How to Create a Marketing Calendar to Manage Upcoming Content & Promotions
For a business to get the most out of your upcoming content and promotions, you need to know how to create a marketing calendar.
A marketing calendar is the guiding force that allows you to look ahead, make appropriate plans, and get everything done in time to fully promote a holiday, event, launch, or campaign.
Let’s look at what a marketing calendar is, what it should include, and how to create a marketing calendar that will help your whole team maximize upcoming content and promotions.
What’s a Marketing Calendar?
A marketing calendar is a document that outlines important activities and dates for a business. It is shared with all key stakeholders and highlights dates on the calendar as well as timelines for marketing campaigns and content publication.
A marketing calendar may mention:
- Editorial calendars
- Team and company updates
A marketing calendar can simply list important dates. For example, a business may use a marketing calendar to highlight upcoming timely promotions such as when you’re running a limited time offer. Or, it can note important dates that matter to your restaurant, such as adding dates for local teams during football season.
But a more valuable marketing calendar also includes details for each important date, such as budget for the campaign, due date to prepare, and ownership over the project or initiative. As you learn how to create a marketing calendar for your business, consider what information you need to include to make the calendar more useful to your team.
Why You Need a Marketing Calendar
A marketing calendar isn't just for the marketing team. Your entire organization can use it. When you have an organized, up-to-date, shared calendar, your business can reap a variety of benefits. You can:
- Create a more strategic marketing plan aligned with your goals.
- Avoid missing or overlooking important dates.
- Have time to plan and execute at higher level.
- Streamline communications and get your team on the same page.
- Build historical data to help plan future marketing initiatives.
How to Create a Marketing Calendar
Now that you know the benefits, let’s look at how to create a marketing calendar.
#1) Assign an owner.
While it’s great to allow multiple teams to use a marketing calendar, it’s best to have one person who owns the calendar. Assign a person who is responsible for leading the calendar creation, keeping the calendar up-to-date, and managing and communicating changes.
#2) Define your goals and audience.
Any marketing initiative should start by defining what you want to accomplish and who you want to reach. Knowing your goals and audience will help you determine which dates, marketing channels, and promotions should be included on your marketing calendar.
#3) Brainstorm important dates with your team.
As mentioned above, a good marketing calendar is used and useful across multiple departments. A product team may need to be involved to share launch dates, while the sales team may need to know about upcoming promotions and campaigns that the marketing department is planning.
Get your team together to lay out the first draft of the year’s marketing calendar. Start by simply noting important dates that relate to:
- Launches: What new products, services, or features are coming out this year?
- Events: Is your business planning in-person or online events? Are there events in your community or industry that you plan on being involved with?
- Major holidays and seasons: What annual holidays or times of the year does your business need to plan around?
- Social media holidays: Are there any #HashtagHolidays that would be engaging for your audience or related to your industry or offerings?
#4) Identity promotions based on important dates.
Once you have important dates and timelines on the calendar, start to consider what campaigns and promotions you should run. What types of promotions relate to important dates? Add the dates for:
- Marketing campaigns
- Public relations initiatives
- Ad buying
#5) Identify the content to go with each promotion.
From this point, you’ll be able to see what type of content you need for each important date and promotion. You can begin to schedule out content for:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Text marketing
- Blog posts
- Downloadable assets
#6) Build out your calendar.
When you have a list of important dates, promotions, and content needed, you can begin to create a marketing calendar.
- Create a shared calendar that all departments can access.
- Decide if you need another sub-calendar. For example, a content team might need a special editorial calendar, or businesses engaged in multi-location marketing might need a calendar with information specific to each location.
- Add relevant details. At this point, decide what supporting information needs to be added to each key date. Assign owners, add deadlines and budgets, and provide needed information to accomplish the task.
#7) Prepare for changes.
One thing to remember as you learn how to create a marketing calendar is that things will change.
- New important dates will pop up.
- Data may show that something isn’t working.
- Budgets will change.
- Cultural changes or shifts may impact your plans.
The key to creating your marketing calendar is knowing that changes will happen. Set expectations and guidelines accordingly. Define a process for notifying departments when dates change, and consider setting up monthly meetings to review the calendar and results of your work and make changes as necessary.
Let MyArea Network Help You Create a Marketing Calendar
Your marketing efforts will be more effective when you have a calendar that allows you to plan ahead and execute on time.
Hopefully this guide helped you learn how to create a marketing calendar that will empower you to manage upcoming content and promotions and get more out of every one of your marketing initiatives.
If you need help creating a marketing calendar, let’s talk. MyArea Network specializes in helping local businesses reach more customers in their area. We can help you set goals, define your audience, and outline the dates and initiatives most likely to attract your ideal local customers. Schedule your free call with our team today.