If you’ve ever tried to plan a get-together with more than two people, you know the importance of having access to people’s calendars.
Without it, you’re going to have a hard time planning much of anything.
In the world of marketing, a calendar or a marketing schedule can be equally helpful.
Having a marketing schedule for your content is the surest way to stay organized. While you may not be inviting your social media assets or your blog posts to a barbeque together, you’ll nonetheless want them scheduled efficiently in a way that helps strengthen your marketing campaigns.
To set up your marketing schedule, the first thing you’ll want to have is a template. This gives you a foundational document you can use to create schedules over and over again. Here’s how to do it.
What Information Should Your Marketing Schedule Template Include?
Your marketing schedule is going to resemble a calendar. There are a few different approaches you can take to developing templates for them:
- You can develop a calendar for each type of content asset you have.
- You can develop an overarching calendar that incorporates all content.
This will vary depending on how much content you actually have. But the more types of content you can include on your marketing schedule, the better.
This enables you to take a comprehensive view of how your content is bolstering any of your ongoing campaigns. The types of content you can include on your marketing schedule template include:
- Social media
- Blog posts
- Fact sheets and infographics
- Podcast episodes
- Website updates
Generally speaking, if you’ve got content, you should incorporate it into your marketing schedule. This way, you keep it all organized and ensure you give each piece of content room to breathe.
What Format Should Your Marketing Schedule Template be in?
The format you use for your marketing schedule template is important. It often depends on what your team uses.
It will often take the form of some kind of spreadsheet. There are a lot of different resources available out there to help you build that tool.
Some teams use Microsoft Excel while others use Google Docs/Google Sheets. Some use a Microsoft Word document with a table.
While many of these software types are fine, you’re better off using software specifically designed for this task. Google and Microsoft are versatile online tools for project management, but that versatility means you’ll have to spend time customizing your marketing schedule.
With the right software in place, customization is much easier. You just simply plug the information in and off you go. Welcome offers a template you can use that is specifically designed for this purpose.
How to Build Your Calendar Template
Let’s use the example of how a team like Welcome would build a calendar template. First thing: you’ll want to break down the marketing tactics on a month-by-month basis.
How much time the calendar covers should match the length of the campaign: if it’s a year, make the schedule a year. You’ll want to have timelines (with tools such as a Gantt chart) as well.
Each month (or week, if you want to break it down even further) should include:
- Major themes you’d like to hit
- Campaign messaging to include
- Description of specific planned content
- The dates on which you plan to post said content
You’ll want to bring all of your various team members to the table for this – creative, social, project management, and anyone else who’s going to have a voice in what content you post and when. They should all have input into your marketing schedule.
By getting buy-in from multiple voices throughout your organization, you decrease the chances they’ll have any issues with it later on.
An Example of an Editorial Calendar Template
Here’s what an entry in your editorial calendar might look like. Keep in mind that the number of entries you create will depend on the frequency and duration of your campaign:
- Major themes for the month
- All planned social content summary
- All blog content summary
- Summary of email marketing/newsletter content
- Summary of all supplemental content (podcast episodes, fact sheets, additional communication materials)
If you’re running a yearlong, month-to-month campaign, you’ll create 12 entries like this – one for each month. A six-week campaign would have six entries, broken down by week.
Also – note that while the content types listed above are commonly used in digital marketing, that doesn’t make this the be-all and end-all of marketing tools to include in your editorial calendar. Customize it based on what you use (unless you use something that doesn’t work for your team, in which case – get that out of your marketing plan ASAP!).
What is a Content Calendar and What Role Does it Play in Content Marketing?
A content calendar is like a marketing schedule in that you pick dates for your team to post specific content. If you think of all your content marketing as assets to help you promote your campaign, the calendar acts as a playbook as to when you’re going to send all of those assets out into the world.
One of the best parts about using the calendar format is that you can incorporate holidays or other important milestones from your industry into your planning. If there’s a particular cause that has an awareness day/week/month, you can include that as a part of this and develop content to support it.
Once you develop your content calendar, it plays an integral role in your content marketing. You can use last year’s calendar to build one for next year.
You’ll find that seeing what worked and what didn’t become a lot easier when you have a calendar in place, aligning your content strategically.
What is a Social Media Calendar?
While social media is a useful tool in any digital marketer’s toolbox, it’s not something you can enter into without a clear-cut strategy in mind. Establishing a social media marketing presence involves carefully planning when you’ll deploy each individual post, which is where a calendar will come in handy.
You can include a social media calendar as part of your larger marketing schedule. It breaks down the type of content you’re planning to post, which platform you’re posting it on, and the exact dates you’ll do so.
Facebook and Twitter posts, LinkedIn blog, and pretty much any other type of social media content should live on this calendar. Again, you can coordinate this with your larger content marketing approach. But it also helps to have an individual calendar dedicated solely to social media.
Your social content isn’t going to be developed the same as other content, and because it requires precision when it’s posted, you’ll want to have a calendar specifically set up for it.
The Role of Your Marketing Schedule in Your Marketing Plan
Your marketing schedule is going to make up a piece of your marketing plan. There will be multiple sections within it detailing other elements of your plan/campaign you’d like to document such as your goals, marketing strategy, tactics, and metrics.
Your marketing schedule is where you combine all these elements into one timeline. Having a plan is great, but without concrete dates for each aspect of the plan, you’re going to have trouble executing it.
Once your team members get into the weeds on your marketing plan, they may forget deadlines (though you may think your team is perfect, this can happen to the best of us!). Your marketing schedule acts as a refresher, reminding them when everything needs to be completed.
The schedule will include when deliverables are due, when content should be posted, and the expected completion date for the campaign. This won’t just help your team complete tasks more efficiently, it will also help your marketing budget.
If you have a schedule, you know when things need to get done. This helps you avoid dedicating too many hours/resources to a particular task.
That has a cascading effect on your finances. When your schedule is tight and your team is aware of it, you won’t have them going overtime or over budget.
How Your Marketing Schedule Template Can Revolutionize Your Marketing Planning Efforts
Your marketing schedule template will give your team a reusable tool they can apply to pretty much any campaign. It will do wonders for your marketing strategy, saving you the time and effort associated with building a comprehensive schedule.
The details will change based on the project, but the format won’t. Your marketing schedule template sets a standard of expectations for your team that they can use again and again.
Are you interested in building your own marketing schedule template? Along with its comprehensive suite of marketing software, Welcome also offers a free marketing calendar you can use to build your own.
It’s hard enough to know what content to include in your calendar (though we can help with that too), much less build the calendar itself. Save yourself the hassle with this easy-to-use template.