Here Are The 7 Keys To Being Successful With CoSchedule
You’ve officially sealed the deal on the tool that will save your life…
…streamline your entire team’s execution process…
…AND increase your online engagement by leaps + bounds. 🙌
(And it feels hella awesome).
The only problem: You’ve gotta set it up.
And you don’t have a lot of time.
Cuz you’re busy! (That’s why you got CoSchedule in the first place!)
Your to-do list is longer than should be legal…
You’ve got a thousand meetings…
….a million fast-approaching deadlines…
And this whole tool set-up process feels like an EXTRA pile of tasks to try and squeeze in your already loaded to-do list.
And we get it.
Which is why I’ve put together a neat lil’ guide to set you (and your team) up for success with CoSchedule.
“But Emma, shouldn’t I be able to do this myself? Without your help?!”
The answer is a resounding, “Yes! You can definitely get CoSchedule set-up without me!”
BUT this guide is filled with insider’s tips…
(and tricks). 😎
Things you *might* not know.
Things that you might wish you would have read BEFORE trying to set everything up…
Things you’ll never know…
…unless you keep on reading.
So without further ado….
…here are 7 keys to being successful with CoSchedule.
You’ve got this!
Key 1 – Say ‘Yes!’ To The First Call With Your CoSchedule Expert
…I know what you’re thinking.
“Really, Emma. ANOTHER CALL? I’ve already had X sales calls…I don’t have time for this…I don’t want to be sold anymore, I already bought CoSchedule and I just want to get started.”
And I hear you.
But here are 3 reasons why you SHOULD go to the first call with your CoSchedule Expert:
- It will only take a few minutes of your time (15-20 minutes to be exact).
- You will NOT be sold anything.
- This is call to answer any questions, and give you some awesome tips + tricks so you can hit the ground running.
…choosing to have the call (or not) is entirely up to you.
But it could be the difference between spending 15-20 minutes on a call…
…or multiple hours spinning your wheels because you can’t figure out how to set up your calendar.
My recommendation: have your initial call :)
(You’ll thank yourself later)
What you’ll need: yourself, a nice cup of coffee or tea, and a whole buncha questions.
And while I can’t provide you with a hot beverage …
…. I CAN give you an initial list of questions (and why they are important to ask) to get the wheels turning.
Here ya go!
Question 1 : What are good strategies for communicating + sharing CoSchedule with my team?
Explanation: You’ve got this awesome, shiny, new tool. (Hint: It’s CoSchedule). Besides setting it up, you’ve got a whole team to get on board with the changes that come along with figuring out a new tool – and we have strategies + resources to make that process WAY easier.
Question 2: We are rolling out CoSchedule in phases…what is the best way to do that?
Explanation: We’ve helped TONS of people transition from different tools onto CoSchedule. (Which means we can help you make the transition seamless by applying the lessons we’ve learned along the way).
Question 3: What are some metrics I should use to define success with CoSchedule?
Explanation: Based on the conversation / outcome of this question, your CoSchedule Expert can make sure you have the reporting tools you need to prove success. (AKA make sure you have the metrics you need to make you look like a superstar!)
And while those are just a few questions you could ask, feel free to come with any other questions you might have. 😊
We get that you don’t have a lot of time to spare…
Which is why I *highly* recommend attending your initial call, because it could end up saving you SO MUCH time as you start implementing CoSchedule.
And that’s the goal, right?
Key 2 – Schedule Your Onboarding Call (AKA Your *Custom* CoSchedule Crash Course)
So after the initial call with your CoSchedule Expert…
…make sure to set up a time (about two weeks later) for your #official onboarding call.
“Wait. Why two weeks? Why can’t we just combine the pre-call with the onboarding call?”
Here is the main reason we hold two separate calls: time.
It takes time to learn a new tool.
And after you start diving into CoSchedule, you’re probably going to have questions…
…but the key is you need plenty of time in CoSchedule to figure out what questions you have!
Two weeks between the initial call and the onboarding call makes sure you have enough time to a) get into the nitty-gritty of CoSchedule and b) come up with specific questions based on how you decide to use the tool.
Because this onboarding call isn’t your standard, run-of-the-mill call that we do for every client…
(that would be lame)
…it’s a *custom* training for you + your team focused on your unique needs.
The goal of the session is to drive adoption, achieve success faster…
AND spend more time getting the real work done.
So once you’ve scheduled your onboarding call…
…you’re ready for step numba 3!
Key 3 – Start Settin’ It Up!
You’ve had the initial chat with your CoSchedule Expert…
…scheduled your onboarding call…
…so what now?
Well, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start setting up, implementing, and getting familiar with CoSchedule!
And because this is your all-in-one guide to being successful with CoSchedule…
…I’ve outlined the 4 major steps to complete before your official onboarding call.
Step 1: Communicate Why CoSchedule Was Hired To Your Team + Key Stakeholders
You might have already done this step (pre-purchase)…
…if so, skip ahead to step 2!
…this step is key. :)
Informing your team (and any related stakeholders) about your new tool is crucial to it’s success.
Because if your team isn’t excited about it…
…then they aren’t going to be much help during the transition.
So here are some quick strategies (in addition to any you discussed with your CoSchedule Expert during the initial call)..
…to effectively communicate with your team + any key stakeholders:
Option 1: Have an informal meeting where you invite everyone involved and have an open discussion about the reasons why you chose CoSchedule. Here’s a handy presentation, too!
Option 2: Send an email explaining why you chose CoSchedule with links to blogs that explain some of your favorite features.
Option 3: Swing by every team member’s desk (especially if you have a smaller team) for a quick discussion + to get their input.
After you’ve talked with your team…
we hope they are just as excited as you!
(And that they look a little something like this ↓ )
Step 2: Setting Up Your Calendar (The Basics)
Next up: setting up your calendar!
In this section, we’re going to walk through how to set up your time zone, add team members to your calendar AND connect your social media accounts.
Let’s get right to it.
Set Up Your Time Zone
First things first…let’s set up your time zone.
(Because timing is everything…😉 )
Here’s the how-to:
Head to your calendar settings by clicking the gear icon on the lower left hand side of your screen.
Select your calendar. (Note: If you have multiple calendars, you will have to set up each calendar individually, so select the one you would like to set up first)
Near the top of the page, you should see “Calendar Time Zones.”
If the time zone listed is incorrect, hit How do I change this? and you will be directed to a web page with detailed steps on how to modify your time zone.
Add Team Members To Your Calendar
Once you’ve set up your time zone…
…you’re ready to add team members to your calendar.
Here’s the how to:
Head to your calendar settings (again), and select Team from the left sidebar menu.
Select Invite New User, and either invite them via WordPress or via email.
Use the drop-down to select your new team member’s role, and use the toggle switch if you want them to have Admin access. (For more information on how roles + admin settings work, check out this blog post on Team Permissions).
Connect Your Social Accounts
Once you’ve added all your team members to your calendar…
…you’re ready to connect your social accounts!
Here’s the how-to:
Within your calendar settings, select Social Profiles from the left-hand sidebar menu.
From there, add any of your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, or Instagram profiles by following the directions on the screen.
And now that you’ve gotten the initial set-up completed…
…it’s onto step 3!
Step 3: Get Organized
You’ve communicated with your team + key stakeholders….
….set up your time zone…added team members to your calendar…connected your social media accounts…
AND added content!
Go you! 🙌
So the last thing to do before your onboarding meeting…
…is to get organized!
Within CoSchedule, there are 4 layers of organization: color labels, content types, tags, and saved calendar views.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Color Labels: How your team / content is structured
- Content Types: The types of content you produce
- Tags: The consistent project types that you + your team work on, and would want to easily find at a later date
- Saved Calendar Views: Groups of labels, content, team members, and/or tags that you want to quickly + easily access
Layer 1: Color Labels
First things first, figuring out how you want to utilize your color labels!
Here are some questions to consider:
- Are there sub-groups within your team?
- Do you want to restrict access to certain types of groups or team members?
- Do some people work on similar content? (ie. graphics vs. copywriting vs. blogs vs. social media)
- Is there a color scheme I prefer? (such as company brand, etc)
Once you answer those questions, it will be easier to figure out how many labels you need, the color scheme, and label names that will work best for you + your team.
And because examples are always great, here are a few ways companies in varying industries could set up their color labels:
And when you’re ready to create your *own* color labels…
…here’s the how-to:
Head to your calendar settings, and on the right side of the screen is a list of all your current labels (with the pre-set color scheme).
To start changing up the colors, click on the circle icon, and select one of the colors listed in the drop down palette, or you can select a specific color by using the color wheel (or put in the exact hex number).
To add text to your color label, head to the text box next to the color you want to use and start typing!
If you haven’t decided what name to your label (or don’t want to name it at all)…any un-named labels will be listed horizontally at the bottom of the dropdown within your navigation menu.
Once you have all the labels you need for your team, drag and drop them into the order that works best for you!
And just like that…
You’ve mastered the art of the custom color label!
Layer 2: Content Types
Onto the next layer of organization….content types!
Here are some questions to consider:
- What types of content do we use / create the most?
- Does every piece of content need it’s own content type?
- Are there any content types missing from the pre-set list that we need to create?
And once you answer those questions, it will be SO much easier to figure out how to make content types work best for you.
For your reference, here are two examples of how real companies use content types:
^^Pretty versatile, right?
Key Takeaway: As long as the system works for you, that’s all that matters!
Layer 3: Tags
Let’s dive into the next layer of organization: tags.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What consistent project types do you + your team work on?
- What kinds of content do you want to easily find at a later date?
- Is there a certain type of content you reference a lot?
Once you’ve thought through the above, you should have a nice list of categories that you can add to your content.
And when you’re ready, here’s the how-to:
Head into any piece of content you already have on the calendar.
Underneath the text box where you have titled your piece of content (and added a description) is a text box where you can create your first tag.
Simply type in the first tag you want for your piece of content, hit Enter, and then voila!
You’ve successfully added your first tag!
And because we don’t like limits…
…you can add as many tags as you want to a piece of content.
Because you have to actually be able to find them…
…otherwise, it won’t cut down on your search process down the road.
And because examples are always helpful…
…here are 3 different ways you could use tags to organize your content:
Scenario 1: Your marketing team has posts written in different languages, so now you can easily add tags like “English” or “Español” (along with however many other tags you want to add) to those specific pieces of content. Or if you create content for certain regions of the world, make sure to include the region / country name as one of your tags. For instance “North America” or “Argentina.”
Scenario 2: Your marketing team manages multiple clients. So now you can easily add their respective company names as tag to every piece of their content. For example all Hotdog + Co content should include the tag “Hotdog + Co.”
Scenario 3: Your marketing team produces a whole range of topical content. For instance, part of your content usually includes How-to’s and feature launches. So if you write a blog about how to use a new feature called “Raining Cats + Dogs” make sure to add “How-To” and “Raining Cats + Dogs” when assigning tags to your content.
And just like content types, there is no “right” way to use tags…
…as long as your system works for you + your team.
Layer 4: Saved Calendar Views
Finally, let’s talk about saved calendar views!
(AKA the layer of organization that makes it easy to quickly access your content).
Here are some questions to consider before you create a saved calendar view:
- Is there a specific label, content type, or tag that you want to quickly access?
- Are there things on your calendar that your would rather *not* see?
- Do you want to create views so each member of your team can access their specific content quickly?
And when you’ve got an idea of the views you want to create, here’s the how-to:
On the upper left side of your calendar, select your new filter button.
Opened your menu, and at the top you will notice a “Saved” section. This is where your saved filters will be located (more on that later).
Below that list, you should see ALL the options you can use to filter your calendar.
Then, drill down into a view that works best for you (just one time!), and save your filter for quick + convenient access whenever you need it.
Oh, and because we don’t believe in limits around here…
…you can create an *unlimited* amount of saved calendar views.
So, once you’ve created all the views you need, easily to drag and drop them into the order that makes the most sense for you + your team.
…you’ve officially learned how to organize your *new* CoSchedule calendar.
Step 4: Add Content To Your Calendar
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for…
…adding REAL LIFE content to your calendar!
And because this is the ultimate how-to guide, we’re gonna show you how to plan + add content to your calendar using Marketing Projects 😎
But before you start adding EVERYTHING to your calendar…
…start by testing it out a little.
Because by starting slow, you give yourself PLENTY of time to learn all the ins-and-outs of adding content before making a complete transition.
While learning curve is minimal…
(hey, we don’t like complicated stuff either)
…thoroughly understanding how everything works (and working out any kinks) is always a win-win!
So, to figure out which content you want to test out, ask yourself “Over the next 30 days or so, what 3-5 big content-heavy projects do I want to transition to CoSchedule?”
Once you have a list…you’re *officially* ready to start adding content to your calendar with Marketing Projects.
Here’s the how-to:
First, create a Marketing Project on your calendar, and name your project using the title of your event. For instance “Block Party.”
Then, assign a color label to your project, add an owner, and finally, add the beginning date (the day the first piece of content would be due) and end date (either the day of the event OR the last day of any post-event content items).
And then save your project! (Hint: For more information on creating multi-day marketing campaigns, check out this blog post).
But before you start adding content to your marketing project…
…take a few minutes to think about the content types (and their purpose) that would be included in your marketing project.
To get the wheels turning, let’s break down the types of content you could leverage to plan a large event, like a Block Party:
- Article (for your thoughts): A list of all the event-related items that need to be done before the Block Party (event location, budget, decorations, vendors, etc)
- Email: Save The Dates (time and date, plus some detail)
- Email: Invitation (time and date, detail, and register link)
- Blog: Even more details about the block party (celebrities, music, food, drinks)
- Social Promotion: Social campaign to get people hyped about the event
- Social Promotion: Social campaign with photos of the actual event (after it happens
- Email: Thank you (to thank guests who attend the event)
And once you’ve planned out what content types to add on your calendar…
…here’s how you add the content to your marketing project (using the Block Party as an example).
First, head to your Block Party marketing project, click the + sign on the first day of your project timeline, and add the content type Article.
Name your article Block Party Checklist, assign it a color label, an owner, and select Create Project Checklist.
Now you can add documents from Google Docs, files from your computer, sync to WordPress (if it’s a blog), or start typin’ away in our text editor.
And now for my FAVORITE PART: adding tasks to your content :)
There are 2 ways to add tasks to your piece of content: 1) adding them one by one in the main panel…
…or 2) creating a workflow template that you can reuse (which is GREAT if you are consistently following the same process every time for a certain type of content).
The best part about tasks?
You can assign owners AND due dates to every single task…
…which makes it easy to understand workloads and keep track of deadlines (so you’re always in the loop)!
^^pretty awesome, right?!
And once you’ve added your tasks to your piece of content, you’re ready to add the next piece of content to your marketing project!
Rinse and repeat the above steps until every piece of content is added to your marketing project.
^^When you’re done, it should look a lil’ something like this!
And once you’ve added 3-5 major projects to your calendar…
…you’re onto step 5!
Key 4 – Get Pumped For Your #Official Onboarding Call
YOU MADE IT.
It’s approximately two weeks after your initial call…
…you’ve taken a dive into your shiny, new tool…
And now you’re ready for your *custom* CoSchedule crash course with your very own CoSchedule Expert. 💪
Here’s what to expect:
- Your session will be anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour (based on the amount of questions you might have).
- This is a Q&A and strategy session, so expect some great discussion about what we can do to make CoSchedule your favorite tool.
- You’re chatting with a super nice person from the Midwest – it’s going to be a pleasant AND efficient convo :)
Now, here’s what you should bring:
A few key members of your team.
Why? Because this gives them an opportunity to ask questions, meet with a CoSchedule Expert, and get hyped!
A list of any issues you are having with CoSchedule.
This is a GREAT time to talk about any issues you are experiencing. Having trouble connecting social profiles? Want to talk strategy when it comes to organizing your calendar? Need something fixed with billing? Now’s the time :)
Finally, any questions you (or your team) might have.
Have questions based on your experience in the tool? (Hint: Think back to when we talked about why time in the tool is the most important way to figure out if you have questions. Now that you’ve been in the tool for a couple weeks, use this time get all those questions answered :)
And after you feel like all your questions have been answered, your issues (if any) are resolved, and your team feels AMAZING about the tool…
…you’re done! And onto the next step. 😎
Key 5 – Roll Out CoSchedule To Your Team! *woop woop*
Everything’s set up…
…now it’s time getting your team acclimated + EXCITED to start using CoSchedule on a regular basis.
First, get your core team members (2-3 people) comfortable with the tool.
This gives you the opportunity to get their initial feedback + make adjustments (if necessary).
Plus, they might have a better idea on how to organize your content, etc., and can help you finalize how you want the rest of your team to use CoSchedule.
And once you have a few comfortable users…
Roll it out to the rest of your team.😎
The best part? The initial 2-3 people who are already in the tool can help train the newbies!
And once you’ve got your *whole* team onto CoSchedule…
…the last couple steps are easy as pie.
Key 6 – You’re Gonna Be An All-Star (Let’s Prove It)
As we near the end of *officially* setting you up for success…
…it’s time to think about goal setting.
Because that’s how you can prove your success down the road.
Let’s round up some key reports + metrics that you can use to figure out your goals.
Social Engagement Report
First, let’s head to your Social Engagement Report.
This is where you can view your overall engagement rate, the engagement rates by each social network, AND the social engagement of every social profile you have linked to your calendar.
Starting from your main calendar view, select Analytics in your sidebar menu, and then click on your Social Engagement Report.
Adjust the date from when you first started sending out social messages to today’s date.
Note your engagement rate (which total engagements divided by total messages sent), the engagement rates of all your social networks, and the engagement rates of your social profiles.
Now, think about where you want those numbers to be one month from now…
…6 months from now…
and a year from now!
Make sure to write down your goals (may I suggest the Type-A favorite, the Excel spreadsheet)…
…and then decide how often you want to track those numbers (ex. weekly or monthly).
Once you’ve solidified the metrics you want to track for your social media performance (if you’re using the tool for social)…
…it’s time to set goals related to your team’s performance.
Team Performance Report
Head to your Team Performance Report (on your analytics page).
This is where you can view your overall completion rate (along with diving into individual projects), and check up on individual team members completed tasks vs. tasks completed past due vs. overdue tasks.
Track your overall completion rate two different ways. 1) Your overall (so year to date) completion rate and 2) your monthly completion rate (you can do this by adjusting the dates in the upper left-hand corner of the report).
Look at your current numbers…
…and set your goals from there :)
As far as individual team member performance…you can definitely track that too (but it might get a little tedious after a while), so here’s a general rule of thumb: everyone should always be at 100% (or really close) when it comes to completing tasks on time.
If you start to notice that isn’t the case…
(whenever you decide to check in)
…then it’s worth setting up meetings with your team members to see what the problem is.
It could be that your workflow process isn’t matching what your team can handle…
…you need to adjust workloads (because some people are slammed and others are not)…
…or someone *actually* is dropping the ball.
At the end of the day, it’s all about catching hiccups early and meeting (or exceeding) the goal you set up for your overall completion rate.
Finally…let’s talk about goals for content + workflow management.
Content + Workflow Management
CoSchedule is the #1 marketing calendar for everything you need organized…
…but we also want it to be the #1 way you create + publish your content…
…AND be the #1 way you manage + optimize your workflows.
Here are a couple metrics to think about when it comes to creating + publishing your content :
- # Content Published Monthly (with the goal of producing MORE content, faster)
- Average Time Spent Producing Content (you should be able get more accomplished in a much shorter time period, so a goal here would be to see a decrease for a while and then finding your sweet spot).
And here are a couple metrics to think about when it comes to optimizing your workflows:
- Execution Time (how long it takes your team to complete content, should be faster with CoSchedule)
- Tasks Completed On Time vs. Past Due (use your Team Performance Report to track this!)
Just like you did with the Social Engagement Report, look at where you are right now with all these metrics.
Then, think about where you want to be one month from now, 6 months from now, and a year from now.
Make sure to write them down + track ‘em (recommendation: track all your metrics in the same place).
And beyond the metrics + reports listed here, you might have a few internal reports you want to use (based on your company, etc.). So make sure to set goals for those, too!
And once you have all your goals + metrics defined…
…you’re ready for the LAST key to being successful with CoSchedule.
Key 7 – Keep Crushin’ It!
You’ve got your questions answered…your calendar is set up…
Your team is onboarded…all your key stakeholders are pumped about your metrics (because you’re already seeing *amazing* results)…
…and you’re feeling great.
Go you! 🎉
Now all you gotta do is keep crushin’ it.
And even though you’re a CoSchedule pro…
If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re here to help.