I had never used an editorial “calendar” for content scheduling until recently. I always kept my posting schedule in a spreadsheet, because, frankly, I think spreadsheets are the solution for just about everything. And then I tried CoSchedule.
I first heard about CoSchedule when it came out a few years and I thought it sounded intriguing. However, at the time, I only had a hobby blog, and using a paid service for an editorial calendar seemed like overkill. When I started Solopreneur Diaries, I knew that I wanted to give CoSchedule a try to see if it could beat out my spreadsheet system. It turns out it that it could.
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What is CoSchedule?
If you aren’t familiar with CoSchedule, the simple definition is that it’s a tool that will help you plan out and schedule your blog posts and social media in the same place. But really, it’s so much more than that. It’s a time and sanity saver. Not only does it give you a nice calendar view of your posts, but also it works with WordPress and many social platforms. It lets you schedule social promotion right along with the post. There is also a game-changer that will really power up your content scheduling; more on that in a moment.
How do you use CoSchedule?
You can use CoSchedule in two places. First there is a plug-in, which means it works right inside WordPress. You can also access CoSchedule directly from the web. And the two sync up. So, if you schedule a post or social share inside WordPress, then go over to the web calendar, you can see it there. And vice versa.
Scheduling a post
You can schedule posts right from the calendar view. Click on the little pencil icon in the top right corner of the screen, or in any date square, and CoSchedule will prompt you for the kind of post: Blog Post, Social Message, or Content. You can also add events, notes, and tasks. Click on your choice and you are prompted to add a title.
I usually work from the calendar, so when I add a post, it is automatically placed on the correct date in the calendar. The post will stay in draft form until you publish it, even if the posting date passes by.
Super-cool feature: social scheduling on the edit post page
This is where CoSchedule starts to set itself apart from other editorial calendar plug-ins. You can schedule your social shares right from the edit post screen in WordPress, during or after writing your blog post. Just scroll down the page until you get to the CoSchedule section. CoSchedule even prompts you to share your posts on a schedule: same day, day after, week after, and month after. You don’t have to follow this schedule – everything is customizable – but it sure is handy.
All you have to do is click the plus icon and CoSchedule walks you through the scheduling process. Select a social profile that you have connected to CoSchedule, choose the kind of post (text, image, or link), customize your message for the platform, and select the day and time that you want to publish. The post title and permalink are prefilled, but you can delete either one if you want to.
After you have scheduled your social shares, the edit post page will show every share that you have scheduled for that post for all platforms and all dates.
As a bonus, social analytics can be viewed from the calendar or the post. From the calendar view, you can see how many times a post was shared across all social channels. From the edit post screen, you can see a breakdown by channel.
Game-changer: date logic for social shares
You may have noticed in the previous screen shots that the scheduling date for social is not a calendar date. Instead, it is based on the publish date of the post.
This is a game-changing feature and the one that sold me on CoSchedule. Social promotion is linked to the post and the share date is scheduled as “Same day as publish,” “Day after publish,” “Week after publish,” etc. That means that if you change the date of the post, all the social shares change automatically.
If you have ever pre-scheduled your social promotion, then changed the publish date of your blog post, you know what a pain it is to go back and reschedule all the social shares. CoSchedule takes care of all that for you.
What’s more, you can even change the dates from the calendar view. You can drag and drop your blog post to a new date and all the social follows along.
You can adjust the calendar view to your liking in the Settings sections. One important option is to set the time zone. I didn’t do this and the first few posts I scheduled were published in the wee hours of the morning, which was not my intention.
You can also adjust the number of weeks that the calendar displays, show the previous week, show weekends, and set the start day for the week. Lastly, you can change whether or not social messages show on the calendar along with blog posts. I actually wish this one could be toggled on and off from the calendar view, rather than having to go into Settings, because I change it pretty often.
Pricing and Free Trial
CoSchedule has a number of price points, depending on the functionality that you want and whether you work solo or as part of a team. The least expensive is “Solo Standard,” which is $19 a month if you are billed month-to-month or $15 a month if you are billed annually. With Solo Standard, you can have one user and up to 5 social profiles tied to your account. This is the level that I chose and everything I’ve discussed today is included in that level.
I highly suggest that you take advantage of the 14-day free trial, before deciding on a plan. You don’t have to enter a credit card, so there is really no risk. The only downside is that the free trial gives you access to features that you may not want to pay for. For example, I had integrated my account with Google Analytics, which is not accessible in the standard plan. It’s a bit of bummer to lose functionality (but not enough of a bummer to double the monthly cost).
CoSchedule has quite a few videos that you can watch to learn more about the system and how to use it. In fact, they will even drop a training plan into your calendar when you sign up for the free trial. They want you to get up to speed quickly.
Seeing your blog post and social content together in one calendar is cool. But having them linked together, so that moving a post moves everything, takes CoSchedule to the next level. Having one comprehensive calendar, with drag-and-drop capability for the whole group, will make your life so much easier. Why not power up your content scheduling with CoSchedule today?
P. S. Hat tip to Wonderlass for the FREE stock photo used above.
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