Using CoSchedule as a Blogging Tool
In today’s episode, we’re going to take a deep dive into a tool we’ve been using on ProBlogger for the last 18 months that has been incredibly useful for our team both as an editorial calendar tool but also to help us with our social media promotion of content.
The tool is one that you may have heard of – CoSchedule.
We installed CoSchedule a year and half ago now as our editorial team began to grow and as we began to get a bit more organised with the ways that we schedule and share content and since that time it’s become more and more central in what we do. In fact, it’s gradually taking over from some of the other tools we’ve been using to share content onto social media.
To help me run through the tool I invited the General Manager of ProBlogger – Laney Galligan – onto the show to take me through it.
Laney has taken over not only the management of the business side of our event and whole business but recently has taken the editor role at ProBlogger and uses CoSchedule as part of that all day every day – and as you’ll be able to tell – she loves this tool and is doing things with it that I didn’t even know it could do.
In this chat Laney shares:
- What CoSchedule is
- We look at how we’re using it (and discuss a little of our own approach to planning content on PB)
- Her top 10 features of CoSchedule
- What she doesn’t like about it
- The pricing options of and whether we think it’s worth it for different types of bloggers.
Resources on a Tool to Revolutionise Your Blog’s Editorial Schedule and Social Sharing
- Facebook group
- PDF of Words that Can Work Well in Headlines
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In today’s episode, I want to talk a little bit about a tool that we’ve been using on ProBlogger for the last 18 months that has been incredibly useful to us, to me, and my team, both providing us with an editorial calendar but also with the social media promotion of our content.
The tool is one that you have probably heard of before because it does get mentioned from time to time in this podcast. It’s a tool called CoSchedule. We installed this tool about a year and a half ago now as our editorial team began to grow and as we became more organized with the way we planned our content, the way we scheduled our content, the way our team worked together, and also the way we were sharing our content.
Since that time, it’s become very central in what we do. In fact, it’s gradually taking over from some of the other tools that I’ve previously been using to share social media content. To help me run through this tool and to go deeper with it than I could, I’ve invited my team member, the General Manager of ProBlogger, Laney Galligan, onto the show to take us through what CoSchedule does and some of its features.
Laney will be familar to many of you who’ve been to our events, she has directed our events for several years now. Over the last couple of years, has taken on more and more management roles at ProBlogger. She actually is our General Manager now and manages the whole business of ProBlogger but in the last few months, she’s also taken on more of the editorial role at ProBlogger as well.
As a result of that, she’s using CoSchedule everyday, all day, everyday. She’s able to tell you a lot more about the tool than I can. As you will tell from this interview, she loves this tool and she is doing things with it that I didn’t even know it could do.
In this tool, we cover the following. We talk about what CoSchedule is. We look at how we use it at ProBlogger and in doing so, we actually talked a little bit about how we plan our own content. Laney lists off her top 10 features of CoSchedule. She talks about what she does like about it which is a lot but also touches on a couple little things that she doesn’t like.
We talk about the price of this particular tool because it’s not a free tool. It does have a 14 day free trial but then it goes onto a paid plan. We talked about price and who we think of the different plans would suitable for, I don’t think it’s suitable for everyone but I do think bloggers of all stages, there would be a case for it. We’d get a little bit more into that today.
Today’s show notes, where we do link to CoSchedule and another link that we mentioned during the show is our shownotes at problogger.com/podcast/195. I’ll also link to it in our Facebook group as well. Lastly, just want to be clear. We are an affiliate for CoSchedule but we’re not actually making any money from it as we discuss in the show.
They do have an affiliate program which enables you to reduce what you pay for the tool so if you do have an audience that this will be interesting for, you can reduce how much you pay for your plan. I think everyone you refer to CoSchedule, you get 10% off the cost of the tool. We’ve referred 10 people so the tool is now free for us. Whilst we do share it with an affiliate link, we don’t actually get anything out of it. This is not an affiliate play today. It’s not an ad in any way. We just love this tool. We use this tool everyday and so we thought it would be interesting for you to learn about it as well.
With that out of the way, let’s get into this interview with Laney Galligan talking about CoSchedule. Hey Laney, how are you?
Laney: Very well, Darren.
Darren: It’s been 195 or so episodes and I’ve not had you on the podcast yet so it’s time to get one of my team members on. I want to talk to you about tools. In particular, a tool that we are using, have been using for a while now on ProBlogger, CoSchedule. Do you remember when we first started using it?
Laney: Yes. I think it was about 18 months ago. Probably when I was first coming on to start doing my general management of the business. That’s about 18 months ago now.
Darren: Alright. You know much more about CoSchedule than I do. We’ll probably touch on why that is, a little later, in terms of our personality types. Tell us a little bit about what the tool is for those who haven’t heard of it before. How would you describe it in a sentence or two?
Laney: Really, it’s an editorial calendar but it’s a lot more than that. Most people would just think, “Oh, editorial calendar, I can do that in WordPress with a plugin easily.” They say it allows you to plan, publish, promote, and automate. I think that’s where its main strengths are. It’s not just about scheduling your blog post, it’s about managing all the different types of content that you create because we are multi content creators now. It’s not just blog posts. We could have podcasts. We could be doing email and newsletters, other marketing promotions.
It allows you to schedule that content, settle them in place but also get the most out of the content that you’re creating by promoting it. I guess that’s the really important part of it because your job doesn’t finish with just creating the post, right?
Darren: That’s right. I think, for me, the first ever editorial tool that I tried was a WordPress plugin which showed me a beautiful way like the calendar that was upcoming and all the post that were coming up but as you say, that’s just part of the process, creating content. It’s promoting that content, and ongoing, promoting that content that most of the other tools miss out on. Who would you say that it is for?
Laney: It has different levels that you can have with the different plans. It does actually aim at different types of content creators. Bloggers, for sure, when you’re creating a blog post, it’s great just to keep yourself organized. I know those plugins that I’ve used previously as well, whilst I see things that I have scheduled in there, I’ll see every single little draft that I started as well. Sometimes, that’s quite overwhelming and confusing so this allows you to get a clear look at what you’ve got coming up and what you’ve actually planned.
For definitely multi contributor blogs as well. If you’ve got more than one author, there are some really good opportunities within the next plan up that allows you to have different team members or allow you to have contributors as well and just managing people’s different content in the different ways that they create it as well.
And then I guess juts content marketers in general. Whether that be a department within a company who have got control of every bit of content that’s going out for that brand as well as different promotions and things like that. Different social media accounts, they might have lots of them so it can scale up to different people but it is really great at ground level for bloggers who just want to get a little bit more organized that what they can do within WordPress itself.
Darren: I guess that was one of my big questions. Is it overkill for just a single person blogger? We started using it when we had a team, when we had two or three of us wanting to be at access at once. Do you think there’s user cases for single persons, bloggers?
Laney: I do because of I guess the nature of social media. Different platforms are popping out everywhere. As bloggers, we’re not just in charge of our blog anymore, we have to be these content creators and curators across all these different platforms. Whether that be Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest, or Twitter, a lot of people are already going and using other scheduling tools to schedule content on those platforms. They’re doing that directly with them or they’re using apps to do that as well or even worse, they’re not scheduling at all. They’re just promoting ad hoc when they remember to.
Having it all in one, and I guess as we talk more about the features, you’ll get an understanding of why it’s so powerful is that you can just control the content and the marketing of your content from one spot and one easy place which is going to be great for a person who’s doing it all on their own.
Darren: For sure. The first time I started using a calendar, just a normal WordPress calendar, not CoSchedule but other ones, it was just helpful for me to see the flow of the content that was coming up as well. Even if you don’t use CoSchedule, being able to see it a month out that I’ve got a case study coming up, well I’ve got four case studies coming up, maybe we need to change that up and add in a different type of content or maybe we’re focusing too much on this category and not that category, to be a bit more strategic in that way is great.
I’m looking at our calendar now and I can look at the next month or so of content and be confident that we’re covering the different categories that we want to cover on ProBlogger.
Laney: For sure. I really like to have visuals and that we can see when something is still in draft, or we can see when something doesn’t have social schedule for it, or we can use colored labels to label things out differently for different types of content. CoSchedule also allows you to I guess create or put into your calendar different types of content. A blog post versus a podcast versus hey, I want to put a new email newsletter in here.
It’s just the content type that then allows you to create. You can actually see the different types of content that you’re creating and to make sure that you’ve got a good spread. I think we’re starting to fall into a good rhythm of the types of content that we create, different types of content that we’re creating for ProBlogger as well. It’s really nice to be able to visually see that and see, at a quick glance, the status of it as well.
Darren: Yeah and you’ve color coded it all beautifully as well which makes it very impressive. I log into the calendar some days and I go, “Whoa, there’s so much going on.” It’s quite overwhelming on some levels but once you dig into it and you understand how you’ve set it up with your colors and your tags, it makes a lot of sense.
Maybe you could talk to us a little bit about how we’re using it on ProBlogger. Just give us a little bit of a run down and then we’ll get into some features that listeners might be interested in.
Laney: For sure. I guess one thing is that our planning for content actually starts off CoSchedule so we still do spreadsheets, something that I apologize to you about all the time. Sometimes, you can’t get away from a good spreadsheet. We do have a spreadsheet which I guess provides the buckets or the structure for the different types of content that we want to create and when that’s going to be published on a regular basis.
We brainstorm there and then decide, “Are we going to go with that blog, that podcast topic?” It gives us an opportunity to see are we covering the breadth of topics that we know that we need to cover across the different types of content that we produce.
Darren: It might be even worth saying that we do this once a month or just started doing it once a month and our spreadsheet has Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and we know that podcasts come out on Mondays, and Tuesdays a Facebook Live happens. Wednesday, a blog post happens. Thursday, a newsletter goes out. And Friday, a guest post happens on ProBlogger.
We have these different days allocated. We brainstorm ahead of time what the actual pieces of content will look like.
Laney: Exactly. Once we’re happy with what we’re going to do here, I transferred it into CoSchedule so that we can see, “This is what we’ve got coming up.” Within CoSchedule, especially because we’re a team and there’s different tasks for different people to do, that within each of the pieces of content that you schedule into CoSchedule, you can have tasks and put on messages and comments to each other when you’re on that team plan, for example.
I can just say, “Hi Darren, you need to do this. Here’s the link to it.” I even put things into myself like when I schedule all of the social for Facebook. I have a list of the different types of things that I have to go through and curate or include in that schedule. I’ve got these little tasks as well. That all happens within CoSchedule. It might be something that I move our guest contributors into as well with our regular contributors. That might be able to give them direct access to CoSchedule too so that we can actually more closely help manage the creation of the content; making sure they know when their deadlines for drafts are, any notes and things that we have for them as well.
Darren: Maybe we should mention that this really all sits within WordPress but also you can look at it all outside of WordPress as well. We’ve got it very much sinking with WordPress and I use it within WordPress quite a bit. Also, you can log in at CoSchedule, their website, and see it all there.
Laney: That’s right. That’s generally how I use it. I’m always looking at the overview. However, when I do schedule a blog post, I then continue with my workflow within WordPress in the backend of WordPress and go, “I’ve done everything. Here are the categories. We’ve got the metadata and then you just go straight to scheduling the social messages for it as well which is really great in terms of workflow.
Darren: Let’s go through your top 10 features and there’s probably 20 or more that we could probably talk about so we aren’t going to cover every feature that CoSchedule has but take us through your top 10.
Laney: I’m discovering them all the time so that’s great. The thing that I love the most is about how it integrates with WordPress. Just what we were talking about, when you go into your calendar and you decide, “I’m going to write a blog post here.” You can actually attach a Google document, a word document, an Evernote note to that piece of content. I’ll say this is my content. I love that because I’ve been burned so many times writing a post in WordPress directly and something bad happens and I lose it. I prefer to create my content personally in Google Docs.
It’s great if you’re collaborating with someone where you can review it and make suggested edits and everything like that. Once you’re happy with it, you can actually then just press a button and it will convert it into a WordPress post for you. That includes if there were any images in there as well. It posts it into your media library. It’s a thing of beauty really. I love how well it does that.
I guess the thing with that too is that I can create blog posts or drafts of blog posts without it actually creating drafts in WordPress until I want it to. It keeps your drafts a little less cluttered. Sometimes, they can look really overwhelming if you’re just trying to see what are coming up and like every idea under the sun might be in there as a draft. This enables you to work on things, and then when you’re ready to, convert them into WordPress posts.
Darren: I didn’t even know it did that. Writing in Google Docs is going to change my life because I’m a bit old fashioned in a way, but that’s great.
Laney: Or even just a Word document. You can actually attach a Word document and it’ll convert that as well.
Darren: And it doesn’t bring in all that horrible code that sometimes when you copy and paste out of those documents.
Laney: That’s right. It does it really cleanly. I’ve been really impressed with how well it does that. That’s the one top thing I love about it. We’ve already talked about how you can schedule all your social on one spot. Again, in the backend of WordPress, once you’ve finished editing things, you can then go straight into creating your social posts.
I suppose something that we haven’t really talked about yet is what CoSchedule actually allows you to do to create your social posts. Essentially, you just click a button and when it publishes, my post publishes this message to Facebook, this message to Twitter and this one’s a Pinterest, for example. You create your different messages very easy just as though you were actually in the platform itself. You type the message out. It might be a link. It could be an image. You create that and then you schedule it. You can do it at the same time.
Another great thing that it has is time scheduling so you can just say, “Post it at the best time between 9:00AM and 12:00PM.” It’ll do that for you as well. You can create almost like a template. It actually does allow you to create templates. For our particular blog post, we know that we’re going to promote it straight away. On Twitter for example, we wait a few hours before it goes onto Facebook. We might tweet it again later that day. We’ll tweet it the next day and then we have a bit of a next week, next month schedule for our blog posts.
You can actually create those schedules and then save them as a template and so when it comes to creating your blog post, you can just say, “Apply this template.” And then fill in the blanks.
Darren: That’s great. I’m looking at a post that we’ve got scheduled to go out. I think it’s tomorrow or the day after and there’s 10 social messages already lined up. I can see that four of them go out tomorrow, two go out the day after, two the week after, and two the month after. It’s not like you had to write those 10 messages. You had to write a few of them but once it’s set up, it looks after itself and that immediate engagement on social media is going to happen. It’s great.
Laney: Absolutely. You can edit every single message if you want to.
Darren: So you can change them up?
Laney: Yeah. That other really great thing with the whole template side of things is that they have social helpers which are almost like you merge field type of things that you use. If you just put permalink, it’ll put the link. If you add title, it’ll pull the title in, and if you put excerpt, it’ll pull the excerpt that you put in your blog post. And then you can create custom ones as well.
I know there are some things that we continue to… I keep talking about it all the time, “Hey, if you missed it last week, here’s that.” You can actually turn that into a social helper as well and it’s just a click of a button and it pops it in there.
You can automate quite a lot of this. The great thing about that is that it’s sit and forget. You don’t have to remember to keep promoting your content. It’s just going to do it for you. You can get so much out of a piece of content if you remember to keep marketing it well.
Darren: That’s right. This is all happening in WordPress so you don’t have to logout into another app. You can put your post in there, schedule it, and then schedule messages all in the one sitting and then it takes over.
Laney: Absolutely. Yup, just like that. We’ve already gotten to my third favourite one which is the template side of things. Doing all those social sharing templates, the helper text. We talked a little bit about workflow before. You can set up templates. When I do my weekly Facebook content, I schedule 30 pieces of content. I sit down and I schedule it across the week. I have a template that reminds me that I need seven questions, and six of these, and five of these. I put them all. They’ve all got placeholders within the schedule. Really, it’s just a matter of going in and filling them all in.
Something that I found recently which I thought was pretty cool, it isn’t necessarily something turned on as a default, you can actually apply it, is a headline analyzer.
Darren: This is great.
Laney: Once you’ve got your blog post set up in the calendar and you put your title on there, it’ll actually analyze your headline for you. I can tell that we need to do a little bit of work on there, it seems to be stuck in the late 60’s, mid 70’s.
Darren: Because you’re rating out of 100. The one I’m looking at for tomorrow, we rated 64. Maybe we could tweak that one a little.
Laney: I think we could. I think [00:22:08] as the length of our headlines. I like them to be a bit shorter. It does give you a rating but it also allows you to see how that rating came about based on your use of power words, or emotional words, or uncommon words versus common words as well. They do actually have a PDF. We’ll include it in the show notes: all emotional palette and uncommon words that you could use in your headlines just to get you out of the same old, same old and perhaps improve how well your blog posts perform. It’s just something really simple but it’s right there with your workflow. “Oh, better check my headline.” “Oh, maybe we could improve that.” That’s just something I’ve tuned on recently.
Darren: This is all again within WordPress and there’s a little link underneath it where you can get a full analysis of that headline and it will take you to another page where it goes into even more depth for that. How your headline is going to look in Google including the description, how it would look in the RSS feed, how it would look in a tweet. It actually gives you some more information if you want to dig in a little bit more about how it will look and some other suggestions there as well. That’s something I just discovered today too.
Laney: Yeah. CoSchedule is really smart about the level of reporting that they can give you. Some of them are only at the higher level plans that it’s included. But it just allows you to make your content work harder. I think that’s just the smartest thing about this.
Those are sort of the plan and the publish things that I really like about CoSchedule. I guess where the real power comes in though is the promotion and the automation of that promotion. We’ve already talked about how the social sharing templates help you do that. But another really neat little thing, if you’re going to schedule a social message and you think, “I should be sharing something from my Facebook page but I’m just not sure what.”
There’s a little button that just says share old post and you click it and you can go from last year, from the last six months. There’s a bit of a time scale that you can choose where the post could come from. It shows you a list of posts that you published previously. It even gives you a little indication to say how popular that post was in terms of how often it was shared. You can know, “Oh, that one actually performs really well. I’m going to share that one again.”
I really like that one. I think that’s great when you’re just looking for maybe a bit of a filler. If you think, “Oh, I’m not really saying much at the moment.” It’s a really easy way to just share some old content that could work well.
That comes from the top content report. This is really great when you log in and you’re looking at your dashboard, your dashboard is telling you, “This is what content you’ve got coming up. Here’s some content that’s performed really well in the past.” You can again adjust the time scale on that to see content recently or of all time.
For example, we’ve got a post that we shared on social etiquette that has been our most popular post in terms of how it’s been shared across the different platforms, that’s just a great way to say, “Oh, you know what? That’s a really good post. I should make sure that I share that again.” I’ll talk about this a little bit later as well when we talk about ReQueue but that’s a really good thing. If you see something that’s performing well, you can add it to your evergreen sharing schedule which is called ReQueue with CoSchedule.
Darren: The thing I like about that top content report is you can dig in a little bit and see where it’s been shared a lot. That post you mentioned was shared like crazy on Pinterest which is unusual for a lot of our posts so you can do that type of analysis on your types of posts that you publish and where they’re being shared which is really useful.
Laney: I’ve definitely looked at that previously and I’ve been surprised that some of the ones that performed really well on LinkedIn. You can see different titles are enjoyed and shared by different types of audience as well. Yes, definitely a good one to use to help you plan curation of your own content I guess as well but also giving you an understanding of that performed really well, let’s write more of that.
Darren: Excellent. Let’s go onto the next on. Number seven. I think we haven’t given out numbers but that’s number six just done. Seven is the next one.
Laney: There is a chrome extension. As you’re cruising around the internet and you read something interesting, you can just click the chrome extension and create a social message right there and then. It’ll go into your social schedule.
Darren: That’s great. I just did that. I installed it this afternoon actually because I saw you mentioned that, and I’m like ooh, I need to get that one, so I shared one. It was great. I used the Best Time thing. You did mention Best Time before in terms of queuing up a social message. Best Time basically looks at your previous social interactions and works out when other things have worked out well for you in terms of timing. That was quite good.
Laney: That’s right. It looks at the levels of high engagement. In terms of trying to get your own content shared not just by yourself but by others, there is another little app that you can download through CoSchedule called Click to Tweet. It does allow you to insert a click to tweet cute little box right within your own content as well. Rather than just relying on social sharing buttons, there’s other ways that you can get people, encourage people to share you story. I just thought that was pretty cool.
Darren: Is that where you add in a sentence that you think people might be inspired by and then they click that and it tweets out that on their account?
Laney: That’s correct and it shares your post.
Darren: That’s great.
Laney: Number nine, ReQueue. We were talking about this just before. ReQueue is an Evergreen content scheduler. If you’ve got content that’s always going to perform really well, then you can create a social sharing schedule for that, a calendar just for that. The different platforms that you want to go add on, you can say the Twitter, we want to go these times or only this many times in a day, or a week, or a month. It’s very similar obviously to Edgar which we use. It will also schedule things in and around all of the other content that you’re scheduling when you’re creating blog posts and things as well.
Darren: Basically, it’s creating a library of tweets or Facebook updates and then you tell it how often you want things to go out.
Laney: That’s correct. One of the things, we didn’t really use this much, we’re just starting to try a lot recently, is that if you’ve got a great post and you can see on that top content report that it’s performing really, there’s just a little toggle. You can just toggle out onto ReQueue and it will go into your library. You’ve got your different categories and things well. You can group them all differently.
Say you’ve got different groups of content and you can say when they want to be shared too. It’s quite good and that actually keeps everything together. If you’re creating social posts for your blog post, and podcast, and everything like that, then there’s schedules around those as well.
Darren: That’s very cool. To have it all in one place, I think again, is the thing that I love about this. We’ve got Edgar going at the moment but Edgar is not talking to CoSchedule and so to be able to have it all happening within CoSchedule so that those evergreen messages are not going to clash with the new messages that goes out makes a lot of sense to me.
Laney: That’s right. At the moment, we have created a template of sharing times that work around when we know things are going out on Edgar so we try to coordinate those to make sure that they don’t clash. ReQueue I guess is a bit more intelligent because it’s within the same system and it can see when you’ve got other content scheduled as well.
My number 10. Google Analytics tracking. This isn’t included in all of the plans, like the first plan, it’s not included in. But it’s worth it. Sometimes for me because I’m still getting used to things, I could spend maybe an hour and a half scheduling all of our social for a week, for example. You think, “Is it worth it?” What CoSchedule allows you to do is integrate with your Google Analytics account and what that will do is it will automatically add your team tracking link to every post that goes out for CoSchedule.
When you go into your Google Analytics and you look in the acquisition section and go to campaigns, you’ll see that CoSchedule is in there. If you click on it and drill down, you can see where exactly the traffic has come from. Whether it’s been the Facebook page, the Facebook group, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, wherever, that will actually show up in your report so you can see how well your social scheduling is actually generating traffic for you.
Darren: This is gold because a lot of people look at where traffic is coming to their blog and they see Facebook. They don’t know where on Facebook it’s come from. Previous to us using UTM codes in Google Analytics, we just saw Facebook. It was just this massive collection of traffic. It could be from our page, it could be from our group, it could be from someone else’s page. We never knew. But now, we know at least our Facebook page has sent this much traffic through the UTM track links and our Facebook group has sent this much as well.
We can even see other people who are using CoSchedule as well so I could see someone in there at the moment. Their Facebook group sent us three visits over the last month which is kind of handy to know. I can see on Twitter that someone that we know well used CoSchedule to share on her Twitter feed as well. That’s really handy to know.
Laney: That’s exactly right. We can see other people curating our content and sharing it via CoSchedule, which is cool. Again, to be able to get those different results separated out from your general Facebook traffic, because when you look at Facebook onto your social channels, that doesn’t include your CoSchedule traffic. You have to add those together so you know. It’s really good to be able to measure your efforts and making sure that you’re getting a routine on it.
Darren: That’s right. We’ve raved and gushed over CoSchedule there. Maybe just to bring a bit of balance to it, what don’t we like about it? How could they improve it? One of the things I will say about them is that they are adding features constantly, getting messages every time I login to CoSchedule about something new that they’ve added. Other things that we want to see, that we get frustrated with?
Laney: I think this is a cool thing but sometimes it annoys me. The fact that you can actually tag someone as you’re creating a social post. For example, on Twitter or Facebook, I might want to tag somebody, you can use the @ symbol and it allows just like it does on the platform itself. The name pops up and it’s great. You can click on it and you know that that’s actually going to tag him when that post goes out.
Sometimes, I can’t find them. It can be a bit frustrating and you have to try different things or separate the name out a bit or put it together. Sometimes, I can’t even find them even though I know they exist. At least you can actually tag them and schedule it to do that as well.
We were talking about being able to view the social schedule in WordPress, the backend, sometimes I can’t scroll to the end of my schedule. I can’t actually scroll any further. I don’t know if that’s got anything to do with the amount of all the stuff we’ve got in our WordPress backend that might be taking up a bit of real estate.
Speaking of that, they’ve actually got an app now. You can actually schedule on the go from your phone, which is great. Maybe that’s number 11, they have an app to your phone.
I guess for me, being really vigil, I like to see the big picture. With CoSchedule, the calendar view, you can decide whether you want us to see four, five, I think maybe six weeks. You can choose but I would like to see months at a time sometimes or just the entire month from start to finish. It usually starts halfway through. I haven’t quite figured that out yet. Sometimes, I get a little bit frustrated that I can’t see more at once which is when I go back to the spreadsheet. I get the overview anyway but it’s just a little thing that I think it would be great if you were able to customize a little more how you viewed your upcoming content.
Darren: I think they start on a Sunday and they end on a Saturday so they add in extra days.
Laney: You can change that too. You can change the day that it starts on. But what I’m not sure, I changed it to the way that I like it, do you have to see that as well or can you change it to the way you like it as well? I’m not sure. Maybe we can experiment with that one.
Darren: Yeah, we might have to try that. Overall though, they’re fairly minor things like probably little glitches, it may also be that we’ve got a fairly large archive of 8,000 posts in the backend of our site. It might be churning through a bit of extra to get through it all.
It seems like a very powerful tool and as you said before, we’re discovering new things all the time. That’s probably because they’re adding in new features but also there’s a lot to dig into there. One of my questions for you is, is there much of a learning curve? And potentially, is it going to suit certain types of people more than others personality wise? I’m asking that with an agenda.
Laney: It was actually Stacey who was editing at the time. She had used it personally for her own blog. We were looking at it and I’m like, “This is great. I love it.” We were just such little nerds looking at it together getting excited about the pretty colors and everything. But even then, I would still find it quite overwhelming to look at. When you’ve got a whole bunch of social messages scheduled and there’s different colors and you’re not intuitively understanding what the different colors mean, it can be really overwhelming.
One thing that CoSchedule does allow you to do is to filter what you’re looking at. If you just want to look at blog posts, you can do that or if you just want to look at Twitter messages, you can do that as well. It can adjust quite well to those different personality types. All the pretty colors, sometimes it was just a bit much for me.
It took me I guess a good few weeks to start to understand what I was looking at and how it worked. During that time, CoSchedule bought in a few little cool things. If you hovered on the blog post that you were looking at, it animated and highlighted the social post that are associated with it and that made it for me a lot easier to see what was going on as well. There’s little things like that.
I know that you’ve probably been a little bit on that overwhelm camp when you go on to have a look at that as well, which is why I’ve pointed out the filtering things to you before as well so you can sort of just shut down the things that you don’t want to see so you can get the information out that you do need. In terms of learning, it’s all fairly intuitive. It’s not that hard to learn and it is pretty customizable to your own preferences as well.
Darren: I am not a structured person and that won’t be a surprise to anyone listening to this who’s listened to more than a couple of episodes. As a result of that, it does feel a bit spreadsheet-y and a bit organized for me but it’s what I need. If I didn’t have the structures in my life, I don’t think I’d get much done. This is the type of thing that I’ve had to force myself into. Every week, I’m learning a new tool and I’m learning a new feature. I’m learning how to shut down things which is really useful. I guess I would like it almost that if I could log into it and only see from the start certain things, maybe I’ll just need to learn how to set it up a little better.
It can be a bit overwhelming but I think it’s well worth persisting with. I’m seeing the power in it more and more.
Laney: For sure. I think it is friendlier than a spreadsheet and that if you go into a blog post, we can have the conversation on the sidebar or I can have notes for you, or a set of tasks assigned to you with due dates.
Darren: Which I then ignore.
Laney: Yes, you’re very good at that. It does allow you to have more of a collaborative approach at content than just a Spreadsheet. For that, I think that’s really great. Again, if you’re working with teams, but even if you’re just working on your own, there are so many things that you need to remember. I think it’s great to have a set list of tasks even if it’s something as simple as when I create the blog post, I will check the headline, do this, do that. Don’t forget to select the category. Don’t forget to set the featured image.
All those little things that you’ve just thought. It’s so satisfying to tick those little boxes off as you go, if you’re that kind of personality type. It makes you feel productive and in control and you are being productive because you’re actually creating content and there are lots of things in there that supports you to do that. I think as you become more consistent with it, it helps you to be consistent and I guess more prolific.
Darren: I think it’s also about habits as well. This is one of the things I realized when I started the podcast and I was setting it all up myself. I needed a system. I needed a pattern to follow to be able to get those podcasts, those 31 podcast up in 31 days. I created a little to-do list and I was able to check it off every podcast. After 15 or so podcasts, I didn’t need the to-do list anymore. If you’re trying to get into the habit of social sharing, of checking your headlines, of optimizing your post in different ways, I think CoSchedule could be really useful in that regard as well.
Let’s talk a little bit about how much this amazing system costs. It’s not a free tool although there is a 14 day trial so you can certainly test it out for free.
Laney: That’s right. When you go onto the site and look at the pricing plans, it says it starts at $30 a month. That’s for a marketing calendar or like a blogging or solopreneur calendar but there is actually a solo standard package which is one step back which is $15 per month or $19 if it’s month by month. We’re talking in US dollars here.
It’s available for one user, you can have up to five social profiles on it. You get access to the calendar and social scheduling. There are restrictions on the integration so you can’t integrate with Google Analytics, or with Google Drive, or Evernote for example, but you can still create your content in there. You can still schedule it. You won’t have custom templates for social sharing or task management.
It’s a much more slimmed down version of what we’ve been talking about today. But definitely a great place to start if you want to go further than the 14 day trial. Otherwise, you’re starting at $30 a month or $39 month to month. That’s going to give you, again, still, you’ve got your one website with the calendar, your 10 social profiles, and you’ll be able to do most of the things that we talked about today other than customized workflows for tasks and things like that with the team because that’s not a team plan as such.
We’re on the next. It’s the team marketing which is $60 a month or $79 month to month.
Darren: I think starting out on that standard plan would give you a lot of the features and in some ways, it would be a good place to start because you’ve got less things you can do which means you’re probably going to be a little less overwhelmed by it as well.
Laney: With those standard and solo marketing plans, they don’t include ReQueue which we talked about so you can actually add that on. That’s $30 a month if you’re solo and $60 if you’re a team. That is an add on. If you go to the pro levels, it’s included.
Darren: I guess the big question that a lot of our listeners are thinking is is it worth it? Is it going to pay for itself? This is one of the things I always ask myself when I’m looking at a tool like this. How am I going to make that money back in some way? Do you think it is going to be worthwhile? It’s probably going to change from person to person but has it been for us?
Laney: In terms of saving time, absolutely. Just in time saved where I can then use that time doing something else, that’s creating value for the company for sure. It really helps you to streamline your efforts. It’s like an opportunity cost, really. It’s that saved up time. Use it somewhere else to be valuable.
I guess as well, it’s ensuring that the time that you do put into creating content is maximized like marketing it to its full potential. One of the things that we’re definitely looking at, so when I do that weekly schedule on Facebook, one of the types of content that I’m making sure that we originally had on that schedule is optimized content. Evergreen content that we know will drive revenue for us in some way, whether it’s promoting a product or promoting an affiliate offer for example.
Just having that on a bit of a sit and forget type of thing that you just know that it’s just passively going to be working away for you definitely allows you to have that return on that investment on that tool.
It isn’t a huge outlay each month. One of the things you can do is become an affiliate for CoSchedule. It’s not a monetary reward but you do earn credits as discounts towards it. You can essentially end up using it for free.
Darren: It’s probably worth disclosing that we use an affiliate link for CoSchedule when we mentioned it on the blog but we’ve already paid for it so we maxed out, we’ve referred 10 people so we get it now for free by having referred those 10 people. That’s one way to cut down the cost if you do have an audience that might be interested in it.
I think for me, if I was a new blogger just starting out, if I already had tools for a library of re sharing evergreen content, if I already had a system in place for sharing content, if I already was using spreadsheets for an editorial calendar, I guess I could probably say maybe it’s not worth it because I’m spending the money on some of those other tools where I’ve already got systems in place. The only reason I would switch to this if I had all those things in place is to have them all in the one space. That certainly is going to save me some time. That’s where I’d be headed.
But if I was a blogger starting out who didn’t have all those tools in place, but wanted to step things up and wanted to get some systems and some automation in what I was doing, then this would be a tool that I would definitely be doing the free trial of. If not, going a step further.
Laney: Agree, 100%. Even if you are already using other paid tools and different systems, and things like that, that is worth doing the math and figuring out, “Well hang on a minute, I’m paying this here and that there, this over here, I could be doing this in one place and it would cost this much and just comparing those sums as well.”
Darren: I think even comparing the cost of CoSchedule for us if we were paying for it as a new user, we would be able to cut out a couple of the other services and probably be paying less. In terms of the support and how they’re upgrading, what they’re doing, they’ve been fairly responsive with us I think.
Laney: For sure. Their support is always responsive and friendly. They’ve got a good ticketing system through email. You can contact them directly through the app on your desktop and it all goes into email so there’s a record of your conversations with them. They’ve always been friendly and helpful and there hasn’t really been anything that they haven’t helped me figure out. It’s usually just me not knowing what to do. How do I find this tag? How do I integrate this?
For example, when we just moved the podcast over to the same install as the blog, I was really excited about that because I wanted to see all the podcast in the same calendar as the blog, live and real time. They didn’t show up and I’m like, “Oh, why is it not showing up?” And it is just a process that I had to go through to enable things. Click this. Do that. There we have it.
Darren: It is working beautifully. Alright, I think we’ve covered enough of there. We will link in the show notes to CoSchedule. I guess if there are any other questions that listeners have, they can chat to you in the Facebook group. You’re very active in our ProBlogger community Facebook group. If you’ve got any other feedback or other suggestions of other tools that do this type of stuff, we’re all ears on that as well.
Thanks, Laney. I appreciate it.
Laney: You’re welcome, Darren.
Darren: I hope you enjoyed that particular interview and check out CoSchedule. As I said, we do link to it in today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/195, or you can just Google CoSchedule, or got to coschedule.com where you’ll find it as well. We do link to that PDF in the show notes as well on some of those keywords that you can use to increase the effectiveness of your headlines. We’ll link to that in the show notes as well.
Lastly, head over to our Facebook group at problogger.com/group where we do link to all of our new podcasts so it’s a great way to subscribe to the podcast but also we share new posts on ProBlogger and there’s so much discussion going on in there. It’s actually getting so active now that every morning, I get up and spend a good half an hour reading through what has been discussed while I’ve been asleep. There’s some really good stuff happening in that group. Again, that’s at problogger.com/group. I really do appreciate everyone who’s been active in there.
Lastly, if you’ve got a moment and you’re listening on iTunes or another podcast network like Stitcher, please leave us a review. It does help us a lot. It gives me a lot of energy to read those reviews but it also helps us to be found by more people. I appreciate those reviews that are being left.
Thanks for listening today. Be in touch with you in the next week with episode 196. If you got any ideas about how we should celebrate our 200th episode, let us know as well over on the show notes or in the group too. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week.
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