ContentCal compared to Buffer
11th December 2020
If you’re looking to take your social media content to the next level, investing in a brilliant social media tool is the key. Not only will it help you organise your content, but it can also automate the process, save time in your working week and help you to grow your social channels.
Let’s take a look at two of the top content marketing tools available; ContentCal and Buffer.
Buffer started as a one-man-band in the UK, developed by its co-founder Joel Gascoigne in 2010. Initially a Twitter-only tool, it soon grew in popularity and now has over 70,000 customers and multiple platform capabilities.
Its aim is simple; publish and analyze, although, with some of the top tier plans, you do get a little more bang for your buck. There are several plans available, Pro, Premium and Business.
ContentCal began its life in 2014 as a social media marketing agency. The company identified an opportunity in the content marketing tools market to improve strategies, workflows and social media management for freelancers, agencies and businesses. In 2016, ContentCal as we now know it was relaunched and taken to market.
Thousands of customers have since come on board, including WPP, Royal Mail, Dentsu Aegis, and more.
Users can select from a selection of plans: Pro, Company, Premium and Enterprise.
Buffer is simple to use because there isn’t too much to get your head around. The user experience is fine, but visual users may find it lacking. If you’re searching for a tool that saves you switching from platform to platform, this is a good option. It’s quick and easy to add your social accounts, and you can take a quick tour to see what’s on offer.
With the Pro and Premium plans, you can add eight social accounts, but with Business, you get 25. The number of posts and users also differs per account, with 6 being the maximum on the Business plan. There’s also a free plan available.
You can link Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. All of your accounts are listed on the left-hand side, so it’s neat and tidy.
Setting up posting schedules allows you to organise your queue for separate accounts, and there are a few ways to input your content. Use the bar at the top of the page to add it to the next available slot, or select a specific slot.
Once your content has posted, you’ll get live updates on its performance via the Analytics tab, as well as the option to share any of your content again, which is great if it’s a particularly popular post or you create a lot of evergreen content.
The Reply tool is a Business feature that lets you see all of your responses in one place, making it easy to interact with your followers.
If you want more in-depth analytics, you’ll need to upgrade for the Analyze feature, which will give you strategy recommendations, automatic reports, Stories analytics and more. On the lower tier versions of the Buffer editorial calendar, you only have access to post-by-post analytics.
With Buffer direct scheduling, you can publish straight to your Instagram Business account. With the premium accounts, you’ll also have access to Instagram Tagging, Instagram First Comment, Instagram Shop Grid and more, which makes it great for businesses whose main focus is Instagram. However, the price is steep to get your hands on all of these features, so that’s worth bearing in mind.
ContentCal is a visual calendar layout, which lets you see all of your posts clearly. Adding your accounts, users and assigning permissions is simple, and the onboarding team is there to help if you need a hand, as well as the extensive help center guides.
You can publish to most social media networks with ContentCal, due to its variety of Zapier integrations. Clicking on the calendar allows you to create a post, select your profiles, add images, category tags, publish times and dates, plus use any saved hashtags and send it for approval - if needs be.
It’s a drag and drop content marketing tool, helping you to reorganise content quickly if needs be. The color-coded publish states will soon be ingrained in your brain, and the option to reuse your posts is ideal for those with evergreen content.
The Content Hub is a library where all of your previous posts will live, as well as anything you’d like to add for future content. Marketing teams can plan out their social and marketing strategies, work on campaigns and collaborate with people around the business.
ContentCal Engage brings all of your inboxes together in a single, useful place. You can reply to comments, mentions, DMs and more. You can also assign tasks to different members of your team to spread out the workload.
As well as being one of the top content marketing tools around, ContentCal goes a step further, letting you organise your whole marketing team’s activity within the platform. Zapier enables you to integrate thousands of apps, so it becomes a one-stop-shop for all the team’s needs.
The Analytics tool allows you to see your top-performing content, relevant metrics and learn how to create better content for your brand or clients.
Re-buffer The option to reuse your previous posts saves time and enables you to make the most out of your evergreen content.
Browser extension Buffer’s browser extension allows you to share images, videos and links from anywhere on the web.
Instagram power Business accounts get a lot of flexibility when it comes to Instagram, with shopping tags, first comment, hashtags and more.
Plenty of support You can tell the Buffer team loves what it does and this comes across in its swift and helpful customer service.
Confusing pricing structure If you’re a large business with plenty of budget, you’ll have no qualms about paying separately for publishing and analytics capabilities. For freelancers and smaller companies, though, it becomes confusing and expensive to get what you need.
No media library Although you can reuse your previous content efficiently, Buffer doesn’t have a dedicated media library to store your assets and ideas.
Basic analytics for non-premium accounts There are virtually no reporting capabilities within the affordable Buffer range, meaning that agencies and social media teams need to pay if they want to get in-depth insights.
Some collaboration, but only on the upper tiers If you want to rid your company of shared spreadsheets and files, you’ll need to opt for the Business version of Buffer.
Ease of use ContentCal is remarkably simple to use and balances the visual aspect of planning content, along with many other different types of content.
Response tool With a single inbox to work from, you’ll always be on top of your social media interaction game with our communication feature, Respond. Assigning messages to your colleagues means you can split the workload among the team.
Single marketing hub If shared calendars, Dropboxes and Google Drives are the banes of your life, ContentCal can simplify this. The marketing hub enables you to work on shared Calendars, store content, plan campaigns and collaborate with the wider business, making it ideal for agencies, freelancers and social teams.
Long-form content Create long-form content such as blog posts, newsletters, press releases and more with the Articles feature.
Content reuse Reuse content easily and create templates to save time in your day-to-day life.
Get others involved Find out what people outside of your team would love to see from your social media and marketing with the Contributions feature.
Availability of support Receive a response within minutes during the working day, allowing you to get back to what’s important.
Easy-to-use analytics The Analytics tab features easy-to-read reports, date range capability and insights on how to optimize your content to perform. And there are no hidden fees to access them.
Seamless content integration As well as giving you a selection of efficient content marketing tools, ContentCal can become your marketing team’s new HQ, working as a centralized hub for all marketing activity.
Pricing Pricing is affordable, with a range of plans available for professionals and businesses.
Although ContentCal’s Analytics are readily available, the reports themselves are pretty topline. However, a new, improved version of Analytics is on its way for getting to the bottom of those nitty gritty results. Keep an eye on our product roadmap to see what’s coming up and when.
If you have the budget to pay for it, Buffer is one of the top content marketing tools to schedule and evolve your content - especially for Instagram. However, considering the price for the whole package, you’d expect a little more for your money, such as bulk uploading, social listening and a content library.
As a standalone scheduling tool, Buffer works wonders, but the confusing price structure, lack of analytics and response tools within the non-premium versions rules it out as an option for freelancers and small businesses with lower budgets.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Buffer editorial calendar, ContentCal might tick all the boxes.
Along with smart content scheduling, ContentCal provides a Content Hub, a unified inbox and space for collaboration within your business, which can positively impact your marketing strategy and streamline your workflow.
Want to discover more about ContentCal? Book a demo now and our engagement specialists will show you the ropes.
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