Content marketing is hard. According to a recent B2B marketing survey by TechValidate, the biggest challenges to content creation are the time involved to create it and difficulties promoting it. But if you’ve tried your hand at content marketing, you didn’t need a survey to tell you that.
To be successful, it’s important to do a couple of things. First, you need to develop good habits as part of a steady routine. Second, you need tools that can help you be as efficient as possible. I’ve recently started using CoSchedule (referral link), which helps to do both of those.
Creating a Content Marketing Routine
Many people struggle with developing ideas for blog posts. This shouldn’t really be a problem for most organizations. If you’ve been struggling with this, check out our Blogging Idea Generator, which will help you come up with a year’s worth of blog posts in less than an hour.
Once you you capture a list of topics, it’s really important to get them into an editorial calendar. Nothing creates accountability more than putting a due date and person’s name next to a deliverable. And if your editorial calendar can live inside of your WordPress blog, that’s even better!
This is one of the main features of CoSchedule. It interfaces with your WordPress blog and allows you to schedule out your blog posts in a graphical, drag-and-drop interface. It’s similar to the Editorial Calendar plugin I’ve been using for years. However, it has a more sophisticated interface and gives you better control over the draft post. You can select the author (important for accountability) and the category, which Editorial Calendar doesn’t do.
So, those are pretty cool features but they come close to the best part about this service!
Social Media Marketing Calendar
What really caught my attention was CoSchedule‘s integrated social media marketing calendar. Not only can you schedule your posts, you can schedule social media updates to all of your channels from the same calendar! You may have noticed in the previous screen shot that there’s a “Social Messages” section. This allows you to compose a single message that gets scheduled to publish along with the post or whenever you specify.
And the coolest part about this functionality can be seen in the lower-right hand corner of the screen shot above. It’s integrated with Buffer (referral link)! If you’re not familiar with Buffer, it’s an indispensable social media marketing tool that allows you to queue up social media updates and it will send them out later, during the next available (pre-determined) time slot. The reason this is important is that you want your updates to go out at the best time for each individual channel. Those are likely to vary quite a bit from channel to channel and usually don’t line up at all with the publication time of your post. You may also notice that it integrates with the Bitly URL shortening tool, which is great for measuring and analytics.
The interface is very slick and easy to use. It took me a couple of minutes to set up my account and link up all of my social media profiles. It does a nice job of showing you the different types of posts and previews for each.
Alas, it’s not perfect. My one gripe is a common one with all third party social media tools: They don’t allow you to construct different message content for Twitter and all of the other channels. It’s not a big deal – I just create one update for Twitter and one for everything else. There are a couple of reasons why I create different messages. First, when you share a link on Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn, the link preview window displays the page title. This means there’s no reason to include it in the message body for the update. The same is true with the link itself. There no reason for that to be in there. It’s a minor inconvenience but it would be great if it handled that. But the good news is that it does allow you to create image updates, which have been shown to create more engagement on Facebook.
I’d also like to be able to change the calendar view to the week or maybe even an agenda format. I’m sure features like these are on their development roadmap.
I’m really excited about this new service. I’ve just been using the trial version for a few days but it’s been great so far. If you’ve been having some of the common challenges with content marketing, this slick service can help you develop a solid routine and make your promotion efforts a little easier. And it’s integrated with two of my favorite tools, Buffer and Bitly. Go ahead and sign up for a free trial of CoSchedule and let me know how you like it!
Check out this video for more details: