For the last few months, we've been experimenting with a new social media tool here at FBC called Meet Edgar.
We try out a lot of blogging tools, read a lot of e-books, and check out a lot of e-courses and programs, all in the hopes of discovering something we think our members need to know about. It's not often that we get from the "try it out" phase to the "blogger resource review" phase. Mostly because the tool, book or course just didn't wow us enough to make us want to put the effort into a review.
Edgar is different, though. After meeting Edgar about four months ago (and hanging out together consistently for two), we felt like we had to share our experience with all of you.
Before we dive in, we'll just say that we are paying customers of Edgar. Edgar does not run an affiliate program and we don't receive any compensation from writing this review.
What Is Edgar?
Edgar is a social media scheduling tool designed to help you get the most out of your evergreen content by helping you schedule old posts to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
So what, right? There are about 500 tools out there that will help you do that. And some of them will help you with Pinterest and Instagram as well.
That was our first concern too, because Edgar comes with a hefty price tag: $50US a month. Which right now in Canadian dollars is about fifty bajillion dollars a month (or it feels like it anyway).
We already pay monthly for a Pinterest scheduling tool so why on earth would we spend so much more money on a tool that can't even do all our scheduling?
Well, we heard good things about it from people who occupy a similar space to us — people with a lot of evergreen content. So we thought we'd give it a shot for a month and see how it went. We were impressed enough from that first month to dive in and snag a Cyber Monday sale where we locked in at $40/month for six months.
Key Edgar Features
The basic premise behind Edgar is that you can import your content into the app (it's essentially a desktop app), create Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook updates for all that content, categorize those updates and then schedule the categories to post to your social channels.
The categories are what make it a very useful tool. By segmenting your content into categories you have very fine control over what you schedule to social media.
For instance, create a category for Valentine's Day Twitter updates. Add all of your Valentine's day content to it. You may choose to schedule that content every Monday at 10 a.m. and every Friday at 3 p.m. for the four weeks leading up to February 14th. Edgar will simply cycle through the content in the category over the course of those eight time slots. If you have 14 Valentine's posts in the category, only 8 will be shown. If you have less than 8, then a few will run twice. After Valentine's day is over, you can remove the category from your schedule. But, the true beauty is ... when Valentine's day rolls around again next year, you already have all your posts categorized and ready to go. You just have to update the category with any new posts you have and add it back to your schedule!
You can do this with all your seasonal content. And if you have evergreen content that's good all year round, you can create content for those and schedule them throughout the year. We do this with our blogger resource posts, food photography tips and every day food posts. Our weekly meal plan category runs every weekend — right around the time people are thinking about what to cook for the coming week!
You also have the ability to shuffle the content in categories and view your queue up to two weeks in advance to see what Edgar has chosen for you. Don't like the order, or have categories that overlap? Not a problem — you can skip posts or shuffle categories to get a better mixture of content.
Getting Your Content Into Edgar
Edgar does have some tools to bulk upload your content to your library and to categorize it, as well as importing content through your RSS feed, but we haven't used them. We decided to manually input our content so we could craft strong status updates and tweets to go with them — especially where the content was written by one of our contributors. We wanted to be able to tag them in the tweets.
You can also upload photos for each tweet; for Facebook updates, it will automatically recognize the images in the post and you can choose the photo to accompany the status update.
It's a slow process but we chip away adding a few old posts every day, and adding our most recent post each morning. The power of Edgar will really pay off for us as we build that reservoir of evergreen content. Right now, we've only added about 20 percent of our suitable content.
The results, so far, have been mixed. I'll be honest, the results on Facebook have been very hit and miss in terms of reach. But I plan to experiment with it because I have some ideas on how that might be improved. Ultimately it does allow us to get old content in front of people who may never have seen it before.
But, where Edgar has really excelled is on Twitter. Facebook has always been our #1 referrer of traffic - by a long shot. Since using Edgar for Twitter consistently, Twitter is jockeying for the #1 spot on a daily basis and often winning. And more importantly, those posts are getting engagement: likes, retweets and conversation. An old post on kitchen hacks went viral two weeks ago. That post hasn't seen life since the day after it was originally published.
Overall, our page views have jumped by 23% since using Edgar consistently and our traffic from Twitter has gone up a whopping 50%! Despite hearing so much lately about how twitter has died, it's obvious there's still a lot of life there! And as we add more old content into our Edgar library, we hope to see those numbers continue to rise.
It's also encouraged us to start looking at our older, archived posts with fresh eyes — updating graphics, linking to other, newer content that's relevant with the idea of encouraging those readers to stay on the site longer and read more content. On the first few posts we've updated, we've seen our exit rates drop from usually close to 100 percent (meaning people land on the page and then leave the site) to around 80 percent. So, now 20 percent of those people are taking the time to click through and read the linked content. Our pages viewed per session have gone up 7% and our average session duration has increased by 21%.
Is Edgar For Everyone?
Is Edgar for everyone? Short answer, we don't think so. But it is for some of you.
If you write a lot of time sensitive content or content that can lose relevance very quickly (i.e., restaurant reviews, event listings, etc.) it won't be very useful. But if you have a lot of evergreen content or recipes that are just as relevant today as they were when published, Edgar could be very useful.
Edgar does not replace live social interaction on your social channels - that's still an important task that you need to do yourself. Remember, the key word in social media is social.
The cost is also something you'll have to measure carefully. We're in the process of looking at hiring a Virtual Assistant and one of the tasks on our job description was scheduling and managing social media, something we estimate would have taken about six to eight hours a month. At even a low $15/hour that would cost us $90 to $120 a month: considerably more than the cost of Edgar, even with the exchange factored in. That task is no longer on the list and we can put our future VA to work on other projects that could earn us income instead. It will be interesting to see if Edgar comes out with a "lite" version with a smaller price tag.
One of the most valuable aspects of the tool is that you're building up a re-usable library of social media assets. You do some hard work up front to make life easier later!
You are also able to add up to 10 accounts between Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn so, if you run multiple sites, it can be especially worthwhile.
If you're at a point in your blogging career where you're blogging full time, or getting close to it, you have at least a year's worth of solid evergreen posts, and you're earning a sustainable income, Edgar is a tool that's definitely worth looking into to help you breathe new life into your old content. After all, you worked hard on that content. Keep it alive!