6 Planning Tools Save your Bacon

Yesterday one of my biggest bugbears with multiple people running the same social media platform reared its ugly head. A colleague and myself posted basically the same content. Identical in aim. Identical in subject. Identical in timestamp (almost). A quick emailed apology and swift deletion fixed the issue, but both of us had probably spent 10 minutes on getting the content together and double checking details before posting. If only we had actually communicated which of us was taking the account that day. Or, more specifically, who would tweet the details of our colleague’s radio show slot. This is really very minor, but it’s been happening more often as we’ve been exploring and exploiting social media more.

How are we going to get this right in future? Better communication: step into the ring Editorial Calendar Tools. I’ve gone and done some lovely research just for YOU (and me) to work out what’s the best fit.

1. Google Docs

Be Good Be Social lives off Google Docs. That and coffee.

Positives: It’s free, really easy to use and designed for collaboration. It’s not a fancy way of doing things, but at least your team can refer to it from anywhere. You can create a calendar on the sheets, with publication dates, key content, staff attribution and keywords.

Negatives: This can be pretty clunky and get into a bit of a mess – especially when people don’t keep accurate track of their work. Bigger teams might want to dedicate someone to keeping the document up to date.

2. WordPress Editorial Calendar

This is great for those who use WordPress as their CMS. Rather than relying on the drafts page for accurate planning, you can download this free editorial calendar extension. Blog post ideas are laid out in calendar form and then dragged and dropped when you need to rearrange your schedule. You can click through from the calendar to edit posts. Its tracking abilities are limited though, in terms of tracking content and social media posts. It’s best to just keep track of your blog posts through this and isn’t an all inclusive tool for your social media needs.

Wordpress Editorial Calendar

3. Trello

Trello is a beautifully user-friendly way to keep track of your development processes. It’s a template which allows you to set processes, assign tasks, and track progress on projects. The standard package is £8.33/user/month and larger companies including Google and Pixar use the business version.

Trello Content Planning Tool

4. ToDoist

This is a great platform, with a pretty decent free version, or a premium one from $28.99/year. It’s not primarily a content planning platform, but it used as such by a lot of small companies. Team members can sync with their Googledocs or Dropbox, access tasks via various calendar add-ons and of course keep track of to-do lists and monitor productivity.

5. Basecamp

Though not free, this tool is a great all-in-one option for content planning and work scheduling. Bascamp uses discussion threads, real-time chats, to-do lists, docs and file storage and a centralised schedule that you can add to your personal preferred calender (iCal, Google, Outlook). The key benefit is that everyone can stay on the same page, again with all the resources they need to get their contribution done. Basecamp takes a while to get your head around, but it’s really easy to use. There’s an option for people who prefer using email to simply receive and respond to notifications this way, and don’t need to log-in at all. It costs $29/month, which is what most non-profits would need, or go for more storage at a much higher price point.

Basecamp Planning Tools

6. Kapost

This is a larger platform, used by companies like CISCO and CBS. The software tracks your content marketing from idea and strategy to distribution and analysis. It’s of more use for organisations with larger teams, or have a large volume of content. It’s not just a content calendar, as it includes social publishing and analytics. It’s pricier, starting at $95 monthly.

Which tool do you use? Had any great or awful experiences with one of these tools? Leave a comment or Tweet us @BeGoodBeSocial

Words by Carrie Twitter @CarrieJWebb Instagrama @Cazzatrazza

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