If you’re the editor of a blog, you know that the road to a consistent editorial calendar is paved with good intentions. And it usually ends in hell.
It’s hard to create a regular publication schedule. It’s even harder to stick to one.
You may have turned to various editorial calendar tools to help. So did we. Raven has relied on the free Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin for years to help with short-term planning. It’s a no frills, no features, straightforward tool.
Then we switched to CoSchedule. Turns out that a few frills and features save us tons of time and keeps us more on track.
What Is CoSchedule?
CoSchedule is a calendar-style tool that helps editors and writers quickly create, update and publish blog posts. It’s available as a web app — with a complementary WordPress plugin — for $10 per month per WordPress blog.
If you’re familiar with the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin I mentioned, then this particular view of CoSchedule will look familiar:
For content planning, it’s useful to check on the status of your blog articles a month at a time. At a glance, you can see what’s published, what’s in progress and what needs your review. Click on a title to edit a post. Or drag and drop post titles to rearrange your schedule.
Once you adopt a calendar-style tool like this, you’ll find it nearly impossible to live without.
Where CoSchedule shines — and what makes it worth its small cost — are its easy collaboration features and fast, built-in process for sharing posts on social media.
CoSchedule’s Collaboration Features
Editor: Your post is due today. Is its ready to be edited?
Writer: No, I need to push that article back a couple weeks. I have a different one instead. It’s more timely. Is that OK? Oh, and after it’s live, could you remind me to email the people I interviewed, too?
Editor: Um… OK. Is the new one ready to be edited?
Writer: No. I’ll get it to you by tomorrow end of day, promise.
If you’ve ever been part of an email conversation like that, then you’ll love the collaboration and task features of CoSchedule. You can communicate essential details like these all from the same screen. The conversation is permanently attached to the CoSchedule record of the blog post, so anyone can reference the details if they forget them later.
First, click on the post title in the CoSchedule calendar view. You’ll see the Edit Blog Post screen.
Down in the bottom right corner, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure everyone who needs to be in the loop is “following” this post.
Then, any comment that you make about this post will be shared with everyone following it. (Email notification is optional.) You can remind the writer when it’s due — no more pestering the writer by email.
Plus, you can assign anyone on your team a task related to this post. Writers can assign themselves tasks — no more pestering the editor for reminders.
CoSchedule’s Social Media Sharing Features
CoSchedule kicks it up a notch with while-you-write-it social media sharing.
From the same Edit Blog Post view, you can give CoSchedule access to your social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. Then, while still in the Edit Blog Post view, you can choose a social network, write a post and schedule a time to share that post. Your article doesn’t even have to be published!
CoSchedule’s integration with Buffer can help with the scheduling, if you happen to use both tools.
Eventually, your Edit Blog Post view will look like this:
After you’re finished, your calendar view shows you all the times and networks when you’ve scheduled social shared.
Hover over the title of any one of them to get more details.
And remember that drag-and-drop feature of the calendar view? If you move a post to a new date, all scheduled social media posts related to it move too. That’s a huge time-saver.
Confession: We don’t use the aspect of CoSchedule very much. Raven has social posting and one-time scheduling features that work better for our needs. And we’re bringing Buffer-style scheduling and social post previews to Raven customers very soon. However, we do like syncing our social accounts with CoSchedule, because then we get a nifty count on the calendar and Dashboard views of social shares.
Speaking of the CoSchedule Dashboard…
4 Icing-on-the-Cake CoSchedule Features
If these things didn’t exist, CoSchedule would be worth it. But these extra touches make our lives so much better.
- Dashboard. Logging into the CoSchedule and getting a view like this just makes me feel productive… especially when I can see what I wrote that was popular.
- Search. WordPress has crappy search and sorting options. If your blog has hundreds of articles written by a half dozen people, it can take forever to drill down to what you want to see. CoSchedule makes that a snap with this little bar on the left of the calendar view. Big productivity points for this.
- Google Calendar integration. It’s easy to connect your CoSchedule calendar to your Google Calendar. That means that a) you can print your editorial calendar for meetings and b) non editorial-team members on shared Google calendar can see what’s planned for the blog.
- CoSchedule’s blog. We’ve found the content marketing articles on CoSchedule’s blog so intelligent (and original) that we’ll be co-publishing them on Raven’s blog occasionally. Be sure to read The Value of Writing for Multiple Audiences.
CoSchedule has a couple of small flaws. There are so many rollovers on the calendar views that I often trigger the wrong one. And there’s no way to toggle the view of your social posting schedule, so you can end up with an overall calendar view like this.
There’s potential for feature bloat. Too many more “helpful” things and CoSchedule will get more complicated than it needs to be. The team will need to keep an eye on feature requests and stay focused on their core, unique benefits.
That said, I wish I could get my new tasks auto-synced to my favorite to-do app, Wunderlist. Ha!
Want To Try CoSchedule?
If you click on this link and sign up to use it, the team at Raven will get a referral credit: http://coschedule.com/r/3346
If you don’t want to be nice to the people who make <cough> your favorite online marketing campaign management and reporting tool <cough>, then click on this link to try CoSchedule: http://coschedule.com
Either way, it’s $10 a month well spent. Enjoy!
About This Series
Welcome to our occasional series about the productivity tools we love.
Raven started as an Internet marketing agency in 2005 and grew out of tools we built in-house to speed up our own work, tools that we quickly realized others might find useful. As online marketing software pioneers — more than that, as SaaS pioneers — Raven knows what it’s like to plant a flag in a niche, create valuable tools and believe that they will come.
That’s why we try new tools. We want to evaluate as much as we can, implement the greatest ideas and cheer on our favorites. If we benefit, we believe so will the tech-savvy marketers and agencies that use Raven. So far in the series:
Oh, and if you’re looking for more productivity tools, you’ll want to check out Raven’s new reporting engine launching soon.