Today, there are so many tools that can do everything and it makes it very confusing for those of us who like simplicity. Being a Digital Marketer, a social media content calendar is something I rely heavily on for myself as well as my clients.
Without a calendar or any sort of order, my plans go down the toilet.
I must admit, I am a bit of a tech geek. I like testing out new tools and sharing what I find with you all. I have used many editorial calendars of all sorts. I have also used Google Sheets which served it’s purpose well. I then outgrew it and became frustrated because I couldn’t add images to the sheet.
What happens when all you want is;
- A way to organise your content; giving you a birds eye view on what’s coming up for your business
- A way to collaborate with your team and create an approval process for bigger teams to ensure everything is done when it should be, as it should be
- An application that’s simple, without all the bells and whistles.
- An app that focuses on helping you schedule your content in advance and stay organised.
Well my friend, for one, the solution doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can be simple, and secondly, ContentCal ticks all the boxes mentioned above.
I discovered ContentCal when the co-founder Andy reached out to me to let me know about this new tool. For one, I was intrigued because I do not get to support many UK businesses and secondly, I was interested to know what would be so different about ContentCal vs. all the other social media marketing tools on the market.
I asked Andy what his goals for ContentCal were and here is what he had to say;
ContentCal initially began in 2014 as a social media agency, creating social content for a wide range of business. Having experienced the numerous painful Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Emails that come with creating a robust content/editorial plan for clients – we built ContentCal to simplify and speed up how teams and individuals can collaborate, plan and publish content in a familiar and intuitive calendar interface.
In a complex world of marketing technology our plan is to make ContentCal the simplest tool to plan, visualise and publish content for small businesses and enterprises alike.
Now here’s where they got my attention; ‘speeding up how teams and individuals can collaborate’. I’m growing a team so this is important to me. If this is important to you too, keep reading.
The amount of Google Docs I have are unreal and I prefer to have things in one place and an app really helps keep things organised and systemised. I want all team members to have one central place to login and keep all communications in one place too.
There are so many moving parts to creating a marketing strategy and an editorial calendar for it. You’ve got to;
- Map out the strategy
- Maintain the right balance for each type of content
- Create the written content
- Design matching content
- Curate content from existing content
- Ensuring the right content is being published to the right platform
- Scheduling content when it is most relevant
Okay so I have told you I discovered ContentCal but;
What exactly is ContentCal?
ContentCal allows you to visually map out your social media content, making it easier to see the forecast of up and coming campaigns. It’s a simple method that allows you to work effectively with a team to delivery a social strategy.
It helps ensure the development of your social media strategy is streamlined with the use of workflows and automatic posting directly from the ContentCal platform.
What Makes ContentCal so different?
What makes ContentCal so special is the fact that the team is made up of individuals who used to be social media managers and have experienced first-hand what social media managers and small businesses have to go through, to maintain an editorial calendar and execute a successful social media strategy.
If you are responsible for strategies in your business, you know how messy it can be getting all the pieces together and missing important bits of information becomes a bad habit.
ContentCal is an app that allows you have everything in one place (correspondence, images, ideas, schedule, copy and campaigns) to schedule and collaborate with your team with the use of workflows. If the content has to pass through multiple individuals before being published, you can now do all of that in one place. No more wondering who has done what, you can see it all in your dashboard.
This is different to most social media tools because they have honed in to one specific issue which many people have which is content planning. Organisations, effective systems and advanced planning.
You can store ideas in order to use them later rather storing some in Google Drive, others in notes and others in pieces of paper that your two-year-old is likely to chew (ahem, true story).
You can easily separate your content into categories and create campaigns with set dates so that it is clear how to execute a campaign and communicate within ContentCal.
Having a successful strategy also means not promoting yourself all the time. The great thing about having categories is being able to visually identify how you distribute your content. How even is your distribution? Do you have more of one type of content than another? Are they types of content too close together?
It’s all made easy with the visual calendar.
One thing about social media calendars is that it allows you to schedule content for social media channels, but what if you want to schedule content for other platforms?
Maybe you want to see what content is going out by Email, or YouTube or Snapchat. You can schedule these channels on the same calendar by adding custom channels.
If you’ve read my review on CoSchedule, you’ll know this is one of my favourite features but if you’ve can’t justify the additional expense, then this is your perfect solution.
Why Pay for ContentCal When I Can Use Something Else With More Features?
Here’s the thing, it’s quite easy to get ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ but quite often, you are going after features you think you need and things that look ‘cool’ rather than features that important and features your business rely on.
When you are looking for tools with more features, are you actually using all those features? Not all tools are right from everyone and that’s okay but I definitely feel that ContentCal is a contender.
Who Is ContentCal made for?
Who is it not for is a better question.
ContentCal is so versatile and the learning curve is really low which gives it bonus points.Many tools on the market come with a level of complexity that is so unnecessary. There aren’t many tools that I don’t know how to use but it doesn’t mean I want to go through the stress of figuring it out if I don’t want to. Any small business owner would love the addition of ContelCal just because of it’s simplicity.
If you need a tool that can offer you the opportunity to view and respond to comments, monitor engagement and growth, then this is not the tool for you.
One of the things that is detrimental to a successful social media strategy is the ability to plan content strategically and in advance and this task should come first before posting. So, whether you are planning content for yourself or a client, ContentCal makes it extremely easy.
The Good Points
- Easy to use and get started quickly
- The approval feature helps maintain accountability
- The ability to take note of ideas within the content calendar without having to store them elsewhere and being able to drag them into the calendar once you want to schedule them
- The cost does not break the bank (more on the cost below)
- The fact that the pricing structure does not charge per user which is outstanding in my opinion
- The ability to preview the post before it is published
- The ability to sort content via categories.
- The ability to plan content for all sorts of platforms and not just social media.
The Bad Points
The platform is still relatively new so there are quite a few features that I use that are missing;
- You can not post to Facebook Groups (yet)
- You can not schedule posts to Pinterest which may be a disadvantage for some, but I do not recommend using standard tools for Pinterest. I recommend using Pinterest specific tools for this.
- There are not Analytics so getting information best on the content that got the most engagement or the time that’s best to post is not there. I’ve mentioned before I use native tools, but at the same time, it would be good to see it from within the app.
- I like the UI but I still feel that improvements can be made
- I’d like to see the option to automatically repurpose content as this is an option I rely on and it’s not available as yet.
I like ContentCal and most of you who have been around for a while know that I previously raved about CoSchedule and my opinions still stand about CoSchedule. However, I feel that I’ll be sticking with ContentCal for a few reasons;
- The simplicity of the app makes it easier and faster to train my staff
- I tend to look at the native analytics in each social media tool so I won’t really miss the analytics
- The business is new and I feel that we can help shape the future of the business and I’d like to be a part of that.
- It’s a UK Business and I feel it’s about time I supported one.
How much does ContentCal cost?
The great thing about ContentCal is that it starts from free. If you’re a new business, there is no excuse to not get your social media strategy together. Ofcourse there are a few limitations on the free plan but what you get for free is quite generous.
You can connect
- One Facebook Account
- One Twitter Account
- One LinkedIn Account
- One Instagram Account
You’ll also get access to one calendar and one user.
The next plan up starts from £49 per month. Considering what you receive, this is a very generous offer. You can connect unlimited social media accounts and have unlimited users as well as gain access to the approval flows feature.
I’m going to end this by saying you’ve got to try ContentCal for yourself. You have nothing to lose on the free trial and it definitely has the ability to reduce your wasted time of storing things all over the place and help you become better organised, whether you’re working solo or as part of a team.
Give ContentCal a try by clicking here.