Marketing is a creative field that involves things like crafting clever social media content, writing compelling copy, designing eye-catching infographics, and more.
However, marketing also requires organizational skills. That’s where having a robust marketing calendar comes in handy.
Calendars help you keep track of everything your marketing team is producing and publishing. In order to be useful, a marketing calendar needs to contain several key pieces of information.
We’ll teach you everything you need to know about these calendars to help you make the most of them, including:
What a marketing calendar is
Why you need one
What you should include in your calendar
What to look for when comparing calendar solutions
Our free calendar template
What Is a Marketing Calendar?
A marketing calendar is a calendar that helps you plan and execute your brand’s marketing strategy. A practical calendar displays both campaign overviews and more detailed information about projects, such as who is responsible for them, what progress has been made, and when tasks will be completed.
Your team should use an overarching calendar to display all of its initiatives, as well as granular calendars for specific campaigns or media, like a social media marketing calendar, advertising calendar, or editorial calendar for your content marketing activities.
Shared digital calendars are more useful than paper or whiteboard calendars because they allow for greater visibility and collaboration. Although you can build a calendar in a spreadsheet, it’s best to find a solution that integrates with the rest of your marketing tools to streamline processes.
Why Do You Need a Marketing Calendar?
A marketing calendar can help your team increase accountability, alignment, and visibility, meet goals, prevent overlapping efforts, and stay on budget.
A calendar is an essential project management tool that helps you execute your marketing plan and meet deadlines. When you know when a LinkedIn post will go up or who needs to provide approvals for a newsletter, your team can go ahead and just do the work.
When you follow through with your plans, you can meet your marketing goals more easily. A calendar helps you stay on target so that no task gets left behind.
A calendar can keep your team aligned on projects that are planned and in progress. When everyone knows who is working on what, you can manage expectations and bandwidth more easily.
Avoid Overlapping Efforts
Calendars help your team avoid an overlap in efforts. A social media calendar, for example, can help prevent accidental double posts from team members who work on different campaigns but manage the same accounts.
Calendars can also give external stakeholders insight into the inner workings of your team. Your calendar should serve as a single source of truth to ensure clients, bosses, and investors are in the know about upcoming and in-progress projects.
Staying on Budget
When you’re aware of everything that’s going on within your team, you can better control your marketing budget. That includes managing your freelance budget, understanding your entire team’s bandwidth, and knowing when you need and have the resources to add people to your team.
What Should Be Included In a Marketing Calendar?
Your team doesn’t need to work off of just one marketing calendar. In fact, it’s best to have a comprehensive calendar that lets you quickly see which blog posts are in the works and what ad creative is going live at any time, and several content-specific calendars to help the team members assigned to these projects stay focused.
So, in addition to a main timeline, you may also want to consider creating calendars for each of your marketing channels, including a(n):
Content marketing calendar for organizing blog posts, reports, whitepapers, web pages, and more.
Social media calendar that keeps your social media campaigns organized by showing what is being published to which channels and when.
Email marketing calendar for planning your newsletter publication schedule.
Advertising campaign calendar that shows when you’re running digital, print, radio, and out-of-home ads.
Events and partnerships calendar for organizing webinars, conferences, influencer campaigns, and more.
Each calendar should include:
A high level overview of projects. Color coding helps you visualize what is happening when.
Deadlines, including not just final due dates, but also intermediary milestones that help keep the project moving along.
Who is involved in the project. When you use a sophisticated calendar tool like Welcome’s, you can easily tag all parties involved so that they automatically know when it’s their turn to take action.
Project details, like a brief, resources, and assets that should be used. All of these details can be difficult to fit into a calendar built through Microsoft Excel or a Google Calendar. But with a calendar tool built for marketers, all of this information can fit seamlessly into your timeline.
These features and organizational tactics help your team stay on track of marketing campaigns and facilitate your workflow.
What to Look For When Comparing Marketing Calendars
There are lots of marketing calendar solutions out there. While creating something in Google Sheets or Docs can help get the job done, a more sophisticated tool can help empower your team’s best work and increase efficiency.
When comparing tools, look for one that:
Lets you do more than just see projects and deadlines. The best calendars facilitate projects by letting you add briefs, share resources, and upload assets.
Streamlines collaboration. You should be able to easily add both internal and external stakeholders, like freelancers and clients, to projects in the calendar.
Promotes visibility. Stakeholders should easily be able to access the calendar to understand what’s going on at any given time.
Helps you stay on target. Look for progress tracking features that make it clear what’s been done and what’s left to do on a project. Your calendar should be part timeline, part checklist.
Lets you customize as much as possible. You should be able to customize views, filters, calendars, colors, and more so that your calendar works for you, instead of the other way around. Bonus points if you can save these customizations for easier use next time.
Lets you toggle views. Since what works for one member of your team may not work as well for another team member, it’s important to look for a calendar that offers various layouts, such as traditional calendar, timeline, and Gantt views.
Makes it easy to sort through projects. Look for advanced filtering tools that help you find in-progress and planned campaigns in a breeze.
Plays well with your other marketing tools. Just like your team works with other departments at your company, your calendar should integrate with the other tools in your tech stack.
Helps you grow. Your calendar should be more than just a calendar. It should help your marketing team do its best work by offering other capabilities, such as a place to brainstorm and draft different types of content, tools for leaving feedback on a podcast, or the ability to track KPIs and metrics.
Don’t settle for a calendar that doesn’t come with these capabilities.
Marketing Calendar Template
Looking for a calendar template? Look no further than Welcome.
Here’s how to use Welcome’s marketing calendar feature:
Head to the “Plan” tab on the left side of your dashboard.
To add a new project to the calendar, click on the purple plus sign on the top right corner. You can create a new campaign, event, task, work request, or pitch request.
Depending on what type of project you want to create, you’ll need to provide different information. For example, to create a blog post, you’ll need to enter a tentative title, a brief, a start date, a deadline, links to media assets, and attachments (if needed), and then assign the blog post to a team member.
Once you fill your calendar with projects, you can toggle between various views: list, calendar, timeline, and board. You can even create and save custom views for custom calendars, such as a social media calendar or editorial calendar.
You can even sort the calendar using various filters, such as by assignees, campaigns, important dates, status, and more.
While you can tag external stakeholders on your calendar in Welcome, you can also easily export your calendar as a PDF or CSV to use off the platform.
Welcome’s calendar has all the features you need to keep campaigns moving along seamlessly.
A Marketing Calendar Should Empower Your Team’s Best Work
At the end of the day, a calendar shouldn’t be the focus of your work. It should be a helpful resource and project management tool that sits in the background and empowers you to do your best work.
Welcome’s all-in-one marketing orchestration platform has all the tools you need to plan, execute, and measure the success of your marketing efforts.
Sign up for a free trial today.