What Is a Marketing Calendar and Why You Need One! [+TEMPLATE]
You may know someone obsessed with spreadsheets, right? Those kinds of people who love to plan and organize and create Excel files for everything they do.
It’s understandable: once you discover the wonders of proper planning, your life changes forever.
For project management organization is essential.
That’s why every marketing professional works with a marketing calendar. It may sound obvious, but many campaigns fail due to lack of planning.
So, today we’ll share with you a few insights and even a template for you to start planning your marketing actions, social media posting, emailing and content production. Let’s go.
What’s a Marketing Calendar For?
The first thing we must do is understanding what a marketing calendar is. Don’t stay with the meaning that its own name suggests: it’s not just an almanac, it’s a roadmap, a guide. It’s your action plan.
We can’t see a marketing calendar as a checklist. We should see it as a tool for achieving your marketing goals.
A well made marketing calendar allows you to:
- plan ahead;
- increase your team’s communication and coordination;
- track your actions’ performance;
- better understanding the whole picture of your campaign.
You can design a marketing plan calendar for different types of campaigns through diverse platforms. For instance, you can create an email marketing calendar, a social media marketing posting calendar or even a content marketing calendar.
All those calendars can be interlinked and can run simultaneously. But for those kinds of complex multi-platforms approaches, you’ll have to have great organizational skills and build your calendars accurately and carefully.
Creating a Marketing Calendar
Are you going to start building your marketing calendar? Great! Take in consideration that there’s a few basic entries that every calendar should include, like:
- the project’s name;
- a starting date;
- the project’s responsible person;
- the participants; and
- a space to record and report the project’s progress and performance.
To these basic entries you’ll add whatever you need to fully cover all your marketing campaign’s aspects.
For social media marketing planning you’ll have to include entries such as status (in progress, published, pending, etc.), to whom each task has been assigned, the images, videos or hashtags that every post will include, etc.
Now, how to track your actions’ performance using a marketing calendar? Well, you can create new entries to document the response of every post, including comments, messages, likes and shares, etc.
For email campaigns, you’ll track the percentage of received and opened emails, how many people actually clicked on the link you sent, etc.
It’s important to schedule periodic reviews to check if the calendar and the actual actions you’re developing are on the same page. These reviews could be monthly, weekly or even daily.
The Importance of a Strategy
There’s no point in making a marketing calendar if you don’t have a strategy. The marketing calendar is the scheduling of your strategy’s actions, but it also works as a performance overseer. It’s not a calendar on the wall, a rigid display of time organization. It’s a dynamic tool for collective use.
You’ll design your marketing calendar according to the strategy you have already outlined. For you to start doing it, you’ll have to consider a series of factors, such as:
- the budget and resources you have;
- your audience and buyer persona;
- the frequency and scope of your campaign;
- the expected ups and downs regarding demand; and
- the media you’ll use to reach your target-audience.
Before you even start thinking about building a calendar, do you know which marketing channels will you use? You have many options: website, email, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
But those are just digital marketing channels. You can also plan your offline marketing actions, such as events or live demonstrations.
Tools for Creating a Marketing Calendar
Fortunately, there’s a lot of options for you to formulate your marketing calendar. Let’s see some classic tools:
The most common digital planning tool ever. If you don’t master Excel yet, you should go find some tutorials now, because it’s a very useful programme full of interesting features.
Google Docs’ spreadsheets allow you to create, modify, update, share and collaboratively work on your marketing calendar even without Internet conexion. It’s perfect for teams who work remotely.
The giant browser from Silicon Valley offers a quite useful calendar that you can link to different Google Docs’ files. It’s also collaborative and you can work on it even when you’re not online.
Of course, you can look for apps and websites that provide online marketing planning tools and platforms. In that case, you’ll have to decide which one is the most suitable for your purposes.
Examples of Marketing Calendars
Alright now. We’ve seen why a marketing calendar is so important and why it’s essential to have a previously designed strategy. We’ve also shared some basic tools for creating a marketing calendar, but now it’s time for examples.
The following blank spreadsheet has been extracted from smartsheet.com and it’s a fine example:
It’s true that every calendar must be designed according to the type of marketing strategy you’ll develop. But in this example you can see how detailed planning should be.
This marketing calendar example, taken from the same website, is focused on social media marketing:
In this case, we can see a very detailed hourly calendar focused on social media posting showing its content, schedule, platform and others factors. Let’s see now a blog’s marketing calendar extracted from Evinex:
As you can see, this one was a little more simple, but here’s another social media marketing calendar from the same page. It gets a little more complex, right?
As promised, we’ll share with you now a nice marketing calendar template for you to start planning your next moves.
Marketing Calendar Template
There’s a lot of templates out there, but luckily for you, we’ve made some research and found a simple, easy to understand and ready-to-use template.
Download this marketing calendar template!
Have you found this article interesting? Do you need some assistance for building your marketing calendar? Talk to our experts!
Contact Chili’s marketing team and discover the wonders of an intelligent marketing planning.