Over the past 3+ years of blogging, I’ve gone out of my way to make it easy for me to run things while keeping costs very low. I’ve invested in a handful of plugins and themes over the time I’ve been blogging. Ultimately, though, I’ve kept this blog running on such low costs that I give myself the chance to try out new things (like the one month I had the premium Buffer plan last year) even when they add to my overhead costs. Last year, when CoSchedule was gaining momentum, I gave it a run for it’s money during the 14-day free trial, but didn’t really feel like I needed it at the time, so I let it go.
Over the last year, though, whew – things have picked up! I’m taking on larger projects, gained interest in marketing this blog on social media more regularly, and I’ve taken on the responsibility of running two communities (Postmark Society + The Summer Reads) by myself. So, when I saw Fran’s (seriously – love her!) post on CoSchedule earlier this summer, I knew almost immediately that I needed to give it a second chance. Although I had previously been using an editorial calendar plugin, I knew that having one, low cost to more easily organize my editorial calendar, manage marketing and my communities all in one place was totally worth it.
Before I dive into how I use it, if you’re just hearing about it for the first time, CoSchedule is an all-in-one editorial calendar and social media marketing tool that you can quickly install on your self-hosted WordPress blog and access right in your dashboard! It not only helps you schedule your posts and social media, but it allows you to track your post analytics and share old posts so they don’t die a slow death after a few months in your archives.
So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive in:
CoSchedule for Blogging: The Editorial Calendar
I’ve mentioned countless times how important I feel an editorial calendar is for your blog, so it was a no brainer that I’d be interested in using this feature! Each month I start laying out what’ll be shared throughout the coming weeks, and this calendar is so perfect for that! Even better, though: sometimes I get to a week and just don’t feel like writing about something or need to move a post around to better fit the overall month, which is where the amazing drag-and-drop feature comes into play. You can easily move your post to a new date, and if you’ve already scheduled your social media posts? Those go, too!
It’s super easy to add posts to your calendar when you’re creating your month’s, or week’s, plan. You click on the pencil that appears when you hover over a day (or in the top right corner of the calendar), click Blog Post, and input all of the details right down to social media messages and even tasks and notes. It’s literally that simple!
CoSchedule for Social Media: The Marketing Tool
So, the real fun of CoSchedule comes in when you’re using it to market your blog posts (or anything, really)! Similar to Fran, my frustration with Buffer was a) I could only schedule out 10 posts at a time on the free plan and b) I had to copy and paste everything over and try to figure out when everything needed to go live. It impossible to manage multiple social media on my one account thanks to the free plan limit, and even when I tried the “Awesome” plan last year, I found myself scrolling through everything again and again to see what had been scheduled and what I needed to share more of. It was so frustrating that I pretty much gave up using the platform once I was working full-time.
When it comes to using this side of things, I work in a couple of ways! First, I make sure to color code anything that’s not blog posts or promotions for blog posts. This may seem counterintuitive, but since I tweet the same thing for my posts during the week, it’s not a problem. After that, when I’m done writing a post I immediately schedule the two Twitter shares. Usually on Saturdays or Sundays I schedule the rest of the shares I post to Twitter throughout the week including promoting peers’ posts, Postmark Society tweets, and when I’m really on top of things: even the discussion questions for The Summer Reads.
When you’re scheduling social media, you can do it two ways: either creating social shares while in the post editor or clicking the pencil, similar to how you create a new blog post, and clicking Social Message instead of Blog Post. As with your blog posts, you can schedule a specific time of day, or you can set a time frame to pick from. The neat thing here is that you can click Share Old Post, and schedule social messages for posts from your archives.
CoSchedule: The Cost
I get it: we’re all pinching pennies trying to save our money for our Target runs, but CoSchedule has a few different plans that are totally manageable for bloggers! If you’re just managing your own work, the $15/mo plan is right for you! If you’re a social media manager, though, or need a little more integration, there’s also a $30/mo plan. That one’s a little more extensive for just the average blogger, though!
I will say that investing in CoSchedule has definitely encouraged me to make social media marketing a more important part of my blogging / business plan. I share my posts on my platforms more regularly, had a much better marketing plan for Craft Your Brand, and even actually share my archives now. If you’re interested in checking out CoSchedule and seeing how it works for you, be sure to try out the 14-day free trial!