Co-Schedule Social Media Management Tool - The Definitive Review and Tutorial 2019 - Pros, Cons, & Comparisons.
Everything you need to know about Co-Schedule. Why it is one of the most popular Social Media Management tools for businesses.
Great if you are looking for a complex machine! Worked smoothly and without any flaws.
Could be improved slightly which is an obstacle for small businesses.
Very easy to use and you can schedule out things in advance and edit once they are scheduled.
Great range of support options available and when making improvement requests, was taken seriously.
We Don't Like
So, before I dive straight into my review of Co-Schedule, I’ll begin by outlining just a very brief view of the company and how it all began.
Co-Schedule was founded in 2013 by Justin Walsh and Garrett Moon. They ‘brainstormed’ this idea while they were traveling on a plane to North Dakota from Atlanta. The idea behind it was that the creators found that they had far too many spreadsheets and to-do lists and didn’t have enough productive work regularly being published. This led them to wanting to create a tool that would help bloggers and marketers to plan AND publish ideas, then share them with the world while at the same time, saving time. Hence the birth of Co-Schedule.
Co-Schedule is cloud-based and is a management tool that allows both individuals and large teams to schedule, coordinate and manage online content, campaigns and promotions all from inside their WordPress dashboard.
Co-Schedule is both beautifully designed and practical which is primarily down to its drag and drop abilities. No more having log into loads of different accounts or opening up multiple programmes then losing track of what has actually been completed. With Co-Schedule everything can be viewed in one localized place.
So, what is an Editorial Calendar?
Before I go full pelt into Co-Schedule’s review, I think its best just to take a few minutes going over what exactly an Editorial Calendar is.
Basically, editorial calendars are extremely useful tools that are used to help you manage daily task lists when creating content for newsletters, blog posts, social media and website information. Any editorial calendar worth its salt should be able to:
- Offer an area where ideas can be brainstormed, and keywords and ideas can be posted
- Allow you to assign projects/writing assignments to your team members
- Create and ‘all access’ publishing schedule
- Provide a ‘user-friendly interface’ to make any scheduling changes easier
- Be a place where any team member is able to communicate easily
Co-Schedule does stand out from other editorial calendars as it houses some extremely important features that are unique compared with most other generic editorial calendars that are on the market today.
User Interface and Experience
In this section, you’ll learn jus how easy Co-Schedule is to use.
You last thing you want to be doing with any social media management tool is to be spending hours and hours getting to grips with the dashboard.
So, here goes…..
The thing I love best about Co-Schedule is that it’s easy to get started and FREE!!
Creating a Co-Schedule account is easy and fast. You need to enter your contact information together with your business details and preferred password. It was a minimalist sign-up process AND the best part was, no payment was required.
For the first 14 days, Co-Schedule is free and you are able to cancel your trial at any time. Overall, it’s very straightforward to set up a profile and first calendar. When I had set up my profile, I was automatically asked by Co-Schedule all the details they required for their set-up process. I was guided by them every step of the way so felt totally at ease.
Once you get to work with the tool itself, you will find that it is very much the same – offering loads of intuitive features and guidance.
There are three main functions located in the left panel, which are Re-Queue, Calendar and Analytics. Further on in this review I will outline what these features do and how you can use them.
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get up and running.
I managed to activate and install the plugin and create a Co-Schedule account in under 5 minutes!! Definitely a first for me!!. The setting screens are very straightforward and within 15 minutes I was ready to start adding the articles.
By going into General Settings, you can connect your blog to your Co-Schedule account. This is the area where you can set your time zone – mine automatically knew what mine was, so I didn’t need to change anything.
Setting up Co-Schedules profiles was a breeze. The best bit is that you can connect as many profiles as you want, yep you heard me correctly – every Facebook profile or page, Twitter or LinkedIn profile, Tumblr blog or Google+ page, each can be added with just a couple of clicks.
What I really love about Co-Schedule’s Integrations is that they include a load of tools that I already use in my blogging. This means that I don’t have to use the tools that work with the plugin and can keep the tools that already work for me.
So, in a nutshell, the user experience, for me, was seamless. It was elegant, simple and intuitive. I would say that one of the most exciting features was their super slick drag and drop interface. Everything is exactly where you need it when you need it. The creators have managed to create an interface which is intuitive and unobtrusive – and made a damn fine job of it!!.
I could talk all day about the slickness of Co-Schedule but believe a better way of experiencing it is to experience it yourself. Give it a try and let me know how you get on. ..
In this section, I’ll be discussing how good Co-Schedule is at scheduling your content.
You’ll learn whether Co-Schedule will put your social media on autopilot and get your inbox full of new enquires.
I look at Co-Schedule as being a visual calendar that allows me to see clearly and easily when my different social media posts are scheduled to go out. Posts can be scheduled in advance as well as popular content being automatically re-posted (which is also referred to as ‘Re-Queuing’, meaning that your audience will never miss out on your great content.
Can I use Co-Schedule as my Social Media Calendar?
Now, I’ll be totally honest, like any other software it was slightly intimidating. As it integrates into several social media platforms including WordPress, it did take me a little bit of time to take it all in. To make it easier, I began by using it primarily for my social media accounts, which were:
Pinterest (Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Tumbler were included, but I don’t use these yet).
Setting up Social Media Campaigns
I thought I would include these in my review as ‘Social Media Campaigns’ were a term I had heard as a buzzword but until I wrote this review, didn’t really know what they meant. So, for all you people like me, this next section is for you!!.
A social media campaign is basically a series of social media messages which are posted at various times but all with the same objective. An example could be when a music artist launches a new album, the 1,000 tweets you see are a set of tweets which are collectively referred to as a social media campaign.
I personally use their social media campaign to promote my new blog content. By clicking on the campaign button, I can then set up a template for the new income reports. I have included a screenshot below, where I have added the URL of the promotional post, it then inserts automatically the specific hyperlink into a set of messages which are scheduled to be sent out the same day, the following day, a week or month later. All of the times can be changed, and each message does include a default message such as ‘check this out’, which I tend to tweak each time I schedule them. This is by far one of my favorite features as it provides a month worth of new content for social media messages which were created in only a few seconds !!
Automatically re-posting popular content
One of Co-Schedules popular features is ‘Re-Queueing’. This basically creates a supply of messages for automatic publishing, if at any time there are gaps in the social media calendar. For example, if I post three tweets per day, and I didn’t have any posts going out on Friday, Co-Schedule will then pull an old social media post from the social media message library to then fill the gap – pretty neat eh?
The Planning and Scheduling of Blog Posts
Another great feature with Co-Schedule is that it allows me to PLAN my blog posts. For example, I can plan either a blog post (or several) for publication next week then, using Co-Schedule can choose the date that it is to be published, can assign team members tasks and set reminders etc. The best part is, I can do this via the Co-Schedule website or via my WordPress site – whichever way I choose the scheduled posts will still appear in my calendar.
To begin a blog post by using the Co-Schedule plugin within the WordPress blog, go to Calendar.
You will then be taken to your calendar where the week, months or year plan is displayed, illustrated below is how the page will look.
So, if for example, I want to publish something on Saturday, then I just click the date on the calendar and choose what it is that I want to create e.g. a blog post, article, social media message or a note, task or event.
As we are looking at blog posts, click on ‘blog post’.
By clicking on blog post, Co-Schedule will automatically create a blank page, as shown below.
To begin with, a title needs to be created and typed into the title box.
Because Co-Schedule is fully organized, it lets you attach color labels to each blog. To do that just click on the +Label which is located on the upper right of the screen.
Next assign the blog either to a team member or yourself, or whoever is completing the blog entry. To do this click on the +Owner on the top right-hand side of the screen and you will see a drop-down menu which lists the members in your team.
Then click on ‘Create Blog Post’.
Remember, at this stage, the blog post is only a draft. When you click on the Create Blog Post button, there are various options as to how the blog post is to be created. You can either use Co-Schedule’s text editor, use WordPress’ standard editor, upload a pre-created document, Google docs or other options.
Below is what the Co-Schedule text editor looks like.
In this section we’ll expose Co-Schedule’s performance monitoring features.
Stamford Rule: If it can’t be measured, you can’t grow.
To be able to regularly evaluate your social media strategy, you will need to be able to access real results about your social media performance. These include the social media metrics such as re-tweets, likes and click-through rates – these all display how well the content is performing and highlight what areas may need tweaking.
Let’s see how Co-Schedule performs…
Co-Schedule offers a range of analytics and data to dive into and is continuously upgrading their platform and adding more features. At the moment they are preparing release social automation features – something I can’t wait to see!!. Another super thing it is looking to roll out is having the capability to tag Facebook pages into your shares – which is something that could be a real game changer!!
Co-Schedule keep tabs of the amount of times that posts have been shared via social media. This is something I enjoy seeing – knowing how much engagement my content attracts on sites such as Facebook and Pinterest. It also helps me identify which posts and content are gaining the most hits or that are not so popular which in turn help me structure future content.
Analytics at a glance…
Here’s a question for you, imagine if you could track your team’s productivity??
Imagine being able to ACCURATELY see which team members are flying ahead and which ones are falling behind…
Well, guess what… with Co-Schedules team performance report, the ‘what ifs’ become the ‘possibilities’. In the analytics section is the team performance report is located, this allows you to see the completion rate for assigned tasks via your team members.
The date range can be easily customized via the platform to give you a complete overview of the completion rate of your team, as shown in the illustration below:
Team members individual rates can also be viewed, as shown below:
Located at the top right-hand side is where you can designate a specific campaign or project, Co-Schedule will then display the completion rate for that particular project.
The image below illustrates the search for a project titled “Learn How to Plan + Organize Your Marketing Strategy in Less Than 2 weeks [ Free Course]”
And… here’s the results:
Let’s explore Co-Schedule’s integration abilities….
We don’t want a social media management tool that doesn’t talk to our other software right?
If we want a stress free life and stay ahead of the game, all our software needs to work synchronously. After all, if Co-Schedule isn’t integrated, this results in increased costs and increased labor time.
It’s one God Dang pain in the butt when we find a great tool then find out we can’t integrate it with our other in-house software such as our CRM.
So let’s dive in and find out how Co-Schedule performs.
Co-Schedule works very closely with several other significant pieces of software. A perfect example being WordPress. Your calendar can be viewed via your blog and you are even able to generate social media campaigns at the bottom of blog posts and you create them.
Evernote can be synced with the calendar, and then any notes added which have been saved to your events. Therefore, if there is research that you have and want to use in a blog post, it can be added to the event together with the tasks and other related items.
To find out which social media posts are receiving the most attention, you can integrate Google Analytics and make all the links small and neat with the link shortening service. It is even possible to integrate your own Google Calendar to display everything that is on Co-Schedule there as well.
The integration for Co-Schedule are:
- WordPress –Drafts that have been created in the WordPress dashboard can be turned into real content by directly uploading into Co-Schedule.
- Chrome Extension – This makes sharing your content and others easy to do AND you won’t ever have to leave your browser.
- Evernote and Google Docs – These two popular tools are integrated into Co-Schedule, so you are able to drag and drop projects straight into the editorial calendar from external sources.
- Google Calendar – This allows you to share with other Google Calendar users any content marketing plans simply by synchronizing the two tools.
- Google Analytics – By using custom Google Analytics tags, Co-Schedule shows you how your content has improved. It illustrates how many times your specific content has been shared over the web and where together with what content is providing the best results.
- Bit.ly – By connecting your Bit.ly custom account into Co-Schedule, you will be able to shorten permalinks.
- Buffer – to easily spread your content to Google+, integrate your Buffer account into Co-Schedule.
When scheduling a blog post, Co-Schedule allows you to set up conditional social media posts. Each channel that is set up can have separate messages created, enabling you to send 140 characters to Twitter, to create a client-based call to action via LinkedIn and for Facebook or Google+, create third party messages.
Social messages an also be scheduled for the same day and time that the post is published, or a day later or basically any custom timeframe you want.
What I love about Co-Schedule is that I am able to add social messages at the bottom of every post -without the need of having to go into a different calendar screen, which makes it totally intuitive and convenient.
Engagement really is the name of the game for marketers when talking about Social Media. Nowadays, it is not enough for companies to simply just use their social channels to broadcast information. Social, really needs to be social.
I think that one of THE most important factors of social marketing is monitoring keyword and brands and of course – listening to people. Co-Schedule, together with its advanced scheduling feature, does focus quite heavily on monitoring, engagement and analytics, which you will have no doubt noticed from this review.
How did Co-Schedule do?
So, what is the easiest way to understand Social media engagement?
Well, with Co-Schedule it is by using the Social Analytics’ feature.
Social Analytics can be found in your Co-Schedule marketing calendar and will allow you to:
- Measure how successful your social messages are – which will make re-sharing the most engaging content easy.
- Prove the ROI of work you have done – Numbers don’t lie, you will easily be able to prove your value to your clients/boss or even yourself.
- Recognise and understand yourengagement on social media – Identify trends within your social networks and content quickly and easily. By understanding what your audience likes now, you can act quickly.
- Knowwhat is working (and what isn’t) – View and compare your performance over all of your social networks easily in one convenient place
But, wait there’s more!
With Co-Schedule’s Social Profile Reports, you are able to:
Gain access to the top social profile reports – all from one dashboard. No more having to download reports via individual platforms or multiple third-party tools. Important social KPI’s for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest can be viewed quickly and easily from the inside of Co-Schedule.
- Hone your social strategy by using actionable insight – Keep track of your social performance to tell at a glance what is or isn’t working. Keep your social strategy updated by using real-time data.
- Create posts that really stand out and connect with your audience – No more having to guess what will resonate with your followers. You can use the social profile reports to identify engaging content AND then start creating posts that your audience will simply love.
- Receive social profile reports directly into your inbox with scheduled reports – Easy to understand reports and be easily created and sent to your team members either on a weekly or monthly basis which will keep everyone up to date with your performance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
The Co–Schedule Headline Analyzer
One thing that all content marketers understand is how much power is held within a well-crafted headline, even more so when it is being shared across social media. The bottom line is that a compelling headline can either make or break your engagement.
The question is though, how can you be certain that the headlines are optimized in such a way that they are reaching their full potential?
Well, that’s where the Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer can help.
This is a no-frills tool, that shows you exactly what is wrong with a headline PLUS it suggests how you can make it better.
You’re probably thinking, ‘how is that possible’?
So, based on the words that have been used in the headline, the tool rates it on a scale of 1 to 100.
It will give you an insight into how the headline is structured together with its readability and suggest tips on how, by using different words, the score can be improved. Co-Schedule has an amazing library of resource regarding headline writing, such as how to master the headline balance and how to include more power words and emotions in a headline.
In some editorial platforms such as Asana and Trello, users need to integrate the platform with Google Analytics in order to be able to access the necessary data contained within the social engagement reports, however, with Co-Schedule, the analytics tool is already built in.
To be able to use the platform, click on ‘Social Media Report, which is located on the Analytic panel. I have screenshotted how the analytics data appears from the site in the illustration below.
Price can play a huge part in deciding what social media management tool to use.
There are three different pricing levels which I have illustrated below:
Compared to other social media management tools that I have reviewed, in my opinion, Co-Schedule does offer value for money. The three different price plans ensure that there is a plan that is suitable for everyone and every pocket.
Co-Schedule is fully loaded when it comes to features and because of this the learning curve when starting out can be rather steep. Fear not!! Co-Schedule’s creators have provided users with comprehensive documentation areas with several articles which cover everything from getting started, working as a team, integrations, social media publishing, accounts and billing, troubleshooting and even includes a video library.
And that’s not all, in the Co-Schedule dashboard is a ‘Help’ section which is built-in where you are able to ask any questions you may have to any one of their team members.
So, the various help options offered by Co-Schedule are:
- A knowledge base
- FAQ area
- Online support
- Video tutorials
The guaranteed support hours are Monday to Friday from 9am -5pm CST. Co-Schedule can be contacted via the app or can be followed via Twitter which will provide updates on holiday support hours, service status and all other important information.
Is Co-Schedule the right Social Media Management Tool for you?
So, now that I have highlighted the Pros and Cons that Co-Schedule offers together with all the amazing features that it has, the next question is – Who is it suited to?
Is Co-Schedule the choice for those on a budget? Well, the answer is quite simply no. It is pretty pricey, I mean the solo marketing plan comes in at $39 per month AND that doesn’t include the ‘must have’ feature that everyone wants – Re-Queue. If you wanted to include that in your package, you would have to part with another $30, which means in reality, the price would increase to $79 per month!! Another downside is that the social media analytics isn’t included in the base $79 per month, so if you want those included, guess what, yes that’s right, you’ll need to pay more!! Compared to the other tools that are available on the market today, Co-Schedule just isn’t financially viable for those watching the pennies and perhaps a more suitable option would be Buffer, where the basic analytics are included in their $10 per month plan.
Co-Schedule is extremely easy to use and includes a platform which is cohesive with all social media platforms. The platform is easy to navigate with good timely customer service which makes it a positive ‘yes’ for those starting out. The software easily completes all tasks from the scheduling of social media posts, to tracking how well they perform and allowing team collaboration. Social media scheduling becomes a streamlined process when using this tool. Those who are just starting out can plan ahead and schedule posts months in advance, as well as being able to connect to several social profiles. Co-Schedule provides a great starting block for anyone just starting their adventure.
Co-Schedule takes media content distribution way above the next level and helps users to broadcast the right content, on the right platform at the right time. The efficiency of this tool is its ability in helping users accomplish their business objectives in a quick and easy way combined with the number of hours that are saved with all of its intuitive features. This tool is a ‘must have’ for high-level marketers and although it may come in a bit on the pricey side, no price can be put on the results that it generates.
So, in a nutshell,
When it comes to choosing the perfect editorial calendar solution, top priorities should include organization, ease of use and visual appeal – all of which Co-Schedule has – AND more which makes it a worthy contender amongst the competition. If you’re looking for a tool that keeps your content marketing strategy on track and pinned down, then I recommend give Co-Schedule a bash. Once you familiarize yourself with it, you may never want to return to the ‘other ways’ that you used to plan your content publishing.
This is a must-have for content marketers or those who run their own blogs. If, after reading this review you still aren’t 100% sure whether to install Co-Schedule, why not try it for FREE for 14 days. I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed as it is a tremendously powerful tool that integrates smoothly with WordPress using their plug-in. After the free trial, drop me a line and let me know how you got on.
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Now, over to you...
Now I’d love to hear from you:
Are you going to purchase Co-Schedule or are you already using it?
Perhaps you started reading this review with the intention to buy, and maybe now you’re not so sure!
Feel free to leave a comment below and we can see if I can help…. or check out the other reviews like Sprout Social.
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