With a full-time corporate job, I’m often asked the same question time and again. “Where do you find the time to write a blog??!“
For starters, I make time. I definitely don’t have endless unaccounted hours on my calendar screaming to be filled with photography, writing, and editing both of the aforementioned. I’m a believer that we can make time for more things that we realize if we make a concerted effort. If it matters, we can make it happen.
Most of my blogging happens in small pockets of time I squeeze in throughout the day. I brainstorm ideas (and write posts) on my phone in Evernote while I’m walking to work. M hates that I’m ‘that woman‘ walking down the street glued to my phone. But I’d be lying if I refuted it. I check Instagram and read blogs and respond to comments in tiny snippets of time while I brush my teeth, wait for water to boil while I’m cooking dinner, or stand in line at the grocery store check out.
I also don’t really watch TV. That means I miss out on the latest and greatest of whatever’s happening on (insert name of popular show I can’t name). I have zero interest.
Beyond creating time where I otherwise might read the latest celebrity smut (no judgment, really), I have a few favorite tools I use to make the most of the time I spend blogging.
My Favorite Blogging Tool
Hands down, far and away, my favorite tool is CoSchedule. I seriously love it. All you non-bloggers, I’m now giving you permission to zone out. Just for today! Feel free to read some of my other posts or show some love to your other favorite bloggers. You just have to come back tomorrow. Promise? Thank you dearly, in advance.
If you’re a blogger, and you don’t use CoSchedule, you should give it a shot. It will rock your blogging world.
CoSchedule is a web-based application that has tools to create editorial calendars, manage social media sharing, perfect headlines/blog post titles, and just become a better blogger overall. Designed with the big-time blog machines in mind, CoSchedule has all sorts of fancy components. Some only apply to teams of bloggers. As a little lady doin’ my own thing, I don’t need any of that. But I still get to use the aspects that make sense for me and, with all the sophisticated technology behind the scenes, feel like a little bit of a rock star while doing it.
I use the CoSchedule editorial calendar, social sharing tools, headline analyzer, and (on occasion) their blog. CoSchedule can be managed via their website. But the seriously best part of CoSchedule is that it can be managed entirely within my WordPress application. I can plan my blog posts in advance without leaving WordPress. I can schedule social media shares without falling down the evil rabbit hole that inevitably sucks me in if I go directly to the sites (you’ve all done it, you know!). It’s all so streamlined and not only saves me time but makes me a way better blogger.
I know I sound ridiculous. How could a blog application be this great?! But really, it totally is.
Let me walk you through the features that really get my juices flowing.
Heads up: Some of the screenshots are a bit small, so I shared the big picture and then included some additional shots zoomed in. Hopefully you can see them.
First up, the most essential component, the editorial calendar. I know I can look at a list of posts and see the dates they will publish. I can also separately manage my upcoming posts in Google Calendar, which I did before using CoSchedule.
Having the calendar integrated with the actual posts is so. much. better. And not only is it more efficient, the interface is far more conducive to a blogger’s editorial planning than a list of posts or a Google Calendar.
Post Planning, Headline Analyzer & Social Sharing
Directly from the calendar, I can click on a date to create a new post. I type in a blog post title and CoSchedule’s oh-so-famous free headline analyzer tool is integrated right into the application. I try a few headline options, get a grade and some feedback for each, and land on the one that appears most effective. I can always change the title later (which I often do).
Still within the calendar portion of the application, I can set the date and time of the post, leave comments about what I want to write, and even set up social media shares. When I’m ready to get my hands dirty and write the post, I click the Edit in WordPress button and a new window opens to draft my flowing prose (ha).
Alternatively, I can set up my social shares on the page where I write the post as well. It’s nice to have the feature in both places. I tend to create my initial shares on the post page and follow up with later shares on the calendar page to keep older posts alive and well.
Master Class Series & Analytics
I rarely head back to the CoSchedule website because everything is so seamlessly integrated into WordPress. But when I do venture there, I have a nice dashboard of my most popular posts based on social media shares, upcoming posts I’ve started to draft, and a few helpful posts from the CoSchedule blog. I admittedly don’t visit their blog as often as I should. They offer some really informative content.
Lastly, they have a Master Class Series. You can see I’ve failed miserably here. A couple of classes don’t apply to me because I don’t have a team. But I know I could benefit from the videos. And I’m sure there are relevant nuggets even in the videos that don’t directly apply to my small blog. Needless-to-say, the blog and the Master Classes provide plenty of training to make each of us much better bloggers.
CoSchedule is No-Brainer for (almost) Every Blogger
In my opinion, CoSchedule is a no-brainer for anyone who runs their blog as anything more than a personal journal. I pass no judgment on hobby blogs or online personal journals that are strictly for personal fulfillment. (Mine’s actually kind of like that in a lot of ways.) But if you have any intent on running a profitable blog or growing it to have any sizable audience, I truly believe this should be the first tool in which you invest. I really, honestly love it.
CoSchedule only works with WordPress, so maybe WordPress is the first tool in which you invest. CoSchedule is second.
If you’re a Blogger blogger, you’re out of luck. But if you’re a serious Blogger blogger, I’d switch over to WordPress anyway. And then I’d invest in CoSchedule.
It took me over a year to decide to make the jump from Blogger to WordPress. I was really happy with Blogger. In all truth, CoSchedule was the final kick in the pants that sent me over to WordPress.
In my first post about WordPress vs. Blogger, I mentioned my keenness for CoSchedule. In my follow up post 3 months after the transition from Blogger to WordPress, I continued to dote (or rave, really).
The Fine Print
As I mentioned above, CoSchedule only works on WordPress. Also, CoSchedule isn’t free. Unlike many applications, there’s no basic unpaid version that will suffice until you’re rich and famous.
They offer a free 14-day trial, but I suspect it won’t take you more than 14 minutes to decide that you want to pay for it.
The price won’t break the bank. I cover the expense solely with revenue I generate from the blog (which isn’t much, let’s be real). But I recognize the expense is a real consideration for most bloggers.
All in all, I’m a paying customer. I have no special relationship with CoSchedule and recommend the product solely because I think it’s fantastic. I have used a referral link in this post, and if you use CoSchedule, you’ll get one too. If you think you’d like to try CoSchedule, I’d love for you to use my referral link. If you’d rather not, no hard feelings (I promise).
Lastly, if you’re on the fence about it, I’d be more than happy to provide more information. Leave a comment and I’ll let you know what I think.
If you already use CoSchedule, what do you think? Is it all I say it’s cracked up to be?