Anybody who has attended our training (face to face or distance learning) will know that we keep banging on about the importance of content planning. We recently began using ContentCal, a new social media planning and publishing tool which we will be recommending to our learners.
There are plenty of these tools available to help manage social media updates online. Some of them are a lot better than others whilst others offer different functionality – some are free and some paid. We have, and still do, use a paid version of Hootsuite – after all, it is a tried and tested social media tool. It is really good for engaging, sharing and scheduling, however, it is not so good for planning updates, which can be reused or shared with clients before publishing. In the past, we have used spreadsheets to plan updates, which we can then upload or copy and paste into Hootsuite. But let’s be honest, it is a bit of a faff. What ContentCal provides is a much simpler and professional way of planning and posting and has made using spreadsheets a thing of the past.
Which Social Media channels does ContentCal work with?
Currently, you can post to Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn (profile and company pages) and Instagram (via the iOS app)
One of the major benefits of ContentCal is its calendar view. You create a calendar for each brand you want to manage. The calendar is where all the posts you have scheduled to automatically post to each of the various channels are displayed in date order. Scrolling left and right will advance the calendar back and forward whilst scrolling up and down shows you each social media channel and any content you’ve scheduled. You can easily navigate to a specific date by using the icons at the top of the calendar view page.
When you post content, you can upload the image that you want to be posted along with the update so you can see how the post will look.
ContentCal also allows you to create category tags. For example, we have category tags for blogs, tips, news/info, qualifications etc. You can allocate each category a colour and assign each post a category tag so you can organise your posts easily. It gives a fantastic visual way of ensuring that you are not just broadcasting, selling or getting into a rut about one aspect of your business.
ContentCal makes it simple to collaboratively work with your team. If more than one person is managing the social media marketing for a business, they can easily collaborate with each other and see what the other person has produced. Collaborators can leave messages on posts so that the next person is aware of what is happening.
A person you are collaborating with could be the client. They may want to see what is being scheduled to go out on their channels. If posts need to be approved before they go out, this can be done easily within ContentCal.
A useful feature of ContentCal is being able to repost content. You may have a post which you want to share across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with slight tweaks to the text. Once you have created the initial post, reposting to various channels can be done in minutes.
You may also want the same post to go out at different days and times over the next few weeks but on the same social media channel. Again, once the initial post is created you simply click on ‘re-use post’ and change the text (if required), the date and the time and click ‘schedule’. You repeat this process for each time you wish to re-use the post.
From a planning viewpoint, ContentCal has the ability to schedule placeholders as a way of reminding the team when blog posts, Infographics or other content needs to be written/published – or an event is happening. You can also add campaigns or themes across different months. Content Cal means all our content planning for all our clients and ourselves can be done in one place – it is definitely making our lives easier.
The team behind ContentCal are extremely responsive to queries and are adding functionality all the time. Additions we would like to see include a link shortening service, different calendar views, and the option to export calendars as CSV files. I’m looking forward to seeing how the team develop the product over time.
29/1/18 update. In the past few weeks, ContentCal have added the ability to shorten links using bit.ly, view monthly calendars and access analytics on how content has done.
You can register for a free account which allows one user and one calendar. They also offer a business plan which allows unlimited social media accounts to be connected, unlimited calendars, unlimited users and more. You can view the plans .