In marketing, as in life, planning and scheduling can only lead to better results. Hey, I am not saying that if you plan something in advance, you are guaranteed to succeed. But there is a better chance of you reaching your goals and getting recognition for yourself and/or for your brand when you are not taking random directionless steps.
Especially with marketing, you can feel like you have all the time in the world to do promotions. After all you have already rolled out the initial email blasts and set up the foundation of your social media. And it is more important that you get the ‘main’ things right first.
Except, ask any seasoned professional or business entrepreneurs, and they will let you know that marketing is as much a part of the ‘main’ thing as, say, procuring raw material is. Plus, you are only going to get busier the more your business progresses and anything more than a quick endorsement will seem like a tall order.
It is more sensible, then, to draft your marketing plan on a month-to-month basis and ensure that your brand doesn’t disappear into thin air after an early bout of back to back promotions.
How much does a marketing calendar really help?
Consider this, people who set goals are 376% more likely to succeed than people who don’t. Another statistic from the same research, focused solely on marketers, further reveals that the chances of marketers succeeding go up by 313% when they document their strategies.
And why wouldn’t it? A marketing calendar lays out in complete view the exact time, method and medium of your content deliverables, tasks and deadlines.
You know exactly what you have to do, how you have to do it and until when, not even days but months in advance. You can sail through weeks cramped with business activities without a single wrinkle on your forehead regarding your marketing woes.
Even though it is a process that takes substantial investment of time and resources, in the long run it only bolsters your productivity and efficiency. Because guess what? Your marketing calendar begins to pay off the moment it is completed.
So how do you make one?
Step 1: Choose a platform for making the calendar
Online calendars are part of both Google and Microsoft suites. Linked to e-mail and other productivity tools, they can allow you to set events and reminders. For your posting schedules, these little knick-knacks can do wonders; you will never miss a post due to forgetfulness. Plus, they allow for sharing with multiple people who can respond to, create and edit events so your team stays in sync and up to date.
However, if you want to go for a more traditional schedule, you can make one on a spreadsheet. You can customise your calendar on a spreadsheet and add more options but it also reduces the shared and automated functionality that an online platform provides.
Step 2: Add the right filters and metrics
Once you have chosen a platform, add filters and metrics that help you plan for future strategies besides allowing you to keep a record of your past efforts and discard strategies that did not work. Here are a few options you need to maintain at the minimum:
- Type of content – blog posts, videos, case studies etc.
- Where it is supposed to be posted
- The date it needs to go live on
- The status of the task
- Name of the team members responsible for producing it
- Metrics to measure the performance of the content – eg. reach, increase in followers, lead generation, conversion rates etc.
Step 3: Put in details
Fill in the calendar with yearly events such as holidays, vacation periods and financial quarters. These events and breaks will decide the theme of your content as well as its quantity and frequency of posting.
It is obvious that near a product launch, you will be posting content that contributes to your product promotions or advertises the product directly. Similarly, near Christmas holidays, the content produced will concern itself with holiday discounts, tips or other light-hearted themes.
At this juncture, you can also decide the consistency of your various deliverables. For instance, you can either allot specific days for different content types, such as Sundays for podcasts and Thursdays for blogs or you can alternate between blogs, podcasts and videos weekly. It depends entirely on your preference and the audience’s response.
When you schedule your content, you need to set aside enough time for content creation. Don’t forget about your capability to complete the tasks and plan ahead with enough time to be prepared. To do so, you can prioritize your tasks, be prepared for any changes, and make adjustments.
Step 4: Update and review your calendar
Once you have started publishing your content, you will come across a lot of new information. It might be that some aspects of your marketing strategy perform better than others or your team is facing a shortage of time trying to meet the deadlines. Whatever the reason, make sure to go back to the calendar, review it and update it to optimise it better.
Also update your calendar as and when a task is claimed, is in progress, or completed to avoid any confusions about the remaining projects. It will take two minutes and it will save you a lot of zoom calls and precious time.
A marketing calendar can help you ace the year without a hitch. It can streamline your marketing campaigns, organize your strategies, fill the gaps in your marketing and make sure your business gets the limelight it deserves. So what are you waiting for? Go and make one now!