CoSchedule: Content Scheduling WordPress Plugin Review
CoSchedule allows you to add a drag and drop editorial calendar to your WordPress site for scheduling content. When posts are added to the calendar, they can be assigned to individual members of your team. The ability to add comments and individual tasks for each post allows you to include detailed instructions for the assigned author to follow when creating the content.
CoSchedule also add impressive social media message scheduling to your site. This feature allows you to create multiple promotional messages, for multiple accounts on your social networks of choice for each post. The scheduled messages can be set to be published on either specific dates, or a set number of hours or days, after the post goes live on your site.
By combining an intuitive editorial calendar with social media message scheduling, CoSchedule aims to deliver a powerful tool for anyone looking to reduce their workload and make their content creation calendar solution more professional. While this is a premium service, you can give it a try for 14 days for free.
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Installation and Setup
Getting started with CoSchedule is very easy. Thanks to the 14 day free trial you can begin using the full service without entering any payment details. Simply enter your name, email address and password and you can begin connecting the service with your WordPress blog.
To integrate CoSchedule with your site, you will need to install the free plugin, but as it is available from the WordPress.org repository, you can search for it and install it directly from your site.
Once you’ve installed the plugin, it can be found on the admin dashboard side menu under the entry ‘Calendar’. To connect your site to the service, enter your login details and hit connect. Then it’s just a case of setting the time zone for your WordPress site (Settings > General).
The interface for CoSchedule is displayed within your site using an iframe, so you may end up with the double-scroll bar effect, depending on your screen size, which can be a slight annoyance. The service doesn’t use the standard WordPress interface styling, however, since the WordPress upgrade to 3.8, the flat design and UI doesn’t look that out of place, even if the lack of contrast between the colours doesn’t help readability.
Features and Usage
Once you are all setup, it’s time to start using the scheduling calendar. To help you get started, CoSchedule displays some useful tooltips to guide you through the work flow for using the calendar for the first time. These are actually quite useful and are worth following through.
To use the tool, click on a date on the calendar and then enter the details of a post you would like published on that date. You can enter the title for the blog post and assign a user to write the post, from your site’s list of registered users with a contributing role.
You can also enter some comments to provide guidance for the assigned user when working on the task. Individual tasks related to the post, such as things the author is required to do can also be created. These tasks can be ticked off by the author on an individual basis as they work through the list.
Being able to schedule the promotion of your published content on the main social networks is a big part of this service. When creating your first post in the calendar, you are prompted to connect your social network accounts with the service. The current options for connecting to your social networks are:
- Facebook Profile
- Facebook Page
- Linkedin Profile
- Linkedin Group
- Tumblr Blog
- G+ page via Buffer
Once you’ve connected your networks of choice, you can then create a message, such as a tweet, for each network to promote your new post. As the messages are linked to a specific post in the calendar, you can set the date and time for sending them, in relation to the publication date, such as the same day, the following day, etc. You can also set the time the message is sent in the same way.
You can create multiple messages for the same network. This means you can tweet the same post many times, each with a different message and at a different interval from the post publication date. This is great for making your social message visible to your followers who are spread out over multiple time zones.
Once you’ve created your promotional messages for your connected social networks, the post and the messages will be added to the calendar view. If at any point you wish to reschedule an entry, simply drag and drop it to a new date in the calendar. As the promotional messages are linked, to the post, they will still be sent out using the timeframe you specified when creating the message, even if the date of the post has changed.
Working from the calendar view is a great way to get an overview of the content schedule for your blog, as well as being able to quickly add new posts to the schedule. However, it is also possible to add posts to the calendar directly from the Add New Post page in WordPress.
From the New Post page you can also create your social messages in the CoSchedule metabox which is displayed under the post editor. This means you don’t even need to go into the calendar view to use the auto-promotion features of this service. Scheduling your social media messages can all be done without leaving the post editor page in WordPress.
Another useful feature is that members of your team can follow a scheduled post in the calendar. This ensures they are kept up-to-date on the progress of the post or any additional comments that are left for them on. As the author and the editor can leave comments on a calendar entry, it’s a great way to communicate back and forth, regarding specific questions about the post, instead of using email.
CoSchedule is available on just one pricing plan which costs $10 per month. This covers unlimited users, unlimited social accounts and free support. As CoSchedule offers a 14 day free trial, without the need to submit your credit card details, you can test the features yourself with no risk.
CoSchedule is a great tool. Even if you are the sole contributor to your blog, being able to quickly add post details to the calendar and setup a scheduled promotional social message is really going to make your life easier.
However, CoSchedule really comes into its own when deployed on a multi-author blog. As you can easily add posts you’d like written to the calendar, and then assign them to your team, while also being able to add instructional comments and create tasks for that post, all your authors will be reading from the same sheet when it comes to creating content and following a publication schedule.
The drag and drop interface of the calendar works really well, making it a breeze for editors to change the scheduled date of a post. The only slight problem with the CoSchedule plugin is that it can be a little fiddly to use the calendar view inside WordPress, when on a small screen due to the additional scrollbars that can appear. However, your calendar can also be accessed from outside of your WordPress site, by logging in via the CoSchedule website, where all your scheduled posts and promotional messages can be viewed and edited. It would be nice to see a mobile app in the future for viewing your schedule natively while on the road.
If you want an easy to use solution for scheduling posts and promotional messages for WordPress, then CoSchedule is an affordable option that comes highly recommended.