The Best Editorial Calendar for Multi-Author Blogs (And It’s Not CoSchedule)

Nelio Content is the best editorial calendar plugin for WordPress. (Photo: Nelio Software)

When you run a blog with multiple authors, organization is a must.

A great editorial calendar helps you keep track of all the moving pieces in your daily workflow.

In fact, editorial calendars can mean the difference between blogging success and failure, according to Copyblogger: “That little bit of planning goes a surprisingly long way toward getting the most audience reach from your blog content.”

For the past several years, I used CoSchedule to help me and my team of writers and editors manage content for my multi-author WordPress blog, Petful. CoSchedule has been widely hailed as the best editorial calendar on the market. Crazy Egg, for example, wondered in a glowing 2013 review, when CoSchedule first hit the market, if it might be “the content marketing editorial calendar to beat all others.”

CoSchedule allowed us to see upcoming content at a glance, in a visually attractive way. Internal communication on posts was a cinch with CoSchedule’s built-in commenting function. You could keep all conversations about a specific post in one place — on the post back end — rather than deal with multiple email threads.

A bonus with CoSchedule was social media scheduling: You could queue up social media posts days, weeks, or even months in advance.

Since 2014, I enjoyed these basic features of CoSchedule, but watched idly as the web app became bloated with various bells and whistles (like a headline analyzer) that I had no use for. As HubSpot says, “A large heap of stinkin’ features is a Not Great Thing.”

Even so, I paid $9 per month as a “Legacy” user—the company’s term for its earliest supporters.

CoSchedule is heavy on the bells and whistles, but all those features cost $$$.

Goodbye, CoSchedule. It Was Nice While It Lasted.

Recently, CoSchedule gave its Legacy users the shaft, forcing them to auto-upgrade to much more expensive plans by April 11 or delete their accounts. They wanted to increase my monthly fee by an astounding 567 percent!

CoSchedule’s CEO, Garrett Moon, acknowledged that the rate hike was “a bummer.” His actual words.

“Jacking up the price is a heck of a way to thank your loyal customers,” I wrote to the company, miffed.

“We definitely understand that the price tag might be a little out of reach for you and your team,” a “customer success” rep replied, helpfully adding: “If you are wanting to cancel that plan before April 11th, I would be happy to assist.”

Cancel I did. And quickly.

I have no love for companies that treat their earliest supporters this way, and I’m a firm believer in voting with your wallet. I asked for, and received, a partial refund from CoSchedule for the time remaining on my yearly plan.

The WordPress plugin Editorial Calendar, like the name itself, feels rather basic.

CoSchedule Alternative

For two weeks, I searched for a CoSchedule alternative. I wanted the basic features to which I had grown accustomed—a visually attractive WordPress editorial calendar, social media post scheduling, and the ability to communicate with my team on individual posts.

The search was more difficult than I’d expected.

There are several editorial calendar plugins for WordPress, but none seemed to be a perfect fit for my needs:

  • Editorial Calendar: Nice name—pretty much says it all. However, this free plugin is too basic. You can drag posts to different days on the calendar, which is great, and see your posts at a glance, but that’s pretty much it. I’m sure it’s a perfectly suitable editorial calendar for single-author blogs, but it’s not robust enough for multi-author content management.
  • Edit Flow: I really like that you can set custom post statuses to take full control of your editorial workflow. Also, you can leave comments on posts to your team members, who will receive email notifications. This was a step up from Editorial Calendar, but there was zero social media automation. And besides that, this free plugin didn’t play well with Petful’s WordPress theme, causing multiple errors on the back end.
  • Kapost: This actually isn’t a WordPress plugin; it’s a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. $3,500 per month? I don’t know what this enterprise-level software does, but it could write and edit all of my content, wash my dishes, feed my cat, and take down my recycling once a week and I still wouldn’t be interested at that ridiculous price point. Pass!

I even considered having a WordPress-savvy developer create my perfect editorial calendar for me. However, this would have cost thousands of dollars, and let’s face it—I would be in over my head.

My search continued.

And then I stumbled upon my solution.

Hello, Nelio Content!

Nelio Content, from Barcelona-based Nelio Software, is a robust new WordPress editorial calendar plugin that offers many of the convenient features I loved from CoSchedule, and even improves on some of them.

First of all, there’s no separate login, as required by CoSchedule. I would always forget my CoSchedule password, which was annoying. But now, if I’m logged into the WordPress admin area, I’m good to go with Nelio. Sweet!

With the Nelio calendar, I can quickly add posts and edit titles, drag and drop posts from one day to another, schedule various tasks for team members, leave internal comments to authors on individual posts, and easily schedule social media posts weeks in advance—which saves me a ton of time.

In addition, I can see our top-performing content at a glance, thanks to Nelio’s seamless integration with Google Analytics.

But wait—there’s more.

Nelio’s quality-control function automatically analyzes your content, making sure you’re hitting your word count goals, that you’re linking both internally and externally to other content (which improves SEO), that you’re using images properly, and so on. Once you’ve used this quality-control feature, you’ll find that it’s an indispensable part of your content workflow. Here’s what it looks like:

Nelio Content’s quality-control feature

Nelio Content costs $25 per month for the team version, which allows unlimited users from your team. (A personal, single-user plan is available for just $9 per month, and there’s even a free version that retains almost all of the single-user subscriber features.)

What Doesn’t Really Work for Me

Of course, there are a few things about Nelio Content that don’t quite fit my needs.

For example, the Editorial Tasks and Editorial Comments features, which allow an editor to create tasks or leave a comment for a post author, doesn’t help me much at Petful. This is because, for us, there are multiple “hands” that touch a single post.

Even though the editorial comments can be viewed by any user with editing privileges, I would prefer a way to tag and notify multiple users (such as the copy editor, the assigning editor, and the managing editor) on these internal comments, rather than just the post author.

Also, I would expect to receive email notifications each time someone left a comment or assigned a task, but that’s not the way Nelio Content works right now.

So the Petful team has gone back to communicating via email about specific posts. But that’s really no big deal; Nelio offers so many other great features on its editorial calendar that I’m willing to overlook it.

As of version 1.2.9, Nelio Content’s editorial calendar now puts draft posts in a red tint on your calendar, pending posts in yellow, and scheduled posts in green. This automatic color system is very handy for WordPress blogs with multiple authors and editors. This is the color system that big news operations often use for their publishing workflows.

Here’s What Really Puts Nelio on Top

What I especially like about Nelio, besides the calendar, is the company’s refreshing approach to customer service.

I noticed this right away after I struck up an email conversation with David Aguilera, co-founder of Nelio Software. David had personally responded to some suggestions I’d made and said he’d pitch my ideas to his team.

Since then, David has kept me in the loop as these feature requests have made their way up the chain, and it looks like some of my ideas will make it into the next version. (Update! Say hello to color-shaded calendar entries so you can see at a quick glance which posts are drafts and which are pending review, plus Nelio now “remembers” if you don’t want to see all those social posts cluttering your calendar. Also, Nelio Content now features the ability to add custom post statuses, à la Edit Flow.)

Nelio’s responsiveness is no big surprise given the emphasis it places on customer service. “We know that one of our best assets is customer care—we might be a small team, but we spend as much resources and time as needed to guarantee a polite, efficient, and personalized support,” David says.

And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a paying customer, on a free plan, or just a random person—Nelio treats them all the same when it comes to support.

“We want our users to know that we’ll be there for them when they need us, and offering a great customer service from the very, very beginning is one of the best options to show them they can trust us,” David says.

“Your customers have the key to your business success, so why wouldn’t you be interested in talking to them and making them happy?” —David Aguilera, co-founder, Nelio Software

This customer-first philosophy is definitely working for Nelio, because I’m not the only person who was so inspired that he decided to write a detailed review of Nelio Content for no other reason than to let others know it exists.

You don’t have to be roped into large monthly fees from CoSchedule any longer. CoSchedule has a wonderful product but seems to have made a decision to go after super-big companies. Its earlier, smaller customers are being left behind.

Well, I’m here to tell you there’s a great new CoSchedule alternative out there. Its name is Nelio.

Have you tried out Nelio Content? I’d love to hear what you think about it. Leave me a comment below!

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