In this week's post, I explain why I've decided to start using CoSchedule, how it is helping me manage and run my blogging/freelance business, and I also share one affordable alternative for you to consider using to get yourself organized.
If you're a long-time follower of my website and reader of my blog, you may know that I never actually started off as a freelance web designer or graphic designer, or even a video editor.
I started my journey as a blogger and Magnet4Blogging was nothing more than an information hub.
Over the last five years or so, my goals and ambitions changed, and these days, providing services to my clients takes up a lot of my time.
Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, however, I'm also left with little time to create and organize content for my blog, do social media stuff, create and send email marketing campaigns, amongst many other things I want to do.
Balancing work as a freelancer, blogger and entrepreneur can be pretty tricky, and especially when you throw in 'life' and other 'commitments'.
As a family man and busy dad of two, I have to balance work with my personal life as well. And that can definitely be challenging.
Working from home as a blogger/freelancer is great and has its perks, but it comes with plenty of hurdles.
I've lost count to the number of times my kids have come barging into my office shouting and screaming while I'm halfway through writing a post or recording a vlog.
I'm sure you can relate to this if you're a work from home parent too, right?
So anyway, just over a few weeks ago, I came to terms with the fact that I needed help with organizing my blogging business, so I came up with a few options for myself.
Now, based entirely on my previous experiences with outsourcing, I didn't really want to venture down that road again. Plus, it could end up being quite costly.
As for a VA, many years ago, I hired a VA from overseas who almost ruined my business, so for now, that wasn't an option either.
Plus, I'm more comfortable being a 'one-man show' with my personal brand business. So, I decided to invest in a new service.
After a short time researching and trialing various services of this kind, I ended up signing up to trial CoSchedule for 14-days
During those 14 days, everything changed for the better.
I won't dive too much in detail of what CoSchedule is. But in short, it's an all-in-one content and social media marketing management calendar tool for bloggers, entrepreneurs, and online businesses, as well as for marketing teams and enterprises.
But how is using it actually helping me in my business?
Well, it's helping me in two ways -
Honestly, I could write an entire blog post about how my productivity and time-management has completely transformed in the last couple of weeks.
I hate exaggeration, I really do. But, I have to say that I've gotten more stuff done and organized with CoSchedule in the last few weeks than I have been able to in recent months.
That's the problem with juggling and using multiple marketing platforms. In the end, you forget where it all starts and where it all ends.
Before CoSchedule, I was using HootSuite for Twitter. And for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn I was scheduling content using their own platforms.
I was also using Evernote to kick-start blog post ideas, and all my email marketing scheduling stayed inside of MailChimp.
So, essentially I was bouncing from one platform to the next just to get things done in my blogging business.
With CoSchedule, I've been able to create, organize, schedule, and manage every aspect of my blogging, content, social media, email marketing campaigns all in one place.
Also, I've felt a lot more motivated in myself too, knowing that things are just organized.
Gaining back some of my time has been great because I've been able to focus more on other areas of my blogging business and serving my clients, all without having to worry whether I have enough content created or scheduled for my blog or social media platforms for the coming weeks.
With CoSchedule, I can plan content for days, weeks, months in advance.
Seriously, I can't begin to tell you how much clarity CoSchedule has given me in the last 14 days, not to mention giving me back my sanity.
I'm now completely hooked on the platform.
I know what you're thinking - You're thinking; Well that's great for you, so it works for you, Fabrizio! Good luck.
OK, so I realize that just because I love using CoSchedule and it works great for my business, it doesn't mean that I think it's the ideal solution for you or anyone else reading this.
Far from it, in fact. So let me explain:
There are many things I love about using CoSchedule and a few things I have my doubts about, including whether I'll continue to use it long term.
I love the features, user-interface, clean layout, easy integration with my social media accounts and my email marketing platform, and all the rest of it.
I absolutely love using the headline optimizer tool to kick start blog post ideas. And I love the awesome feature called ReQueue which allows me to create and set my best social media messages to go out on autopilot for whatever length of time I want.
Most of all, I value the time that I've been able to get back with CoSchedule.
Just a few things niggle me with using CoSChedule.
The price - CoSchedule costs $49 per month (monthly plan), and that's for their cheapest plan available. ($40 per month if you decide to pay annually, saving $108 per year).
You can signup for their Essential + Referral Program and save even more money, and you'll even get 50% off an entire year's subscription if you write a review on your blog of CoSchedule.
Hmm, Not sure how that would work out if you decided to write a "not so positive review".
So, going back to costs - If you're a solopreneur, blogger, freelancer like myself, then that is the best plan that would be recommended.
It is not the most cost-effective plan, but it is what it is. If you want more features and options from CoSchedule, then it will cost you even more.
Yep, so for a jaw-dropping, eye-watering $480 per year (paid annually), you get access to 1 calendar, blog and social scheduling, email marketing integration, and social analytics.
Now you've put me on the spot, and I have to be honest with you.
For me, yes it is worth it, for the time being, that is.
It's worth it because I need help to get more organized with my content, blogging, marketing, etc. That is why I started using it in the first place.
And also when I say it's worth it for me for the time being, I mean that right now I can afford to pay for the service. That might change in the future, however.
For you or anyone else reading this, on the other hand, CoSchedule might not be worth paying $50 per month for.
Let me explain in more detail:
The tools, features, options, etc. are fantastic like I said, I can't fault CoSchedule in that respect.
Plus, the time that I've been able to save by being in one place with my blog content planning and scheduling has been amazing.
The price, however, even for a basic Essential plan for bloggers is darn well expensive, which I think can and will put off a lot of bloggers and entrepreneurs who might be interested, but can't afford to use it.
Take a look below:
Additionally, you might not be at the stage where you can justify paying $50 a month to manage your blog content and social media marketing.
For example, you might just be starting out, or, your blogging business might not be at the profitable level for you to start paying for extra services, yet.
I fully appreciate and understand that too.
Do let me know below in the comment sectio - Do you think $49 per month is expensive for organizing and automating your content marketing in one place?
For the time being, I will continue to use CoSchedule, especially with the long school summer break coming up in a few weeks time, and I'll need something to keep me organized and motivated.
I'm not too sure, however, if I will continue to use CoSchedule long term into the future, and especially if the price continues to increase.
From the reviews I have read online, of CoSchedule, it seems that a lot of ex-users of the software have complained about the frequent price increases.
Customer support - Now, I want to quickly mention a few things about customer service, because this was another concern for me.
Before I decided to trial CoSchedule, I read a bunch of reviews about the platform, most of which were positive, however, there were a few that seem to send mixed verdicts.
Some of the reviews talked about CoSchedule being too expensive with consistent price increases, and some talked about the customer service or lack of it.
In this review on Suburbia Press, William Beem explains how he found the service/tool fantastic in every sense, however, he makes a point to address that the company lacked in motivation to look after their most loyal customers.
I read that review and became a little concerned, understandably. I value customer service and loyalty more than anything in a business to consumer company.
Let me compare CoSchedule with Thrive Themes, yes I realize they are both completely different companies but both are software/digital services companies.
The way Thrive Themes look after their most loyal customers is pretty awesome, I think.
Those who signed up to Thrive Themes in the very beginning are not slapped with new price increases each year.
Instead, they are locked into whatever subscription fee they paid for the service originally when they signed up.
So, for instance, if you signed up 3 or 4 years ago at let's say - $30 a month, then you still pay $30 a month today, even though the service has had many new upgrades and the price has increased to let's say $60 a month.
The $60 per month would apply to brand new customers, while loyal customers pay the same fee they signed up to in the beginning.
I'm no expert, but to me, that's how you look after your most loyal, long-term customers.
I'm using the price structure above, by the way, as a mere example.
Now, as for CoSchedule customer service, personally, I can't say that their customer support is good or bad. That's mainly because I've not experienced enough of it yet.
When I initially contacted a sales rep for help due to a tech issue with my billing page not showing up, and the Calendar logging me out, my first-time experience with customer support was neither good or bad.
In the end, however, a few days later, and to cut a long story short, my question was eventually answered and my problem solved.
Like I said, I'm going to continue using CoSchedule for the time being as it's working well for me and my business.
However, I know that for you or anyone else reading this post, CoSchedule might not be an affordable or adequate solution, so here is one alternative option for you to consider:
First, let's take a look at the Editorial Calendar plugin.
The Editorial Calendar plugin is a simple solution that lets users create, organize, and see at a glance their scheduled blog posts.
You can do things like drag and drop posts to change their scheduled dates, make quick edits to posts, manage drafts, and much more.
Sure, it's no CoSchedule calendar, however, it does pretty much the same job, minus the ability to schedule social content, email newsletters, or create marketing campaigns.
As for the online service MissingLettr, I began trialing this service at the same time as I started trialing CoSchedule.
It's not a complete solution for managing your blog content, social media, or marketing schedules, however, I do know that it is a lot more affordable when compared to CoSchedule.
When you sign up for MissingLettr, you can add your blog feed and let the app begin calibrating your blog automatically to create pre-made marketing campaigns for each of your blog posts.
You can then review and fine-tune these campaigns in your MissingLettr dashboard before launching them.
The best thing about MissingLettr is that it does most of the work for you, and not just for a few weeks, but you can create campaigns that will drip out over the course of an entire year.
You can learn more about MissingLettre here.
Also, do check out this complete tutorial on how to use MissingLettre my good friend David Hartshorne has written over on his site AzaharMedia.
So, I hope you found this post somewhat useful.
I didn't want to write yet another boring review of CoSchedule because I know it isn't for everyone, and, there are enough reviews out there of the service for you to check out.
I simply wanted to write a post to tell you why I've started using CoSchedule, how it's helping me in my business, and what the best and cheapest alternative is.
I will be putting together a video tutorial at some point, so be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for an update.
If you'd like to take CoSchedule for a test-drive yourself, then feel free to click here to signup.
I'm really enjoying using the CoSchedule marketing platform and it fits perfectly for me as a busy blogger, entrepreneur, and freelancer.
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck.