24.04.2024 - Digital Marketing

How to Create a Marketing Calendar [with Marketing Calendar Template]

If a digital marketing strategy is the ‘what’ of your business’ online activity, then a marketing calendar is the ‘when’ and ‘where’ – a document that makes any actions you’ve got planned for the future clear and accessible.

Big or small, a marketing calendar is something every business needs. Over the course of this blog, we’ll show you why – as well as what you need to include in yours, how to create a marketing calendar from scratch and your own marketing calendar template to download. Let’s take a look.

What is a marketing calendar?

A marketing calendar schedules all your planned marketing activity (detailed in your strategy) for the foreseeable future. As such they’re planned well in advance – sometimes as long as a year – and should also consider cultural events that happen from month to month.

Marketing calendars will also make clear any start and end dates for social media campaigns, publishing dates for blog posts and anything planned to promote product launches.

Why you need a marketing calendar

Marketing calendars are important for a whole bunch of different reasons. Here are a few of why we use them in our work.

They keep you organised

A marketing calendar takes the scattershot approach out of your activity. If you’ve been using post-its to keep track of things, then take our advice: just don’t. With a marketing calendar, you’ll have everything in one place that you can refer to quickly as and when you need to.

They keep teams up to date

Since everyone can access them, marketing calendars keep everyone on the team aware of what’s going live and when – so everyone stays on the same page, every single month.

They provide helpful campaign overviews

Certain processes can become more and more complex as they progress. A marketing calendar streamlines things instead, giving you and your team a more holistic overview of projects and campaigns, allowing you to coordinate with other teams – improving teamwork across the business, too.

The top-line overview helps you quickly understand what content types are being posed, any assets they include and publication dates. Through this information, you can track content performance – and make any changes you need to so you can improve things too.

They keep content consistent

Without a marketing calendar, it’s easy to let ideas, plans, and activity slip through the cracks. When that happens, achieving your goals becomes a struggle. Planning out your content gives you a schedule that makes it easy to stick to, ensuring content goes out on a regular basis.

What should a marketing calendar include?

In our opinion, these are the most important elements you should stock up your future marketing calendars with.

Months, dates, and quarters

Keeping track of key dates won’t just let you know about things like product launches and busy periods, it’ll map out any holidays, events, or awareness days you can use to great effect throughout the year.

Overarching themes and campaigns

Your marketing calendar should make upcoming themes and campaigns clear. When you begin populating yours, make sure any content that’s part of a particular campaign is signposted for the benefit of everyone on your team.

Channel-by-channel activity

Aka ‘the meat and potatoes’ of your calendar: the social posts, the emails, the copy, and the assets that are going to put your strategy into action – broken down by each respective channel too, of course.

Colour keys

A colour key can show which content belongs to which campaign, so make sure to include a key that leaves no room for confusion. You might also decide to use colours to signpost the status of each campaign’s progress, so make sure that’s flagged up for team members, too.

Download our free marketing calendar template

Ready to get started on filling in your own marketing calendar? You supply the ideas, and we’ll supply you with this ace (and free) marketing calendar template for you to download. Sounds like a fair trade to us!

How to plan a marketing calendar

Weigh up campaign ideas

A campaign isn’t just a catchy hashtag or launching a new product. You’ll have to think about the purpose of it (driving leads? Increasing brand awareness?) and the goals you want to achieve with it. Identifying your target audience is important too. Fresh out of ideas? Check out this blog to get them going again.

Determine who’ll be part of the team

Don’t try to go it alone on this. Gather a team of people whose skills you can rely on for producing and posting the content – or anything else you need to delegate to other people. Don’t forget to make sure everyone’s clear on what they’re accountable for – leaving a name beside each item on the calendar itself can help with this.

Think about themes and seasons

Are customers more likely to purchase items or use your services at certain times of the year? Does December get busy for you? Or are there any other times of the year you can capitalise on by running a knockout campaign that’s going to do numbers? Think about the year ahead and let the ideas flow.

Know how often you want to post

A publishing schedule gives you something to stick to ahead of time, and ensures everyone on the team knows what type of content should be going out on which days. It’ll also help your audience know when to expect content – an approach that’ll make sure they keep coming back for more of your brilliant social posts, stories, blog posts and product launches.

We hope this blog has helped with how to build a marketing calendar. But if you still need a steer on a few things, we’d be happy to talk it through with you. Our branding team can level up your online presence to connect with your people. Head here or give us a call on 0345 459 0558 for more info.