9 min read[gdlr_divider type=”solid” size=”100%” ] Say hello to CoSchedule, a content marketing editorial calendar designed by a small team out of North Dakota. The tool began as an in-house plug-in built for their WordPress to help them plan, manage and publish content and now boasts a user base of “more than 10,000 bloggers, editors and social marketers”. Cornelius took some time out to test out the free trial for CoSchedule and below provides an in-depth review of his experience, the pros & cons and the potential he sees in the tool.
 

First Impression

If there’s something I love more than implementing/advising on more efficient processes, it’s the excitement of trying a new tool – especially the one’s that I can immediately recognise as solving a problem that either I or my clients face. My first words:
“Wow, that’s amazing…”
 

Pros

Here at In Marketing We Trust, we’ve come across numerous instances where we’ve had to help clients manage, produce and promote content. Personally, I’ve had first hand experience with a client trying to manage their content production within their SEO team as well as aligning that with the other marketing teams (e.g. the blog writers and brand team).The mess that is content management is a well known issue in the industry as my clients have mentioned to me. Visiting a content marketing conference will show you that content management is a challenge everyone is facing.
So that’s where CoSchedule comes in – whose recent updates have seen the tool become more attractive to content marketers of all walks of life (SEOs included). If I had to nail down the positives of CoSchedule into one line it’d be: “Everything you need, in one place”.
It’s Visual:
CoSchedule Calendar View
CoSchedule is actually a calendar. Yes, it’s that simple. It looks like a calendar and the user experience is very intuitive and user friendly – is it wrong to feel so happy about drag-and-drop functionality? I can see what’s happening this week and in the weeks to come, who is in charge of a particular piece of content, what the piece of content is and at what stage it’s at. This is perfect for a marketing team that has content being shared across multiple channels, for example an SEO content piece could be picked up by the blog team to have an article written around it and at the same time, it needs to be promoted by the social media team. CoSchedule lets your teams work better and more efficiently.
I’ve often had the conversation about “old fashioned white boards”. That is, using post-it notes on a whiteboard to create a visual calendar to organise work flows whether it be for dev teams or content marketing. Why? We wanted clarity and foresight in the quickest time possible. CoSchedule gives us that in one view. 
It Makes Managing Work Flow Easy:
CoSchedule Edit Post
The charm of CoSchedule is the fact that it goes above and beyond just an editorial calendar, it’s a management tool as well. Within the Edit Post function, you’re able to do A LOT:

  • Organise the content process from “Step 1” to “Piece Goes Live”.
  • Create a template with all your steps so you can repeat the process and not waste time on setting up and assigning tasks.
  • Assign members to tasks and set relative due dates (YES).
  • A very clear and simplistic dashboard that provides notifications for users on tasks that are due and activity on the calendar.
  • Create the content within the CoSchedule (amazing feature for bloggers). This was my first time seeing something like this.

There were two things that I believed were lacking:

  1. Currently, if I wanted to use CoScheduling to manage the assets of a particular content piece (e.g. header images, social sharing images, copy, etc) I’d attach them in a comment or in the “Content” section, which is a bit messy and not what that section is intended for. These two solutions are not ideal and I’d love to see a separate section for storing, managing and sharing assets much like how Atlassian’s JIRA currently does asset management.
  2. The Tasks System is still very basic. I would love to be able to add a bit more detail to each task in a structured manner. Accomplishing this would make the content management side of the tool feel more complete.

It Has Performance Tracking:
CoScheduling Social Queue
As an SEO, it’s very common to see content strategies (or a lack of strategy) that results in “content-landfill” which is essentially content creation for the sake of content creation. It is a reflection of a lack of strategy and research and poor understanding for the landscape in general (pardon the pun). One way to make it clear that this tactic is dead and will stay dead is the metrics. Cold hard data to show that your content has no strategy and therefore has 0 shares and likes.
Not to mention, constantly reviewing your content for how it preforms is an important step in content marketing. I always expect content marketing or SEO tools to have some sort of integration with social, so I was very glad to see that CoSchedule allowed users to:

  • Schedule posts for each content piece within the “Edit Content” function. The Social Queue is actually quite pretty (+1 to your UI designer).
  • See their “Top Posts” – a nifty little feature. Nothing I can complain about (See image below).

CoSchedule Top Posts
 

Cons

As much as this tool was amazing for me to test run, there were a few things that i disliked (which is to be expected with a tool that is relatively new in the market). I have also included items that I’d like to see for each feature or aspect of the tool that I disliked.
Forced Evernote Integration:
CoSchedule Drafts
I’ll admit, this was one of the biggest let downs for me. I was reading through the instructional guides and was excited at the prospect of having a “content bin” which would allow users to create calendar items but file them away for later use (As seen in the image above). Sadly, this was replaced with a somewhat forced integration/use of Evernote. Not that I have a personal grudge against Evernote, but I would have loved to see the option to use it or stick to the old fashioned bin.
My main reason for this relates to my ability to “sell” this tool to my clients. A lot of clients will already be hesitant to swap over/adopt a new tool and having the forced Evernote integration bumps that number up to 2 (not everyone uses Evernote). Making it at least two times harder than it may already have been to convince them to adopt the tool.
We Need More “Tagging”:
CoSchedule Calendar View
One particular feature that I was desperately searching for was the ability to differentiate between different types of content. For example, one of my clients has different teams doing content (SEO, a separate blog team and the brand team which includes social). With the current functionality, I can label each of these items on a single calendar by use of colour tags (as you can see in the image above). But when you have a large amount of things scheduled, even colours can be confusing (I can’t always remember that purple means SEO and yellow means Brand). I can also filter by “Category”, but for non-Wordpress blogs and sites this is not possible and it does not help with filtering by “team”.
What I’d Like To See:
Adding a tag system might be too much (I’m so CoSchedule have a very valid reason for why this is not part of the tool currently), but if we could add a label to the colour tags, it would make the tool quicker and easier to use and make the colour tag filtering more effective. Not to mention, CoSchedule would take a massive leap above Trello who currently offer labelling for colour tags, but aren’t visible in their board view.
 

Future Potential

CoSchedule made such an impression on me when Vincent, our head of SEO shared it with me. I saw many of the problems that I’ve faced with my clients disappear as I explored the tool. It has a bright future. The challenge I see for the team at CoScheduling is finding that perfect mix of features that is able to satisfy the unrelenting and forever changing tastes of content markets and digital marketers in general. This is because we have so many different content marketers with varying needs (I’ll admit, us SEOs can be a stubborn bunch especially) and because we’re only just seeing these tools come out to play. More competitors will arise without doubt.
I believe that they’re very close to getting their core offering together. With an API and more flexibility for adapting the calendar view to suit particular needs of marketers, this tool will go very far and I’m excited to see what they come up with.
 

CoSchedule Final Rating: 4/5!

Have you used or are using CoSchedule? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Do you have a tool/app you’d like to have reviewed? Send an email to [email protected]

 

Kirsten Tanner

Kirsten Tanner

Editor in Chief at In Marketing We Trust. Passionate about content marketing and dogs. Loves creating long-form, evergreen and 10x content. Is mentioned in Guy Kawasaki's latest book.

2 Comments

  • Lauren Melnick says:

    I recently had my trial end with CoShedule. I had high hopes for the application, but I ran into a lot of bugs. First my time zone settings continously failed, which meant my posts were never in the right time zone and at one point I couldn’t even get into my calendar. I think it has great potenital to be an awesome tool, but it seems like it is still a bit buggy.

    • Cornelius Do says:

      Hey Lauren,
      I haven’t had the displeasure of running into the bugs you’ve described, but I hope CoSchedule’s customer support were able to assist you? They were pretty quick to reply to some of my queries about features!
      Definitely agree, great potential in the tool and we’re already trying to make use of the tool for clients. There are a few things that the CoSchedule team still need to work out, but I guess some bugs are to be expected since they are relatively new and constantly making changes… Hopefully these get ironed out as quickly as possible!

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