Our innovation lab’s marketing messages are running smoothly thanks to our new marketing calendar
At Digital Scientists, we love a good tool. Recently, we started using a new all-inclusive marketing calendar called CoSchedule to help us organize and prioritize all the pieces of our marketing strategy.
Adopting CoSchedule to implement our marketing efforts has allowed everyone on our team to be on the same page when it comes to writing content, making updates to our own website, and crafting social messages. This, in turn, allows our team more time to focus on building cutting-edge digital products that focus on solving problems for users.
What is CoSchedule and how do we use it to keep our innovation lab’s marketing messages running smoothly? Let’s back up a bit and talk about what we were using, and why we love the usability CoSchedule offers our marketing team.
BCS: Before CoSchedule
Before we started using CoSchedule, our marketing efforts consisted of a few different tools, including Buffer, Hootsuite, MailChimp, and a myriad of Google Docs.
We tried using a Google spreadsheet to help create and manage content, but our process always fell short. When it came time to present our weekly tasks, the meeting resulted in a lot of “Where did that document go?” “Who’s working on that item?” “Did that get crossed off?” (Hey, we’re just being honest!)
We needed a system that would track website changes, including creating new pages, tracking the status of pages that need updates, SEO updates, to content creation, drafting, writing, approving marketing content, while also tracking social media posts and ad campaigns.
That’s a lot to ask from one tool, so we continued using our myriad of tools until one member from our marketing team decided to seek out different options that could work. During her research, she stumbled across a blog post about scheduling content on CoSchedule’s website.
Our interest was piqued.
ACS: After CoSchedule
We signed up for CoSchedule’s free two-week trial and immediately started digging around.
One of the great things about CoSchedule is all the available tutorials and live webinars available to help users learn to navigate how to use it better. Their customer support team is also very responsive–we’ve never had a question go unanswered for more than 24 hours.
Once we got the other team members on board, we really started getting a feel for the features that serve our team best. There are three specific features of CoSchedule that we couldn’t live without:
- Workflow management
- Social Media message tracking
- Marketing Projects Calendar
These three features convinced us to ditch our myriad of Google Docs and other tools for good. Here’s a deeper look into those three features and what we enjoy most from using them.
WorkFlow management: Tracking our progress
CoSchedule allows all team members to have a bird’s eye view of every project, in one place. Each user has a custom dashboard, depending on the projects or tasks assigned to them. We also really appreciate the instant notifications when team members complete a task, so everyone stays in the loop on the progress. Here’s a few of our favorite features of the tasks:
- We can take action on tasks in the task dashboard
- We can easily assign and schedule tasks with a single click (no more drop downs and triple clicks)
- Every task has an added section for more details to provide the team with context and additional information
- The ability to prioritize tasks based on what matters most to our team
- We can use the task dashboard for both personal and team to-do lists
When we’re using the progress tracking tools, we break our projects up into smaller chunks, then assign tasks out as needed. That way, instead of having one or two projects with numerous tasks, we have four or five projects with easy-to-accomplish tasks. It helps provide a sense of accomplishment when we check off one of the projects as 100% done.
Here’s a look at one of our personalized dashboards.
To eliminate mistakes or forgotten steps in our task list for new pieces of content, we created a task-specific template that we re-use each time we plan a new piece of content. We can edit or remove the tasks as needed, but each time, we know we start a new project with a fresh list of to-do items.
CoSchedule allows us to track tasks for both internal and external marketing partners, making it a perfect tool to keep everyone on task, even when they’re not in our office.
Additionally, we use color labels and content types to help identify projects at-a-glance. For example, we know that yellow labels are Website and SEO projects, and orange are daily social media messages. Which brings us to the second favorite feature of CoSchedule: social media scheduling and analytics.
Social Media Messages Made Easier
Before CoSchedule, we were using a handful of different platforms to schedule and monitor our social media posts. Using one tool for everything cuts down on the time flipping back and forth between platforms, and allows other team members to see what messages have been scheduled.
Now it’s easier to see and pinpoint gaps in our social sharing schedule, or reschedule a message or campaign with drag-and-drop capability.
We also use ReQueue, a tool that intelligently fills the gaps in our social schedule. With ReQueue, we select specific evergreen social messages, and ReQueue fills in the gaps. As it does, we’re able to consistently re-promote our best content by “setting it and forgetting it” at the best possible traffic times for our social networks.
Marketing calendar: Who’s working on what, and when
Being able to view our entire upcoming six weeks of marketing projects on one calendar has become the biggest advantage of using CoSchedule.
Our team members can reschedule social messages, content, or marketing projects from anywhere in the calendar with a simple drag-and-drop click.
We use the tagging options mentioned above to add color labels to topic-specific content for easy filtering. We can even search content by author name or project status.
Most of the time, we’re using CoSchedule at the office to keep track of our marketing projects, messages, and calendar. But even when we’re not, CoSchedule has an easy-to-navigate mobile app for scheduling messages and content whenever and wherever we need to.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
CoSchedule has been an enormous benefit to our overall marketing strategy. We now have an organized way to manage all the internal and external partners in our marketing department, with ways to track tasks, projects, and campaigns.
How much time are we saving with CoSchedule? Our marketing team is spending less time tracking down spreadsheets, social messages, and trying to find the email threads that contain important marketing message pieces. On average, we’re saving over five hours a week.
And with that extra time available, our team members gain additional hours to define, launch and enhance software products in our lab. (And also, celebrate the digital product journey with clients, partners, colleagues, and family. Usually with cake.)