This is part 2 of a 2 part series on CoSchedule, the editorial calendar we use at Nimbus Themes. In this part, I’ll delve more into how to use CoSchedule to manage your blog and social media promotion.
In part 1 of our CoSchedule review, I discussed the various features that CoSchedule offers, but only in an abstract sense. Now, I want to give you some context for those features and show you how we actually use CoSchedule to run the Nimbus Themes blog.
In this post, you’ll get a feel for how you could implement CoSchedule on your own blog to accomplish the following:
- Develop a content calendar
- Streamline your workflow
- Improve your content promotion
In order to give a full view of how we use CoSchedule, I’m going to have to switch perspectives occasionally. Why is that? Because I’m just a freelance writer. So I don’t handle some stuff like social media post scheduling.
And that, again, is part of the beauty of CoSchedule. Workflows are clearly divided and easy to follow. Let’s get into everything else…
What Do We Like About Using CoSchedule?
Let’s start at the beginning. Why would we opt to use a paid tool like CoSchedule over a free editorial calendar or a project management tool like Asana or Trello?
For a few reasons, all of which build on each other.
First off, CoSchedule helps us stay organized. We can quickly see which posts are publishing soon and which posts are still being drafted. There’s no guesswork or danger of accidentally forgetting about something. It’s all right there on the calendar.
Second, it helps us manage tasks while working as a distributed team. I’m out here in Vietnam, so I can’t exactly hop on Skype with someone in the States at a minute’s notice (it’s a 12-15 hour time difference!).
But with CoSchedule, all the workflows are clearly defined so that we don’t need to be in constant real-time communication to get work done.
Third, and one of the major selling points of CoSchedule, is that CoSchedule puts the whole process in one place. I don’t just mean from draft post to published post. I mean from draft post all the way through to social media promotion. And that means you’ll both:
- Save time, and
- Have a more cohesive blogging strategy.
And finally, there’s what is perhaps the most important thing:
CoSchedule integrates everything into your WordPress dashboard. That means you don’t have to juggle different tools. When you create a new scheduled post in CoSchedule, there’s a draft sitting right there in WordPress. When you add a publishing date to CoSchedule, your WordPress draft is automatically scheduled to go out on that date.
Get the idea? It’s all there in one place.
How We Use CoSchedule For the Nimbus Themes Magazine
Ok, here’s the part where I actually show you how we use everything. Let’s start with our mission control center:
The CoSchedule Calendar
This is what I hit when I click on the CoSchedule link in the dashboard sidebar. It tells me, at a glance, everything I’m responsible for in the upcoming weeks. For example, I can quickly see that I have to submit the copy for this post on March 27th, because this post will be published on April 6th (that means I better get writing!).
Oh, and remember how this is part 2? Well, I can quickly see that part 1 will go out a week in advance.
And in the screenshot, you’ll also be able to see a few of my other upcoming posts (spoiler alert!):
But let’s say I want to get a picture of what everyone else is writing, too. All I need to do is change the view and I can quickly view the bigger picture:
Easy Workflows: Viewing Tasks for a Single Post
The calendar view is great for a big picture of everything that’s going on at Nimbus Themes. But it’s a bit too overwhelming to track the tasks for a specific post. So to dig into a post in more detail, I can click on it from the calendar view.
Now, I can see everything that needs to happen for this specific post:
If you look at the task list, you can get a peek out our workflow. Typically, things work like this:
- Sarah assigns me a post – that creates the actual entry in CoSchedule.
- I submit a proposed title and outline for the post.
- Kendall approves the title and outline (hopefully!).
- I submit the full copy, all right in the normal WordPress Editor
- Kendall does a final edit and schedules the post to go live.
- Kendall adds the featured image.
- Sarah writes the social media posts to help promote the post when it’s finished.
If we had to go back and forth about all of that stuff for every single post… it would be a nightmare.
But with CoSchedule, we just tick off each task as it’s completed. That way, we’re able to track everything and the process actually requires very little real-time communication!
If we do need to clarify anything, all we do is hop over to the discussion tab and leave a comment:
With some sites, I have to submit a Google Doc and then play email tag with regards to potential revisions. With CoSchedule, CoSchedule collects everything in one place.
And up until the last step (social media), all this magic happens directly in the normal WordPress Editor.
But when it gets to the part where Sarah schedules social media posts, CoSchedule offers another really helpful feature.
Social Media Promotion: Easy Advance Scheduling
Once Kendall approves the final copy for publishing, it’s time for Sarah to schedule out the social media posts to help promote the post.
See, as I’ve been harping on, everything is connected with CoSchedule. What’s the benefit of that with regards to social media? You don’t need to worry about forgetting to promote a blog post.
Without CoSchedule, you have to either:
- Manually share your posts on social media whenever they’re published.
- Manually schedule posts in advance using something like Buffer, a completely unconnected interface!
With CoSchedule, all Sarah has to do is go into her normal WordPress dashboard and add a new social campaign:
She can easily sync social media posts up with concrete terms like:
Same day as publish.
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s about as simple as social media scheduling gets.
Just as with tools like Buffer, we can add social accounts for all the popular networks. And CoSchedule even includes a tool to help us post at the times which get us the most engagement.
And Sarah can also build out a whole series of posts in advance. She’s not just limited to one. So Sarah can build a whole promotion calendar like:
- Share on day of publishing
- Share the day after publishing
- Share one week after publishing
And then, everything runs on autopilot.
Wrapping Things Up
In the end, I think the draw of CoSchedule basically boils down to this:
There are tools that can do a piece of everything in our process. But there aren’t tools that put it all in one place… with that place being right inside your WordPress dashboard.
CoSchedule isn’t the cheapest tool. But you know what else isn’t cheap? Poor workflows and wasting time switching back and forth between a set of unconnected tools. Time is money, right?
So, if you want to streamline your content planning, organization, and promotion, you should seriously consider trying CoSchedule. You get a 14-day free trial, so you’re not out anything just for giving it a shot!