In my discussions with myself about this love/hate thing with blogging, I took stock in the fact that I am a procrastinator. Yes, that’s me. If there’s a deadline in the distance, I pretend I don’t see it. If it’s looming in my face, well, then yes I sit up and pay attention. So I knew that if I was going to take this blogging thing and try to make it work for me, it had to one, be fun. Two, be scheduled. It needed to force my hand, actually.
In Comes CoSchedule
I have been using a product called CoSchedule at work for some time and really liked it. (Okay, so that’s a bit of an understatement. My social media gal and I have been going ga-ga over it, truth be told.) The official word from their website:
CoSchedule is a drag-and-drop editorial calendar for WordPress that puts your blog posts and social media messages on the same schedule.
And here’s their official screenshot:
So what does it do?
It’s a calendar for blog posts, marketing content and social media. ALL IN ONE PLACE. Yes, you read that right. All those things that need to be done to write, promote, etc, etc your blog posts and your social media posts can be done right here. And what’s great is that everything revolving around these efforts lives in one easily-viewed calendar. If you’re a visual person (hi. Nice to meet you.) – you’ll love this. Here’s a shot of my calendar:
CoSchedule keeps you (err, me) Organized
Your blog posts? Managed here. You still write them in WordPress, but Coschedule comes with a great, easy to use plugin that connects the dots for you. It’s seamless. I actually manage it all right from my CoSchedule account. Then I click over to WordPress to work on the post and it syncs automatically with CoSchedule. There are a few things I love about the way the CoSchedule post setup works.
In this screenshot below, you’ll see the info regarding this very post:
CoSchedule Keeps You (Yeah, yeah…Me) on Task
It shows my title, my draft status, scheduled date, categories — all of which can be set directly here. Here’s where CoSchedule becomes the task master and chat buddy I need. It has a tasks list that I can add tasks, assign deadlines to myself and be notified in my email when I have something due. So I can set up the times when I need to tackle each piece and be kept on track. I’m reminded.
And here’s the kicker. If I scheduled the post for a specific day and social media to go out with it, it will PUBLISH it – whether I’m done or not. (Of course, you can cop out and only leave it there as a draft but how is that motivating?) Please note: CoSchedule won’t autocratically schedule your posts. You have to set the post to schedule. Otherwise, things will sit in draft purgatory. But for me, I’m pretending I didn’t write that. For ME, I’m pretending that the minute I put a post on that day and give it some social media posts, some tasks, it will publish whether I finish or not. That is motivating. For this procrastinator, that means deadlines.
Each post set-up also allows for Comments. This is great when you’re collaborating with a team (which this program is brilliant at), but it also works really well if you have notes, thoughts, links, other things that you want to remember when writing your post but you don’t want to actually write your post yet. And for when you’re planning ahead, you can set it up, write comments about what you were thinking when you wrote the topic for later use.
Also note: Any posts you put directly into WordPress will automagically appear in CoSchedule. The plugin syncs everything.
All Your Social Media, too
If you noticed the social queue above, this is one of the areas where CoSchedule really simplifies life. From here, you can easily set social media posts for your channels — Twitter, FB, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest… to go out automatically when the post publishes. And because best practices show that pushing that post out more than once will increase your chances of being read, CoSchedule has that built in, too. Within a matter of minutes, your social media promotions for this post for the next month are done. Time saver: Check!
More than Just Blog Posts
Now, this very same layout is available for ANY kind of content, not just blog posts. For this new feature, I’d like to kiss the developers. You can create a blog post, which generates the list above. You can also create an event, notes, tasks, social messages on their own OR my new favorite feature: Content.
Create all of your Non-Wordpress Writer-Related Content on the Calendar
With the new “content” feature, you have the ability to create content lists that are not tied to a WordPress post. This means that you can build social media messages you want to re-share more than once, as well as other types of content. It can also be used as a calendar of activities. As a writer, I think this might prove invaluable.
Task List for your Writing
Below, I created a “content” piece for chapters due in June. By setting tasks for myself, I’ll get an email reminder at certain times toward this content… and if I want to send out a social media post, I can. The social media post is only what is seen below in the “content” section. No one else sees the tasks or comments but you. It’s a great catch-all for content.
Manage your Guest Posts & Set up their Social Media
If you provide guest posts on other blogs, this can be the place where you keep track of them all. Set up your task lists, upload the document that you send as your final post, and create social media posts to announce the post when you have the blog — all in one centralized place so you can easily see all the activity done.
Note: The uploaded documents are NOT sent out in social media. This is just a repository for you to keep it all in once place.
You can keep all of your events, separate tasks that aren’t related to a project, and more.
And it’s at a VERY affordable price point:
I just dug in to using CoSchedule and letting it help me procrastinate less and get more done. You might find advantages, too.