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Blogging can be super stressful if you’ve got a full-time job. Balancing everything gets crazy hectic, especially if it’s, well… less than organized.
But good news! I’ve figured out a way to organize your blog (we’re talkin’ hella organized) with an awesome program called CoSchedule.
What is CoSchedule?
So, first, let’s talk about what CoSchedule actually is.
You’ve heard of editorial calendars, right? Because they’re super necessary if you want to have a successful blog—even more so if you want to organize your blog. Basically, you want to have a calendar that plans out your blog posts, newsletters, social posts, launches, etc. all in one place. That way you can see if you’re posting inconsistently, about to send out way too many eblasts at once, and so on.
Some people create an Excel spreadsheet for their editorial calendar, and others use free WordPress plugins that allow you to visualize it all right in WordPress. And those are great, but… not as great as CoSchedule.
See, CoSchedule allows you to plan out your blog posts in WordPress, just like other apps you might find. BUT it also allows you to schedule your social posts, newsletters, and events, all in one calendar. It’s amazing.
So, how can you use it to organize your blog? Lots of ways!
How Can CoSchedule Organize Your Blog?
Plan in Advance
The biggest way to stay organized is to plan, plan, plan. If you don’t know what’s coming up, it’s going to be hard to prepare yourself. It becomes a constant struggle to stay on top of things.
Luckily, there are a ton of different features in CoSchedule that allow you to plan out anything and everything that may be coming up with your blog.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “shoot, I should really post something on the blog… but what?” 🙋
Right? We all have. So how do we prevent these moments of panic? With CoSchedule, obvi.
CoSchedule lets you add blog posts to your editorial calendar, and then syncs those posts with WordPress so they automatically appear as drafts.
Here’s what my calendar looked like back in March:
I’ll use this to get my blog post topics in my calendar—that way, I’m never scrambling for a blog post idea. I can always go back and change the headline later, so I don’t get too picky about it—I just put the idea in my calendar and come back to it later!
And if things change, you can easily move items around on your calendar—it’s all drag and drop! Gotta love when they make things easy for you.
Another way to stay organized is by scheduling your posts in advance, and posting them at key times in the day. I personally publish my posts at 3 a.m. ET. That way the date doesn’t get messed up for my west coast readers, and it gives RSS Feeds like Bloglovin’ plenty of time to get my post in front of my readers.
Oh, and don’t worry. CoSchedule lets you do that all without having to go to each post edit page individually.
You can change basics like the category, the author, the date and time, and the status right from your CoSchedule calendar. If you want to edit more, just click Edit in WordPress and it opens the edit post page in a new tab!
If you only used CoSchedule for the blog post planning feature, I think you’d be happy with the functionality. But there’s so much more you’d be missing out on!
In addition to scheduling blog posts, you can add notes and tasks to different dates in your calendar. There are infinite possibilities for these functionalities, but there’s one main thing I use them for: scheduling newsletters.
To add a note or a task, simply go to the date you want, click on the pencil icon in the top right corner, and hit “Note” or “Task.” Easy peasy!
This past week, I didn’t actually send out a newsletter. And I didn’t even realize it until late Monday afternoon, several hours after my newsletter was supposed to go out. Whoops.
That’s because I forgot to plan out my topics for the month, and I totally spaced on it. So I went through and planned out the rest of May’s newsletters using the Task function.
You can use either Note or Task, but being super Type-A, I love being able to check off the tasks once I accomplish them.
CoSchedule doesn’t currently link with Mailchimp (a girl can dream!), so you’ll still have to schedule it in a separate program, but it’s nice to be able to view everything all in one place. Now next time I won’t forget…Ready to organize your blog? Find out why @caitlinhonard loves using @coschedule!Click To Tweet
We all know the power of social media. It’s one of my blog’s biggest referrers, so it’s important that I’m always posting. Well, CoSchedule makes it super easy to do that.
First, let’s talk sharing your own posts. As soon as you put a blog post into CoSchedule (whether or not you’ve scheduled it), you can start planning out social shares of that post. You can schedule them for a day, a week, a month, or even a year from then if you want. You’re never going to run out of your own posts to promote.
Plus, you can share other people’s posts super easily. Simply click on the pencil tool and select “Social Message,” put in the link, type up a caption, and bam!
I like to share three links from other blogs every day on Facebook and Twitter, and with CoSchedule, it’s super easy for me to see which days I’ve got them scheduled for.
I go through and schedule an entire month’s worth of social shares at once. It takes about an hour tops, which isn’t bad when I only have to do it once a month!
PS Interested in how I decide which posts I share? Check out my secret here!
I probably use the events feature the least out of the four I’ve listed, but it’s still super useful.
One way I use Events is to make note of different upcoming holidays. For example, I’ll mark off Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, etc., so I can keep note of them as I’m filling in my blog post calendar. If I’m normally posting on Wednesdays, but a major holiday falls on a Wednesday, it’s easy for me to tell that I should consider changing my calendar around slightly.
It’s also super helpful for launches you might have for your business. When I was launching the InDesign Adventure Guide, I had a couple different webinars throughout my launch period to promote the course. I used the Events feature to put the launch date, as well as the date and time of any webinars, right in my editorial calendar.
Doing this really helps you get an idea of how much time you’ve got at your disposal. If I’m planning a webinar for a Saturday, I’ll know that a ton of blog posts the next week isn’t feasible; I just don’t have enough time.
Spend Less Time Scheduling
So now that you know a ton of ways you can use CoSchedule to organize your blog, it seems a bit… overwhelming, right? Like it’s going to take a ton of time to get all of this scheduled?
Well, what good is organization if it’s not saving you any time? (Hint: no good at all.)
Good news. CoSchedule has got a couple awesome features that end up saving you a ton of time, all while you’re working to organize your blog!
Best Time Feature
Before my hiatus, I hated scheduling social shares. It was the slowest, most tedious process ever.
Luckily, during my hiatus, CoSchedule launched their new Best Time feature. It takes the guesswork out of scheduling by figuring out the best time for a post to go out on social media. Awesome, right?
The algorithm takes many things into account, including how many other social media posts you’ve got scheduled that day. So, as you add more social media posts, any that have been designated “Best Time” will most likely shuffle around.
But, if you want to have a little more control, you can choose things like “Best Time between 8am and 11am,” or simply choose your own times.
Also over my hiatus, CoSchedule re-released Pinterest scheduling. Needless to say, Angela and I freaked out over Google Hangouts together.
For the longest time, you couldn’t schedule social shares to Pinterest, but now you can! One less step you have to take after your blog post is published. As I’m scheduling my social shares for a blog post, I can simply choose which boards I want to pin the post to.
When you couple Pinterest Scheduling with Best Time, it takes about 10 seconds to pin your post to however many boards you want. Yes, please!
It literally took me 10 seconds to pick out which boards I wanted to pin this post to, and CoSchedule picked various times to pin it throughout the day! You’re welcome to choose different times for each post, but I trust Best Time enough that I just let it work its magic!
And, of course, I’ve saved the best for last. The designer in me requires color coordination, so I’m all over it on CoSchedule.
There are seven different colors you can use in CoSchedule to organize your blog (eight if you include “no color”), so I use the colors to label the different categories of blog posts I write. (If you find yourself running out of colors for all of your categories, it’s time to find your niche.)
If you haven’t noticed, I coordinate the header images of my blog posts: yellow headers are for blogging, teal headers are for design, and pink headers are for feminism. I use this same system on CoSchedule so I can easily see which categories I need to brainstorm more. I try not to have too many posts in the same category posted back to back, and color-coordinating all of my blog posts in CoSchedule helps me see in an instant if I need to shuffle things around.
It’s also nice for when you go back and share an old post. The social posts are labeled the same color as the corresponding blog post, so you can easily see if you’ve got two many social posts on the same topic.
So there you have it! Quite a few easy ways to organize your blog with an editorial calendar.
Do you use CoSchedule? What’s your favorite feature?
Angelica @GardeningInHighHeels says
I discovered CoSchedule long before some of these awesome features were available. It’s time to go back and see if it’s worth it to revisit it! I used to love having a view of the calendar that feels like it lives and breathes (and is so easy to change if necessary) and planning out social sharing with each post. Thanks for bringing this back around for me!
You’re welcome, Angelica! They’re seriously SO worth it. My blog would be such a mess without CoSchedule 🙂
Nathan Ellering says
Caitlin, this is full of awesome ways to rock at social media and creating content with CoSchedule. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for all your hard work, Nathan! 🙂
Georg Schuster says
Thank you Caitlin for this brilliant article.
It’s really motivating!
Best wishes from Europe.
Thanks so much, Georg!