoSchedule really works best for those who are serious about their inbound content marketing and editorial efforts, and luckily they integrate beautifully with Buffer so if you’re using that for outbound social media it’s a great addition to your tool set. If you don’t do any content marketing on WordPress and only need a tool to manage your various social media accounts, CoSchedule is not the right fit for your needs.
The skinny: If you do a lot of blogging on WordPress, CoSchedule is a great way to streamline your processes and help promote your content more effectively across the sharescape.
Cost: $10/month (per blog)
How can I try it? Sign up for their 14-day free trial and give it a whirl!