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Marketing Calendars: How to Build One That Actually Works

May 13, 2022

Any company’s marketing strategy involves various moving parts, and managing these parts can be a daunting task.

While it may be manageable at its current state, it will become more difficult to manage as your company grows until, inevitably, a deadline gets missed.

An effective marketing calendar will help you manage all the moving parts through every growth spurt and meet your deadlines to set up every campaign for success.

This article details the importance of a marketing calendar and how you can create the perfect one that works best for your company and team.

What is a marketing calendar, and why should you use one?

A marketing calendar is a visual representation of all the marketing campaigns and activities you have planned for a set duration of time, whether it be a quarter, half of the year, or a full year.

It is typical for a marketing calendar to cover multiple marketing channels and scheduled events around holidays or seasons. In an effective marketing calendar, you may see the planned dates for a social media campaign, scheduled dates for publishing a blog post, or scheduled events for a product launch.

After you have created a marketing calendar, it should serve as a tool for you and your team to stay on top of deadlines and achieve your company's goals.

Having a calendar allows you to focus on the bigger projects or problems in advance to give your team sufficient time to think of campaigns and solutions that will draw the desired attention to your company.

Types of marketing calendars

If you decide to take on a marketing calendar, you must know that they are not one-size-fits-all.

You will need to choose one that meets your needs, and depending on the size of your team and project volume, you may need multiple marketing calendars.

Use one or more of these types of marketing calendars to plan your marketing strategy:

  • Editorial/Content calendar: ensures that scheduled content is visible in one place, which makes it easy to spot gaps with a calendar view.
  • Marketing campaign calendar: can be used at any point in the year to help your team plan a marketing campaign or achieve a goal.
  • Social media marketing calendar: it can be strenuous to keep track of social media content spread out across several platforms, so this calendar helps organize each campaign to ensure you have everything ready ahead of time.
  • Digital marketing calendar: details all activities needed to reach potential customers digitally, from email campaigns or getting featured on a third-party site.

Although free templates are available online for all the varieties of marketing calendars mentioned above, you must remember to customize and build them to accomplish your tasks.

How to build a marketing calendar

Because a marketing calendar will never be effective if it is a cookie-cutter template, you can build one customized to your niche, team, and goals using these tips.

First, gather your marketing plan and dates for any upcoming events or campaigns. You will want to plot the start and deadline for each project phase, especially if it requires more than one team member to bring it to fruition.

Next, you must determine which team members will be involved in each project. Start by assigning each phase to an individual to ensure they are aware of their role in each project. When assigning tasks, be sure to ask each member if they have anything they are currently working on or plan to work on in the future to schedule the dates of their planned campaigns.

After you assign each task, remember to consider any themes or seasons that may require special planning. For example, a cleaning service may plan a spring-themed campaign for spring cleaning. The cleaning service may offer a special spring discount and may need to plan a campaign to spread the word about this special offer.

Lastly, carefully plan the frequency of marketing activities to avoid bombarding your audience with campaigns and content too close together. You can use your marketing calendar to strategically plan your email campaigns, social media posts, blog posts, or product launches to avoid overwhelming your audience and leave them coming back for more.

Helpful tools to build a marketing calendar

Several online tools provide you with marketing calendar templates that you can customize for your team and needs. Features and prices of these tools vary, but provided below are some options for any budget.

  1. Google Sheets

Google Sheets is painless and gives users templates that are customizable. You can start with one of their templates or create one from scratch. Google Sheets is also a cost-effective option, costing only $6 per month for business use.

  1. Monday.com

Monday.com is a more robust option, allowing users to visually be shown status updates on every project, choose from over 200 templates, or create their own. This is also an affordable option because prices range from free for two seats to $16 per seat per month for their pro plan.

  1. Asana

Asana is a marketing calendar and work management tool all-in-one that aims to boost productivity by keeping everything in one place. They offer a free plan with limited features, or you could elect for their premium plan or business plan, which costs $11 per user per month and $25 per user per month, respectively.

All these options allow you to create efficient marketing calendars that are tweaked and personalized to meet your unique needs.

Once you find the template that works best, you can determine when you should begin working on each campaign and how much time you have to complete them, ensuring your marketing team is on track to meet deadlines and achieve your company’s goals.

 

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