This is the ultimate guide for your marketing calendar in 2019.
If you don’t have a marketing calendar, I’ll show you how to choose your right calendar and to create one.
If you already have one, then I’ll share techniques on how to manage your calendar to win the engagement battle in 2019.
Let’s dive in!
Marketing Calendar Fundamentals
In this chapter, I’ll cover the basics of a marketing calendar.
You’re going to learn what a marketing calendar is about. And then, I’ll explain why it is so important for your marketing success.
What is a marketing calendar?
A marketing calendar is a written roadmap for marketing activities. It visualizes your planning and when to complete strategies.
In other words, it is an actionable tool to achieve your marketing goals in a certain period.
For marketing success, a marketing calendar should contain the following 6 purposes:
- Plan ahead to meet your goals
- Use it as your team’s hub for your marketing activities
- Notify workflows and progress status to get your team on the same page
- Share information for campaigns with your team
- Track the performance of your marketing actions
- Make it easy to develop a strategic plan for the future
A marketing calendar provides a clear overview of what and when your plans take place. So you can plan ahead and produce better work and results.
Even when you analyze your performance, it makes it easier because you prepare your metrics in advance.
Why is a marketing calendar important?
A marketing calendar keeps your team sticked and focused on your marketing plans. It has all the information for your strategies, and your team works according to the plans.
You can keep your team informed through the calendar and push projects to completion. It gives you more control over your goals. Also, this helps you to get your marketing activities organized.
Thus, it will save a bunch of your time and bring your goals one step closer to you.
Coschedule share some interesting marketing statistics insights about organizing your marketing activities:
- Marketers who document their strategies are 538% most likely to succeed
- The people who document their process are 466% most likely to succeed
- The people who set goals are 429% most likely to succeed (81% of who do goal settings, achieve them)
As you can see, documentation is critical to your success. And a marketing calendar is a perfect way to organize tasks and take actions for your goals!
Then let’s jump into the next chapter.
How to Choose The Right Marketing Calendar
A marketing calendar assists you to deliver contents as you planned.
But creating an editorial calendar takes a lot of time and that might not work for you.
In this chapter, I’m going to lay out different types of marketing calendars and templates. Then I’ll cover which filter you can include in your marketing calendar to work more efficiently.
Types of Marketing Calendars
A marketing calendar is more than a document with dates and topics. It identifies all the information that your marketing activities need in one place.
The right marketing calendar makes a positive impact on your marketing performance. Marketers use editorial calendars to organize different marketing campaign strategies.
These are the 4 main types of marketing calendars:
1. Content marketing calendar
A content marketing calendar organizes your content marketing plans and strategies. Since multiple people work on content creation, you can use it to inform your team of what to do and when to do it. The bigger the project you have, the more detailed information you should add to your content calendar to ensure good performance.
2. Blog calendar
A blog calendar is the best way to manage and keep your efforts on track particularly for blogging. Depending on your blog style, you can customize your calendar using filters and metrics. This will help you to produce engaging content and entertain your readers.
3. Social media marketing calendar
A social media marketing calendar is a useful tool to plan your posts ahead of time and organize the tasks. Especially when you post several times in a day to social media. It gives you an overview of which posts work well and helps you to improve your content based on the results.
4. Email marketing calendar
An email marketing calendar shows when and what you’re going to send to your subscribers. It helps you to improve your email marketing strategies and keep track of your metrics. Email marketing is one of the top ways to retain customers. To improve your email subscribers experience, you should create your email marketing calendar.
And these are the 5 main types of formats:
- Excel / Google Sheets
- Word / Google Doc
- Google Calendar
One advice for formats:
Choose a customizable calendar. One that you can add information to, multimedia and color labels. You will have many changes as time passes and it’s better to start with a flexible calendar to revise and update yours.
You don’t have time to create your marketing calendar from scratch?
Don’t worry. I have you covered!
Let’s review the best free templates that will save you time.
Free Marketing Calendar Templates
If you don’t have a marketing calendar, you can consider free marketing calendar templates.
Most of the marketing calendar templates are in Excel sheets or Google Sheets formats. They are easy to customize and you can make your own calendar based on them.
Here are my 5 favorite free marketing calendar templates in 2019:
Hubspot marketing calendar templates are 3 types of editorial calendars. To get them, you need to fill out your name, email, phone number, website URL, company name, and # of employees.
These templates enable you to customize and add detailed information to make them insightful. So if you’re working as a team, they will help you to improve your content marketing performance.
- Blog editorial calendar templates (excel, Google calendar, and Google sheets)
- Social media calendar templates (excel)
- Editorial content calendar templates (excel)
These free marketing calendar templates are in Excel and PDF formats. It requires your name, work-email address, company name, and website. Then you will have extra questions about your company that you need to answer to get their templates.
These templates help you to see in one place everything you’re working on for content marketing. Moreover, CoSchedule has software that gives full visibility and helps to keep projects on track! I’ll give you more details about its software later.
- 2019 annual content marketing editorial calendar template (excel)
- 2019 social media editorial marketing calendar template (excel)
- Annual calendar template (PDF)
- Idea worksheet template (PDF)
- Monthly calendar template (PDF)
3. Bob Angus
Bob Angus provides 4 ungated templates in both excel and Google sheets formats. You can track key activities and check deliverables and status for each piece of content.
Also, you have a content idea tracking template and a list of your best-performed contents. So, it is easier for you to control all the content creation process and improve.
- Editorial roadmap (excel and Google sheets)
- Editorial calendar (excel and Google sheets)
- Idea Tracker (excel and Google sheets)
- Completed / Published content (excel and Google sheets)
4. Vertical Measures
Vertical Measures gives you 3 different types of marketing calendar excel templates. To get them, you need to fill out a simple form – at least you need to provide your name and email address.
These templates allow you to identify who’s responsible for the content and expand your content ideas. You will be able to prepare valuable contents to succeed according to your roadmap.
- Content roadmap (excel)
- Ideation (excel)
- Calendar (excel)
Smartsheet offers 9 ungated marketing calendars in excel formats. Depending on what marketing calendar you want to use, you can choose the one that fits your needs better. Since they are all easy to customize, you can manage your activities in an effective way.
- Simple marketing calendar template (excel)
- Annual marketing calendar template (excel)
- Marketing editorial calendar template (excel)
- Social media marketing calendar template (excel)
- Blogging editorial calendar template (excel)
- Email marketing calendar template (excel)
- Marketing campaign calendar template (excel)
- Monthly marketing metrics calendar template (excel)
- Marketing plan calendar with the budget tracker (excel)
What kind of Filters to Include in Your Marketing Calendar
As you can see in some of the marketing calendar templates, the filters are different. The more information you include, the more likely you can deliver your content as planned. Define what information to include for collaboration, and what metrics to track.
Let me show you the filters I use on my own instagram marketing calendar that help me to organize my work successfully.
Instagram marketing calendar
I use the following filters for content creation, tracking performance, and more.
Have you already chosen your calendar?
In the next chapter, I’m going to show you how to collect all the information you need for your marketing calendar.
Plan Your Marketing Calendar Effectively
Now that you have decided which marketing calendar to use. It’s time to identify your goals and how to achieve them with your marketing strategies.
To ensure your marketing efforts pay off, this process is very important for your results.
In this chapter, I’ll show you how to plan a marketing calendar for success.
Review Your Marketing Goals and Strategies
First… Let’s check your annual marketing plan. It makes it easier for you to create a marketing calendar.
Your calendar employs the same strategies as your marketing plan, but it plans out with dates. Review your marketing plan and keep it in mind.
Then, list out your marketing strategies and check if there are specific dates to include. This will help you to plan in advance and deliver your strategies when needed.
Understand better who is your target audience and influencers
Without knowing your users, it is very difficult to run successful marketing campaigns.
If you know who your audience is and what are their interests, your marketing plan is more likely to work. You can create contents that your audience will like. Also it is easier to make adjustments for your strategies.
Let’s go deep down a bit more to understand your target audience better. It is critical to get social shares and banklinks when you publish contents.
Yet, it won’t happen without audience research.
How do you get more information from your target audience?
That’s easy! I can show you how to get a better understanding of the potential of your contents.
Go to Content Research of Buzzsumo. Then, type your keyword in the search of Content Analyzer.
You will see top engagement posts and how many shares on each social network they got. It also shows you who shares the content by clicking the social channels.
Check your keyword in Ahrefs Keywords Explorer. In the overview, there’s a “SERP overview” that shows the top 10 search results.
Here you can see how many backlinks each page got and who linked to them. These linkers can be your publishing influencers if you create top quality content!
List out all your channels (How to reach your audience)
To build solid strategies, it is critical to limit your channels.
The use of different channels shapes how you engage with your audience. But each channel performs in different ways and requires different strategies.
Your intended marketing channels can be:
Select your channels depending on your goals and develop your channel strategies accordingly.
Collect important dates
You’re a few steps away from the completion of the planning phase!
The last thing in this chapter is to collect all the key dates for your company.
The followings are some ideas for your data gathering:
- Federal holidays
- National holidays
- Company events
- Company milestones
- Industry related events
- Your product/service launch
- Deadlines for content
- Season related campaigns
- Local events
US Holidays for Your Business
A holiday is a great way to increase your visibility and improve your engagement and CTR rates.
You can also include some fun national holidays as well as major holidays in your marketing calendar. There are many days when you can catch the attention of your audience in a fun way.
Now that you know what to include in your marketing calendar.
The question is:
How do you get started with all the information you collected in this chapter?
Well, that’s what chapter 4 is all about.
Create A Marketing Calendar That Works
In this chapter, I’ll show you how to create a marketing calendar step by step.
Let’s jump right in!
Step 1: Prepare your marketing calendar
Whether it’s templates or software, choose one that work for you. And add filters and metrics into the marketing calendar.
Don’t worry too much, you can add more information later unless you choose PDF format. A PDF calendar is nice to use when you’re brainstorming though.
Step 2: Define who is your marketing calendar team and their roles
Now that you have most of the information you can dive into creating a marketing calendar. So it’s time to define who will be your team for the marketing calendar.
There are 7 key roles for a marketing calendar.
- Team lead – The lead participates in from planning to improving and gives final approvals on each phase.
- Editorial manager – This is the person who oversees marketing calendars and contacts people when your plan isn’t carried out as planned.
- Content creator – Content creator transforms content ideas to written contents and gathers data.
- Content editor – The editor modifies and improves the pieces content creator produced.
- Designer – The designer turns the content creators’ work visually appeal to the audience.
- Developer – This developer visualizes and controls the complete contents on website and software.
- Analytics manager – The analyst tracks metrics for the contents and analyzes for improvements.
Step 3: Brainstorm your content theme/topic ideas
it comes to content marketing, investing time on content creation matters.
If you choose a keyword with low search volume, your content may not drive traffic and engagement.
If your topic is too boring, nobody wants to share or link to you.
It can get even worse:
If you don’t do it properly, you don’t get anything from the efforts. Even though content creation requires lots of time and energy.
I’m going to show how to develop your content ideas to have a great impact on your online visibility.
Creating content with well-researched keywords spreads your marketing messages efficiently. Without keyword research, it is difficult to deploy an engaging marketing strategy.
Here are my quick keyword research tactics you can use:
Seek what topics your audience likes to search
Start researching your best keywords. You have two easiest ways using Google suggestions. First, enter your keyword in Google search box, and you’ll see the 10 exact matching long tail keywords. Second, after searching your keyword on Google, the related search keywords will appear at the bottom of SERPs.
Check the keywords that you’re already ranking on search engines
Go to your analytics and find the organic keywords you’re ranking. These keywords are good for you to dig deeper. You can refresh or upgrade the existing contents that worked. Or create different types of contents with the keyword.
Spy on your competitor’s organic keywords
Another way to stay ahead of the competition is to find out your competitor’s strategies. You can get the content ideas that are performing well from competitor research. Then develop better contents so that they cannot defeat you.
Pick keywords that have high search volume and low keyword difficulty
If you want to rank in search volume, you need to pick your keywords strategically. The key is to find a keyword with a high volume search and low keyword difficulty.
Use keyword research tools
If you’re looking for advanced keyword research techniques, you’ll love this video.
Expand your content idea
Then, it’s time to combine those keywords with a content type.
These are 14 types of content for your content creation:
- How-to (tutorial)
- Resource (data-driven)
- Case study
- Controversial topic
- Guest post
Step 4: Calendarize your contents with enough preparation time
Now that you have planned your contents into your marketing calendar, it’s starting to look more like a calendar.
When it comes to marketing scheduling, people tend to include much information and the calendar gets crowded.
But don’t forget about your capability to complete the tasks and plan with enough time to be prepared. Make sure to prioritize your projects and make adjustments.
Also, when you input your status on marketing calendar, make it as specific and clear as possible. That helps your team understand the workflow better and work on the next step.
Remember to update your status every time you progress your tasks.
Step 5: Execute your marketing strategies
Let’s start testing your marketing strategies.
By keep identifying what works the most, you’ll come up with better ways to go. These ideas help you to improve your marketing and analyze deeper.
Keep records and feedback as much as possible.
Be always clear about your goals and strive for the best.
Step 6: Analyze your marketing strategies
This is the last step and the most important part of your marketing calendar. Analyzing how your marketing strategies are working is crucial to improve your performance.
Give your team these questions after execution:
- Was there anything your marketing calendar missed (functionally)?
- Did any of your team members miss deadlines? And why?
- Did the communication system with your marketing calendar work?
- Does your team have any complains about your marketing calendar?
- Any suggestions for improvements?
Set up your valuation periods like monthly or quarterly.
It is key to keep your marketing calendar records as much as possible for the future. Those notes will be helpful for leading your marketing strategies to success!
How to Use Your Marketing Calendar Successfully
Creating a marketing calendar must not be your goal.
If you want people to engage with your contents, you need to optimize for SEO, and lots more.
In this chapter, I’ll share actionable tips and strategies that will work in 2019.
To make a marketing calendar work, your contents have to reach to a level that people find you everywhere.
Content creation is vital for your business to reach and engage your target audience. And this will be the core of your marketing calendar fuel.
However, most businesses struggle to drive people to their web pages and grow.
Today I’m going to show you how to effectively create contents that catch attention online.
When it comes to online contents, you cannot neglect the power of SEO.
If you miss optimizing your contents for SEO, how can your audience find you?
This is a very important topic in content creation, so I will explain what you have to do for engaging SEO contents.
There are 6 elements you should take a careful look for on-page SEO:
This is one of the most important elements for your SEO performance.
A title tag displays your page title in SERPs and triggers searchers to consume the contents.
To craft a perfect SEO title, you need to keep several things in mind:
- Include your keyword
- Start with your keyword
- Most search engine cut meta title to 70 characters
- Make sure your title tag uses H1 tag
Meta description can be your brief summary of a webpage.
Search engines show it of up to 155 characters in SERPs. Write marketing messages that match your content.
Remember to contain your keyword in meta description.
Shorter URL improves your ranking on Google.
Keep it SEO friendly and don’t forget to contain your keyword.
Media (visual contents)
Visual contents keep your audience engaged to your messages.
You can provide multiple-media experience like images, charts and videos.
These media improves time on page and reduces your bounce rates.
Be sure to add alt text with your keyword onto your media.
A body of your contents will influence the visibility of your content. It helps you to engage better with your audience. Write as much detail as possible until it makes sense.
The following are key elements you should include:
- Keyword – An introduction is a great part to get attention. Add your keyword in the introduction to show you’ll deliver what they want to read. It applies to the last paragraph too. Add your keyword in your conclusion. Make sure that you haven’t used the keyword previously.
- LSI keywords – LSI keywords help search engines figure out what your page is about. Add them into the entire content.
- Subheadings – Heading structure entertains search engines and your audience. Use them with H tags and make them stand out.
- Outbound links – Outbound links help search engines to understand the relevancy relationship. Make sure the link has higher authority.
- Internal links – Adding internal links can boost your SEO. But don’t forget they show your website architecture.
- Readability – For content success, improving readability is a must. Use bullet points and make your contents scannable.
If you don’t have great contents, you don’t drive traffic. And if your website doesn’t perform well, people won’t stay on your website. Thus, you need to optimize not only the contents but also the website.
To improve your website, you should consider:
- Develop a responsive design for mobiles and tablets
- Speed up your webpages
- Make social sharing easier for your audience
- Provide user experience
- Improve accessibility
- Include call-to-action
You can also improve your website usability for user experience.
Content marketing strategies checklist
Here’re my top 15 content marketing strategies that you can apply today:
- Insert your killer CTA that leads the audience to your goal
- Develop contents that make your target audience want to share
- Spy on your competitors for their traffic sources and strategies
- Do your content audit to see what kind of content pages works for you
- Conduct enough research for your contents
- Add statistics and proof resources to your contents
- Add more supporting images and graphs
- Use subheadings wisely for readability
- Make sharing options easy for your audience
- Include lead magnets like cheat sheets and video training
- A/B test your headline that converts
- Offer multimedia experience
- Proofread after giving some time away
- Redefine your strategies if needed
- Think about mobile users for the length of a paragraph
To publish contents successfully, you need to know when is the best time to publish. This is when your audience is active in your target channel.
Use analytics tools to see when they interact and engage with you. These results should have a great impact on your publishing schedule and performance.
Also, consistent publishing is key to influence your traffic and SEO. Without frequent posting, you will never know what day of the week works. Even your analytics tell you the optimal time to post, many times it works average.
Consistent scheduling helps you to understand what types of contents work and when.
Content Promotion Strategy
Let’s face this:
Even if your contents reach the right audience, if they don’t engage with your content, your hard work won’t pay off. That’s why you need a strategic content promotion strategy.
When it comes to content promotion, there are many ways to advertise your contents.
- Social media
- Your Subscribers
- Direct Message to influencers
- Blogger Outreach
- Contact people who share similar contents on social media
- Submit to content share communities
- Guest blogging
- Digital Advertising (paid ads)
- Transformation to target other audience
- Inbound links
- Search Engines by SEO
In fact, all the strategies above work great if you execute them properly. Try all at once and focus on what’s working for you!
Now that you know how to use your marketing calendar to maximize your marketing efforts. Let’s move on to optimize more your calendar after publishing your contents.
Optimize Your Marketing Calendar
Publishing contents is not a finish line. It’s time to turn your marketing calendar into your marketing fuels.
In this chapter, let me show you more advanced tips on tracking, improving traffic, etc.
Tracking Marketing Campaigns
Let’s check what’s working or not for you!
Marketing metrics are very important factors for the success of your business. You can measure your performance and develop better marketing strategies with these metrics.
For example, if you want to drive traffic to your website in a marketing campaign. You may want to track the following marketing metrics:
That leads you to the next about marketing campaign analysis…
Tracking Marketing Campaigns
This will take all your marketing efforts to the next level. If you skip this step, you are losing the opportunities to perform your best.
Marketing analysis is essential to identify problems and opportunities for your marketing. Make sure that you analyze the data as much as possible and improve it if you can.
Those findings will upgrade your future campaigns.
Improve Your Marketing Campaigns
Above all, this is the most important step that improves your marketing efforts.
You might be wondering:
How do you improve your marketing campaigns?
To make it easy for you, here is a checklist for marketing campaign improvement that you can take right away.
- Make any adjustments whenever and wherever possible
- Conduct alternative strategies for the one that isn’t bringing results
- Experiment and switch to other new techniques
- Analyze competitors deeply
- Target the right audience
- Focus on the top performed channels
- Add clear call-to-action
- Create a landing page
- A/B test to find the best headlines
- Use Digital Advertising to get the most out of your marketing
- Optimize your conversion path (improve your bounce rates and CTR)
- Leverage and test hashtags
- Maintain a consistent posting schedule
- Provide quality (value) contents over quantity
- Upgrade your customer services
Marketing Calendar Templates and Software
This chapter is a list of marketing calendar templates and software that you can use in 2019.
Marketing Calendar Software
Marketing calendar software saves time for collaboration work and the workflow tracking.
I’ll show you 7 marketing calendar software:
This is a cloud-based collaboration software that organizes projects the way you like. It keeps your team involved and tracks workflow from content creation to publication. So, you can get some help and assign new tasks to writers according to the status. Besides, this tool integrates with most of the apps you use.
CoSchedule is an all-in-one marketing platform that organizes all your marketing activities. You can share weekly schedules with your entire team and ensure who’s working on each task. Also, it creates cross-functional calendars and shows you the progress of each task. So, you can set realistic goals and approach the problems to complete on time.
- Business/Agency plan starts $80~ per month
Kapost is a content marketing platform that organizes contents by sorting and filtering. Also, it visualizes your content strategies and tracks the workflow. So, you can always execute effectively content marketing. Above all, Kapost integrates with many apps. Thus, you can share these detailed works and communicate with your team in one place.
- $3,500~ per month
DivvyHQ is a content marketing tool that streamlines your process and improves content collaboration. It allows customized calendar configurations and communication through comments and attachments. It tracks both team and content performance in one place. So that you can increase the productivity of your team and create better contents with teams.
- $30~ per month
Markodojo is a marketing management software that increases your team’s productivity. It creates marketing calendars with an easy interface and visualizes the tasks. Also, it allows you to annotate documents and share them with the team. So you can highlight specific modifications and improve them with your team.
6. Trello + Slack
This combination is one of my favorite ways to keep organized and tracked my daily work. If you have already used these apps, why not using them for a marketing calendar use? You can use Trello to map and track your workflows and Slack to share with your team.
Now I would like to hear from you!
That’s it for my guide to marketing calendar 2019.
I hope this guide showed you how to create and leverage it to optimize your marketing activities.
And now I’d like to turn it over to you:
What are you doing to manage all your marketing activities?
Which strategies from this guide do you want to try first?
Or do you have any questions about something on this post?
Leave a comment to let me know!