I’ve been a blogger officially for a year now. Sure, I dabbled in it in 2011-2012, but I’ve been trying to make a go of it seriously since September of last year.
During that time, I’ve had my super productive/consistent times and I’ve had my “ignore-the-blog-for-6-weeks” times.
Ups and downs. Highs and lows.
In this post, I’ll be detailing the one tool that took me from inconsistent and lazy blogger to a consistency powerhouse.
Ok, I may not be a blogging powerhouse, (yet!) but CoSchedule has opened my eyes to what it means to be organized and starting a consistent blogging schedule. Read below for my full CoSchedule Review and click here to give it a try yourself.
So, what is CoSchedule?
At its core, CoSchedule is an editorial calendar. But, why do you need an editorial calendar?
In my opinion, the absolute worst thing we can do as bloggers and content creators is stare at a blank screen. If I really broke it down, I’m sure that over 95% of the reason I didn’t write during my “ignore-the-blog-for-6-weeks” periods was that I had no idea what I wanted to write about.
While it’s good to get the creative juices flowing and get your reps in, opening up a blank document and just trying to write is next to impossible if you’re trying to write meaningful content.
What about when you’re trying to keep to a theme with your blog? Or what about special events coming up that could spur your creativity? Without a calendar, you can feel completely lost and totally zapped of creativity.
I know you’ve all been there.
Knowing what content to write next, knowing when you need to get certain tasks done … this stuff can’t be underestimated. Having an idea – any idea – of what you need to do goes a long, long way.
Social Media Scheduler/Automator
CoSchedule has also stood out tremendously as a social media scheduler and automation tool. I’ve tried my hand at TweetDeck and HootSuite, but nothing has worked for me as well as CoSchedule. While you’ll miss out on audience interaction with the service, the bird’s-eye view of when your messages are sent along with your content is unmatched.
Sold already? Head to CoSchedule.com to give it a shot.
How to Use CoSchedule
CoSchedule works amazingly on its own and I find myself using their web app directly for the majority of my tasks. It also talks with your blog, though, provided you’re using WordPress as your backend.
The WordPress plugin is completely optional, but it’s totally rad when you install it! Not only do all of the features of the web app and calendar show up right in your WordPress dashboard, but you also get the post-specific features right inside your posts.
I’ll get into the social queue later, but just take a look at how it shows up right within my post editor.
The Editorial Calendar
So, since CoSchedule is – at its most basic level – an editorial calendar, you can use it just as you would any calendar or spreadsheet of your own.
A quick note about this: As I’m still young in the blogging world and building my audience, I could most likely get away with doing all this myself. A spreadsheet and the free Buffer app would work fine with my one-man team. All the extra tools, automation, and gnarly features make CoSchedule well worth the price of admission, though!
You start populating it with your post ideas and you’re done. Simple, right? You see everything you want to accomplish coming up and you’re ready to get started.
Digging deeper, you find you’re able to assign tasks. For me, some of these tasks may be:
- Add Images
- Add Featured Image
- Schedule Social Messages
One of the most rad features of CoSchedule is that everything can (and will) be relative to your content.
So, hypothetically, let’s say I want to post an article on the 20th. I know I want to have the post writing finalized the week before, so I’ll schedule my research and outlining for 9 days before it goes live. I’ll then schedule (assign a task to myself) my writing for 8 days before, followed by editing and finalizing the week before.
Finally, I’ll add the images 3 days before it goes live and schedule the social the following day.
Alright, by this schedule I know the following:
- Researching and outlining on the 11th
- Writing on the 12th
- Editing and finalizing on the 13th
- Adding images on the 17th
- Scheduling social messages on the 18th
Now, maybe a gig gets thrown my way or some event comes up and I decide I don’t want that post going out on the 20th. Instead, the 29th is my new go-live date. With the remarkably simple drag-and-drop functionality of the CoSchedule calendar, all I have to do is drag the post to the my new date.
Automatically, all my tasks move to their correct dates on the calendar:
It’s so freaking cool! With the tasks and everything, CoSchedule has actually become my main calendar/to-do list for knowing what I need to do each and every day with my blog.
Not only has it given me a clearer picture of where I want to take my blog in the short and long runs, it’s given me a picture-perfect vision of what I need to accomplish each day.
The Social Queue
Every time you open a blog post in CoSchedule, you’ll see what’s called the Social Queue. (Remember that picture from above?)
As bloggers, our number one goal is to drive traffic to our site. What better way to get visitors than to share your content, right?
CoSchedule’s Social Queue comes pre-loaded with the suggestions of:
- Same day as publish
- Day after publish
- Week after publish
- Month after publish
This is a fantastic place to start and it’s one you may already be practicing. You can always add custom dates, however.
For instance, I wrote a post recently about positivity that I know will remain evergreen for a long time. (Is it too cocky to say forever?) It’s something I feel people can use no matter what time of year, where they are in their lives, or what they do.
I used the normal suggestions above, but added messages at 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. It’s been gaining a lot of traction, so I may even use CoSchedule to share it some more in the interim.
The same date relativity from tasks applies to the social queue, as well. If you move a post to another date, all of your social messages will follow.
When scheduling messages, you can even take advantage of CoSchedule’s “Best Time” option. This will use the app’s algorithm to find the best time to post your message to your chosen social network, based on engagement and other factors. Of course, you can always choose a custom time, a range (8-11am, etc.), or a time relative to your article going live.
CoSchedule is also a super solid social media scheduler. Since signing up for the service, I’ve rarely, rarely posted anything directly to a social media site. CoSchedule’s best time feature has proven invaluable to raising my brand awareness and getting shares, likes, retweets, etc.
Sure, if I’m tweeting about a baseball game or something instant (sometimes the genius just strikes, you know? 😉 ), I’ll do that on Twitter. But, when it comes to business-related messages or something that I really want people to see, CoSchedule’s where it’s at!
Here are all the services you can integrate with CoSchedule:
- Profiles, Pages, and Groups
- Profiles and Companies
These profiles are available to share anything from within CoSchedule: your blog posts, links, or any type of message or status update you want to send.
You can even link it to your bit.ly account for URL shortening and your Google Calendar to have your editorial and social calendar show up with your regular, everyday events and tasks.
Sharing Old Content and Keeping It In Front of People
Not only do we want to ensure that evergreen content is staying evergreen, sometimes it’s good to get some older content out there again.
Maybe recent events have spurred a new interest in a topic you wrote about a while ago. Share it!
Maybe something you’ve written recently relates to an older post. While you’ve obviously linked to it in your newer post, it can also be a good tie-in with an extra social share. Sharing that older piece could help drive traffic to both!
CoSchedule makes it incredibly easy to re-share content. There’s even a button built in when you’re creating a new “link” social message that shows all your older posts. They make it so easy.
What’s more, CoSchedule has a feature that shows you your top posts and content. It’ll list your posts in order of the most shares, and show you how many shares you’ve gotten on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Unfortunately, because of Twitter’s change to their API last November, the Twitter share count isn’t currently available. I’m sure they’ll figure out how to get that back, though.
It’s even easy to share right from the Top Content screen. You can see if there are any shares coming up and, if it’s low, just add some new ones. The same Social Queue will pop up here and you can choose how many messages and when to send them.
While I haven’t explored these a great deal, CoSchedule also has the ability to schedule other types of content than blog posts. You can schedule your email messages and other marketing campaigns, social campaigns, and add events and notes. It’s a full-fledged calendar that I’m admittedly only scratching the surface of.
If you work in a team, you can collaborate right there in the app. There’s no need to send emails or texts, you can converse right there on your posts/campaigns and even add attachments and links.
By far, my favorite tool in CoSchedule is their Headline Analyzer.
When you add a new post, it’ll give you a score for your headline. This has helped me completely rethink my headline-writing strategy and come up with way better, shareable headlines for my posts.
The scores take into account word count, character count, and word balance (emotional, common, uncommon, power), among other things, to give you an idea of what you may need to tweak to come up with a better headline.
In the full analysis, it gives you an idea of what you can change to make it better. It also shows you previews of how your headline will look in search engines and email inboxes. This tool has proven indispensable for me when creating new posts. With so many readers not even clicking on posts without catchy headlines, this headline analyzer definitely helps you get your chances raised.
Is CoSchedule Right for Me?
Like I said, if you’re new and just starting to build your audience, this may be slight overkill. But, give it a shot with the 2-week free trial by clicking here and I’m willing to bet you’ll be sold.
Using CoSchedule has changed the way I blog, completely opened my eyes to a world of consistency and productivity, and made me inspired to keep going, growing, and building my brand. I can easily attribute the uptick in not only consistency but also traffic and engagement on my site over the past 6-8 weeks to CoSchedule.
I know one thing: I’m never going back to my old way. CoSchedule is killer!Click Here to Try CoSchedule!