ContentCal is a social media scheduling tool which helps businesses post their content online. But there is much more to this app than scheduling.
Social Media Apps
Let me start by saying that I had tried many tools before finding and falling in love with ContentCal. I was trying to remember how many apps I’d used the other day. Here are a few:
- Meet Edgar
- Social Oomph
- Post Planner
I know that I’ve tried others but I can’t remember what they were called and I’m sure some don’t exist anymore.
So you see when it comes to social media apps I’ve been around the block a bit.
Since I’ve found ContentCal I no longer have or need spreadsheets (numerous) or Word documents. Some of my spreadsheets were works of art in themselves. But keeping track of what I had or had not used was a nightmare. And I don’t have scraps of paper all over the place now either with bright ideas for blog posts either. And I’ve given away lots of work notebooks as the chaos they caused me did not make me happy (p.s. disclosure – I’m not saying I’m a tidy person now 😉 )
Let me explain why I’m using ContentCal:
Social Media Scheduling
The first thing a tool like ContentCal has to do is let you easily schedule content to go out to your audiences on Facebook (pages and groups), Twitter, LinkedIn (profiles & company pages), Instagram and other platforms. If your main focus is on Instagram I would consider using something else like Panoply. You can post to Instagram but you have to connect ContentCal to Instagram via Zapier and Buffer – it works but a bit fiddly. Hopefully Instagram will give ContentCal direct access soon.
You can schedule posts for any date and time in the future; you can preconfigure a set time to post on set days or you can post at random times.
Posts can be added as “approved” and go out at the time you’ve chosen. If you work as part of a team, or with a VA perhaps, content can be set to need moderation before it is published. If you run a social media management company you can schedule posts and receive feedback from your clients before the content goes out.
It is the ContentCal planning channels that have rescued me from spreadsheet paralysis. A planning channel is viewable on the calendar but the content is only there for you to plan ahead. So, I have a blog planning channel where I have the titles of my posts assigned to a specific date. If you are running email marketing campaigns you can have another channel for that. You can use a planning channel for anything – vlogs, podcasts, interviews etc….and see the plans for the week or the month all in one view.
Campaigns hold the essential information for each of your social media campaigns. As with the planning channels you can be flexible with how you use the campaign feature. You could have a campaign to fill the places at a workshop for instance. Or a themed campaigned like my Confessions of a Website Designer series or Tosca’s Wicked Words.
For each campaign you set a start and end date and then write up the brief. The brief has anything in it that you want to remember about the campaign. For my email marketing campaign I have saved the links I will use to source reliable information. I also have a section in the brief to record metrics like how many subscribers I gain or lose in that period.
The app is what saves my house from bits of paper lying all over the place. When an idea pops into my head I add it straightway via the app. I don’t type up all the content of course – I just add enough text to remind me of the gist. Then when I’m at my computer I open ContentCal and write up the idea fully. Your bright ideas are never lost.
ContentCal have started releasing some integrations that you setup using Zapier. For example you can connect ContentCal to Google sheets which creates a copy of your post into a Google Sheet. Or you could create a Google Form and when someone fills in the form Zapier creates a post in ContentCal. And an integration that I’ve not tried is between ContentCal and Pinterest. Zapier is a great tool to connect all sorts of apps but you may need a bit of patience as sometimes getting two apps connected is a bit temperamental. But once your Zap is setup then on the whole it’s smooth sailing.
The Content Hub is I think my favourite feature. This is where you put all your content, assign it to a category and use and reuse as appropriate. I create a post once and then if I want to use it again I can edit the content each time it gets published. The hub will let you know how often you’ve used a particular post. The hub is the place you keep your evergreen content.
Easy to Use
The user interface is perhaps the one reason that ContentCal tops the charts for me. It works for me visually. I get that the interface may not appeal to everyone. Much thought has gone into how the various features join together. As with anything new you need to give it time and use it regularly to see how it feels to you.
If I could give 5 stars for the level of support I would give 10. As I’m writing this I’m having 3 webchats with Ben. Here are the main reasons why this app beats the other social management systems I’ve tried before:
- There is a bank of video tutorials to get you going at the start.
- If they don’t have a video tutorial already to answer your particular query they will record one just for you – they have for me anyway.
- They are very responsive to questions asked via their web chat facility.
- If like me you are based in the UK it is a significant bonus to get help during our standard working hours rather than having to wait to get a response from someone across the globe.
All I’m going to say here is that I look forward to reading their emails to see what new features have been added.
In summary, you can see that I really do think that ContentCal is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
If you would like a walkthrough of the app click this link to ContentCal and they will arrange that with you.
p.s. Someone said to me the other day that they were apprehensive about putting all their content in someone else’s system and asked what would happen if they went bust or they lost all the content. That is a very good question and I can understand where it comes from. Firstly there is an option to export your content into a CSV file where you get the text content and a link to any images or videos you have uploaded. You could run the export on a monthly basis if you wanted to take a belts and braces approach. I have asked about the backup and restore policy at ContentCal just now via the webchat. When I get a reply I will update this post. I’m confident enough in their data recovery options to be using this app myself.