So, you’re planning out your marketing calendar. It’s a mammoth task, and not to be underestimated. After all, marketing plans, calendars, and content pipelines are crucial tools for businesses aiming to achieve effective and consistent branding and communication.
A well-organised marketing calendar can serve as the compass for your marketing endeavours, offering a structured roadmap to cross-channel success. By pencilling in and scheduling marketing activities, you prepare yourself for seasonal and long-term content creation, while remaining flexible to capitalise on cultural trends and unexpected viral moments, leaving yourself open to jump on the bandwagon or allow further creative ideas to grow and flourish.
Equally, an effective marketing calendar can also enhance your brand communication, align your teams, optimise resource allocation, and ultimately drive better results in a competitive marketplace.
In this short guide, we'll delve into the vital aspects of creating and using a marketing calendar to streamline your marketing efforts and bolster business growth.
Define your marketing goals & objectives
One of the crucial first steps when it comes to creating your marketing calendar is to clearly outline your marketing goals. Whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, boosting sales, or engaging with your audience — make these aims specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. SMART goals, anyone?
Understand your target audience
Identify your target audience and understand their preferences, behaviours, and demographics. How much of your cross-channel planning will involve duplicating or otherwise tailoring similar messages to different platforms?
Whether it’s for email, or various social media platforms, remember to tailor your marketing activities to resonate with your audience, wherever they are.
Choose the right marketing channelsAs mentioned before, your audience and customers will rarely be contained to one specific place. Determine the marketing channels that align with your target audience and goals, and map these out accordingly in your marketing calendar. This way, you can get a view of what’s penned in for different formats at a glance.
Common channels to potentially include in your calendar are as follows:
- Social media
- PR & press activity
- Influencer marketing
- Video content
Dream up your content plan
Let the brainstorming begin! This is where you can really start getting creative. Consider researching competitor content, as well as collating any content inspiration you have that might help you align your content visionboarding with your brand identity and purpose. How do you want customers to perceive and interact with your brand? How can your content educate, entertain, inspire, and serve your target audience?
All ideas are welcome in the brainstorming stage, so jot everything down even if it seems too big or a little unusual. You’ll have time to narrow down your ideas once you’ve determined where they might perform or resonate best with your audience. From there, assign dates for when you might create and schedule your content, and plot what will exist as standalone content, or activity that’s part of a wider campaign or release.
Identify key campaigns & promotions
As you begin to fill your marketing calendar with content, highlight any major moments such a product launches, major promotions, or seasonal events. Use these as milestones to guide your comms and content strategy, as these will be working together to ensure consistent messaging.
Allocate resources & budget
One of the great things about content is how much it can do for your brand on little to no budget. However, some marketing activities may require a monetary boost, so determine in advance how much budget and resources you may need to factor in, either regularly, or on an ad hoc basis.
A regular monthly budget allocation can be helpful not only to help improve the quality or reach of your content, but also as a measure to return to and review as needed.
Collaborate & communicate
Crucially, you want to keep your team in the know as regards your marketing activities. Whether it’s your social media manager, marketing team, or even your customer support staff — ensure effective communication and collaboration among your team by allowing them access to your marketing calendar. Keep everyone informed about any changes or updates, and how it might impact responsibilities and comms.
Monitor & adjust
Understand that your marketing calendar is a living thing, constantly adapting and being updated based on what works, and what doesn’t.
Planning ahead will get you so far, but it’s important to remain agile and flexible in response to the analytics and data you collect on your content performance. Continuously monitor the performance of your marketing activities against your goals, analyse metrics, and make data-driven adjustments for optimal results.
Your marketing plan checklist
Now you should have an idea of where to start and what to consider when creating your marketing calendar. To help you along, we’ve created a checklist you can use to help stay on track as your create yours. And remember, your marketing plan and calendar are unique to you and your brand. Perhaps it will span all the channels, or just one or two.
Remember: It’s not about how complicated or busy it looks, it’s about what works for you and your brand
Define your marketing goals and objectives
Determine your target audience
Choose appropriate marketing channels
Brainstorm your content ideas
Establish your marketing calendar with final ideas, and allocated dates and times
Identify and plan key campaigns and promotions
Allocate necessary resources and budget
Set milestones and deadlines for marketing activity
Share your marketing calendar with relevant team members
Monitor performance & analytics in separate tab
Get started today
A well-crafted marketing calendar serves as a great first step for any brand looking to integrate consistent posting as part of their marketing strategy. Whether you want your content to span all channels, or would rather focus on a select few, the key is not complexity but effectiveness. Embrace flexibility, stay true to your brand, and let your marketing calendar drive traffic an further awareness of your brand.
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