How do you create a marketing calendar? Here are some tips and tools to get you started.
1. Find the Right Tools
If your business has complex marketing needs, you might use marketing calendar software. Popular marketing calendar apps might help. However, for many entrepreneurs, a simple spreadsheet works fine. An online search for “marketing calendar” often brings up lots of sample Excel templates you can download, or you can create your own.
— Rieva Lesonksy, Contributing Writer, SmallBizTrends.com
2. Create a Grid
You might break your marketing calendar down by the month, week or day. For most small businesses, a weekly breakdown may work best to ensure marketing takes place on a regular basis.
Since you likely plan your marketing activities quarterly, a common method is to create a spreadsheet with one tab for each quarter. On one axis of the marketing calendar, list the time units (i.e., days, weeks or months). On the other, list all your marketing activities, including industry events each quarter and month that might affect your marketing, and major events for clients, such as their fiscal year-end. If there's a cluster of events, you might dial back on nonessential marketing during that time. Conversely, you may use slow times to do long-term marketing such as building your brand through social media.
3. Get Detailed
You might also break activities out in more detail depending on your needs. For instance, if you do a lot of social media marketing, you might want separate categories for each social media network.
For each day, week or month on the calendar, try to list the specific marketing effort you're going to do, who's responsible for it, the budgeted cost and any other key details.
While smaller marketing activities (“Post pictures of new products on Facebook”) may be listed on one day, for bigger efforts—such as events, public relations or advertising—you might include multiple dates for the project. For example, if you’re planning a PR push, consider scheduling the dates to write a press release, send it to the media and follow up.
For more insights on how to help effectively tell your business story, access this DIY Guide to Content Marketing.
This article was originally published Apr 27, 2015.