The best thing I ever did for my blogging career was to start using an editorial calendar. Before that, I had notes everywhere, most of which ended up going nowhere; I didn’t maintain a consistent publishing schedule; and I’d frequently sit down at the beginning of every day with no idea what I was going to write about (a deadly situation for a chronic procrastinator).
Editorial calendars allowed me to plan my publishing schedule, co-ordinate with other writers and editors, see where each piece of content was is its lifecycle, develop consistent writing practices, and hit my deadlines. In short, it allowed me to externalize management and planning, so that I didn’t have to rely on my memory.
There are several WordPress plugins that will add an editorial calendar to WordPress, including the excellent WordPress Editorial Calendar, which I have used extensively, but today I’d like to take a look at CoSchedule.
CoSchedule is an editorial calendar that allows users to plan, schedule, and collaborate on content. As a basic editorial calendar, it offers most of the functionality a publisher would expect. It’s easy to add new posts, attach tasks that can be assigned specific writers, make editorial comments on posts, and schedule publication. The interface itself is one of the most pleasant I’ve come across, allowing users to rearrange their calendar by simply dragging entries to new dates.
But the most impressive feature of CoSchedule, and the one from which it derives its name, is that it is fully integrated with social media. Users can associate multiple social media postings with each post. This is a clever way of doing things because it allows publishers to think of an article and its social promotion as one unit. When posts are rescheduled via the drag-and-drop interface, their social posts are rescheduled along with them. It’s a huge timesaver to be able to be able to move posts around and have the accompanying promotional posts moved with them.
Social media posts can be scheduled, so it’s possible to attach future social media messages to post. One of my major problems managing social media of blogs has been remembering that one Tweet or Facebook posts is not sufficient to optimize traffic: it’s better to tweet again the next day, the next week, the next month, and so on. CoSchedule helps me remember to set up these future social media shares at the same time I write or edit content. It helps remove much of the headache around planning and promoting content so that I can concentrate on writing and editing it.
CoSchedule is a cloud application that provides a WordPress plugin that syncs data between the site and the service: most of the work happens on the CoSchedule application, rather than on your site, which means that it doesn’t slow your site down.
The service costs $10 a month, which might not be worth it if you’re running a small personal blog, but for anyone running a blog with multiple writers or who needs to publish consistently, CoSchedule is a great aid to getting things done.