Great marketing is all about maintaining a relationship and two-way dialogue with customers. By creating opportunities for connection and conversation, you can position yourself as a trusted authority with prospects, earn upsell and referral opportunities with existing customers, and track marketing costs and results. To accomplish these goals, it’s essential to plan out your marketing ahead of time. With an effective 2021 marketing calendar, you can create compelling content that cuts through the noise.
I’ll walk you through keeping your messaging organized, consistent, and meaningful to your audience.
Create an Effective Marketing Calendar Template
By developing a calendar template, you can create a simple and repeatable processes for your marketing.
Create rows for your social media, email marketing, videos, blogs, podcasts, and more. Organize columns by topics, due dates, responsible team members, and publishing dates.
Then, make three copies of the template so that you can plan three months in advance. Planning your marketing by the quarter can give you breathing room to foresee any potential changes, announce industry news, promote events, or share exciting announcements.
Note Key Dates and Observances
In your 2021 marketing calendar, start by noting important dates that your marketing channels should acknowledge. Key marketing dates and observances might include:
- National Holidays
- Relevant Observances (Earth Day, International Women’s Day, etc.)
- Key milestones and sales events (Employee anniversaries, Black Friday)
- Industry Events (tradeshows, significant announcements, etc.)
Making a note of known events helps ensure that nothing is overlooked and that you can create excitement around upcoming announcements. It also helps your profile show up in results and generate engagement with consumers looking for posts about industry events or observances. Be sure to research and use related hashtags.
Create Ongoing Themes You Can Rely On
Social media is notorious for how much new and engaging content it demands. The lifespan of an Instagram post is 48 hours, on Facebook, it’s 6 hours, and on Twitter, it’s as short as 18 minutes. It’s essential to be consistent.
A simple way to create content consistently is to choose a few content themes or categories to rely on. By choosing a few ongoing themes, you can simplify your process.
For example, common themes that we see on social media include:
- Monday Motivation
- Tuesday Tips
- Welcome Wednesday
- Throwback Thursdays
- Team Introductions
- Behind the Scenes
Feel free to get creative and create themes that relate to your business. For example, you might choose to do “Behind the Scenes Wednesdays” to give a sneak peek at how you do business. You could also do “Thought Leadership Thursdays,” where you speak on a specific industry topic. Do your research to see if there are theme days or hashtags for your industry like #bakerylife to capitalize on.
These themes help bulk out your marketing calendar with content that’s fun, interesting, and easy to create.
Plan What to Say and Where
By planning out your marketing, you can be strategic about sharing and repurposing content. For example, you might create YouTube videos and have them transcribed for your blog. Or, if you’re launching a product, you might choose to focus on Instagram since it’s a visual platform and reshare the post to Facebook. If you’re promoting a professional event, you might want to create a blog to promote it on your website, then reshare the blog to LinkedIn and send it to your email list.
Regardless of which platforms you’re on, this calendar can help you plan to promote sales and events across several channels.
Fill in Additional Details
Once you have your key concepts, themes, and events laid out, it’s time to add details. It may seem daunting, but by blocking off an afternoon on your calendar and front-loading the work now, you ensure that your marketing will be completed flawlessly later.
Add details like blog titles, keywords, email subject lines, and links to third-party curated content like expert articles. These details will save time later, and if you’re handing off execution to an employee or contractor, you’re providing enough detail for them to do the job with minimal oversight later.
Assign Roles and Responsibilities
A content calendar is only helpful if you have a way to implement it. Assign different tasks and due dates to your employees or contractors to ensure that everything gets done. I’m a fan of having two due dates – an internal due date that allows for review and edits, and a final “go live” or publishing date.
As you continue to develop content – make sure to refer to the calendar regularly so that you don’t forget any important details or upcoming events. Select a few key performance indicators to track which content does well. When results come in, return to your content calendar and make adjustments to optimize your results continually.
In case of a new crisis or emergency, be sure to pause your planned marketing and pivot your messaging. Read our guide on using social media for crisis communications to learn how to handle difficult news thoughtfully.
Overall, having an effective marketing calendar can help align your team, identify gaps in your communication, and gives you flexibility and space for creativity. Questions? Set up a 15-minute complimentary call to explore if working together could be right for you.