If you’re like me, you see the value in scheduling things on a calendar. If you’re really like me, you are a little lazy, and will easily let something go undone because you didn’t schedule it ahead of time.
I’ve used every combination of planners, editorial calendars, scheduling assistants, and more, and while many are useful, none are exactly what I need.
Every writer is different, and everyone has different preferences for their planning setup. What I’ve found to be helpful, then, are “setups” that allow me a little control and freedom. They do one thing or a handful of things extremely well, but let me tweak and tinker with the overall solution.
Let me explain.
I’ve recently started using a paid service called CoSchedule. Billing itself as a “social media editorial calendar for WordPress,” it’s really quite the workhorse.
First, since your eyes might glaze over when I mention that it’s a paid service, let me put your mind at ease.
CoSchedule is $10/month. Period. It really couldn’t be simpler. And even then, if you use affiliate links (like mine) to promote the service, or even write a blog post about them (like this one), you can bring that number considerably down.
But you know me — I wouldn’t be writing this post if CoSchedule wasn’t worth every penny. (For what it’s worth, I believe they’re worth far more than they’re charging!)
Second, you might be wondering if something like this is really worth the hype.
I don’t know.
Everyone has different needs and desires from their planning tools, so all I can do is pop the hood on CoSchedule and show you what’s up.
So here goes:
CoSchedule, like their website mentions, is an all-in-one planning, scheduling, and promotion suite that runs within your WordPress dashboard. Installation takes 30 seconds, and there’s a great built-in training walkthrough (that also takes less than 30 seconds):
That’s not my WordPress dashboard — it’s far busier than mine!
What you’ll see from that screenshot, though, is the very visual nature of the app. It looks like a calendar, because, well, it is.
CoSchedule – How to use it
You can use the app either via its built-in calendar view or through the standard post-writing interface that you’re familiar with. If you use the calendar view, you have options to plan, schedule, and promote a blog post all from the same window.
You can link as many social media services as you’d like, choosing from their built-in options (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Buffer, and Google+). I don’t use all of those services, but it’s nice to know I have the option!
It’s extremely intuitive, but if you’re a visual learner, here’s a video walkthrough they’ve created.
Here’s what CoSchedule’s post editor looks like:
And here’s what the standard WordPress-based editor looks like with CoSchedule installed:
Where CoSchedule really shines
What I think is CoSchedule’s best feature is its ability to schedule your promotions for each blog post in the future.
When you add a blog post, you have the option of adding social messages for certain lengths of time after the post is live (when the post goes live, one day after, one week after, one month after, custom, etc.). Here’s an example:
The title of the post and permalink back to the post are automatically grabbed by CoSchedule, even if the post isn’t live yet, and you’re given the option to add a message to the tweet, Facebook post, or whatever other social network you’ve selected.
Then you can choose when that message will be sent to that network, and you can repeat the process with your other social networks.
The power of this feature is understated here, but if you’ve blogged for any amount of time you know the value of a service that saves you a massive amount of time!
I believe CoSchedule is more than just an option for serious bloggers and writers. If you’ve got one or more social networks that you’re posting to, writing to catch up on, and a stream of blog posts you need to publish, there’s probably no better way (for the price) to get an editorial calendar/promotion tool deployed.
What’s great is that it’s all under one roof.
What’s imperative, though, is that it just plain works.
Give it a shot, and let me know what you think! If you use my affiliate link, it won’t cost you a dime extra but I’ll get a little discount on my subscription.
What do you think of CoSchedule? Have you tried using an editorial calendar before? Leave a comment and let me know!