Here’s an easy way to think about planning and tracking a marketing calendar
A marketing calendar is a document created for managing your marketing operations. A marketing calendar serves as the drawing board where you can outline your marketing strategy, and the smaller steps you’re taking to make your plans reality. The goal? To organize your efforts, manage all your efforts right in one place, and make it easy to know where you’re at. A marketing calendar comes in handy when you’re:
- planning your content ahead,
- managing assignments to members of your content team—responsible team members can be easily assigned and are aware of their responsibility,
- tracking your content marketing efforts, e.g. content volume i.e. the number of blogs you’ve published,
- keeping tabs on how marketing initiatives are been carried out as time progresses—managing deadlines,
- measuring your efforts and outcomes.
Why tracking in spreadsheets is failing big time
For marketers who’re looking to get started creating a content calendar without prior experience, you might be considering using a spreadsheet for that. They’re easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to maintain. But judging by a number of key factors you need for your editorial calendar, it might not be a great idea.
Spreadsheets are designed for working with data and although you can get it to function as a content calendar, you’ll not be getting the best use possible out of it.
1. Spreadsheets don’t integrate with any tools.
In our data-first world where information flows seamlessly across tools, that can be a huge drawback if the data you create in your spreadsheet cannot work side-by-side with the rest of your tool stack.
2. Spreadsheets lack robust collaboration capabilities.
In the end, no matter how good and carefully designed, a content calendar can’t function without human input.
In essence, a content calendar is designed to help the human element of your team do their work easier.
And that’s another reason why spreadsheets don’t make great content calendars. They’re not designed around assignments and tasks. Unlike a dedicated content marketing tool like Kissflow Project, a spreadsheet doesn’t have facilities for assigning tasks to team members. Now, it could be coded up, but Kissflow does this by default without needing tinkering.
3. Spreadsheets aren’t designed for managing processes.
Marketing is essentially a process that has to be carried out many times over to get repeated outcomes. And spreadsheets aren’t designed for managing processes.
4. Spreadsheets were designed for data, not processes.
Spreadsheets were designed for storing, visualizing, and managing data not running processes with series of tasks and input from several people.
Neither Excel nor Google Sheets has capabilities advanced enough for running automated processes by default (you’ll have to build bespoke) but on the other hand, dedicated marketing calendar tools help you create these by default.
Types of marketing calendars
Marketing is a multi-faceted field. From social media marketing to content marketing, there are numerous branches of marketing that apply to specific situations.
As such, there are several types of marketing calendars you can use, depending on your situation and the outcomes you’re trying to get. These include:
1. Content marketing calendar
A content marketing calendar is designed for planning and organizing content marketing efforts. A content marketing calendar is designed for managing tasks as varied as:
- managing writer assignments,
- tracking search optimization tasks,
- managing assets such as images, gifs, etc.
Given that modern content marketing is geared primarily at driving organic exposure via search, a content calendar offers the engine for managing the SEO content creation and promotion process from the ground up.
Variables to be planned in a content calendar include:
- Content Titles,
- Target Keywords,
- Publish Dates,
- Attachments/assets, i.e. images, gifs, videos, etc.
- Assignment details, i.e. regarding team members assigned to carry out specific tasks in your workflow, etc.
2. Social media calendar
Similar to the content calendar, a social media calendar is designed for managing the numerous tasks needed to run a successful social media marketing strategy. A social media calendar serves as a worksheet for planning posts ahead, storing assets such as images, gifs, content for polls, posts, etc., assigning parts of the social media calendar to members of your team, etc.
Tasks to be planned in a content calendar include:
- Post titles,
- Post write-ups,
- Attachments/assets, i.e. images, gifs, videos, links, etc.
- Assignment details.
Benefits of using a marketing calendar for your marketing efforts
A marketing calendar serves a very critical use in the big picture of your marketing. It serves as the planning board where plans can be defined as smaller tasks and then tracked as you work towards success.
By breaking your marketing plan into smaller goals, a marketing calendar makes it possible to achieve your marketing goals that’ve been broken into bits. Here are five key benefits of managing your marketing efforts with a calendar.
A marketing calendar brings the element of foresight into play for every marketing team or marketer. The marketing calendar helps you visualize where you want to be, the outcomes you want to achieve, the steps you intend to take, the team members that’ll contribute to your efforts, and how they’ll be involved in your marketing efforts.
Instead of trying to manage everything in your head, a marketing calendar offers an easy-to-manage tool for planning every bit of your strategy ahead so you can follow along as you execute.
2. Easy collaboration—assignments and task management
Except you’re a long marketer, you’ll need an engaged team to achieve your marketing targets. You’ll need to have all your team members focused 100% on your targets, the goals you’re pursuing, and how it all fits together. A marketing calendar comes in handy right here. It offers the ideal tool for assigning tasks to your team members so they can stay on the same page and make their inputs which will determine your success.
3. Tracking your efforts
A marketing calendar is where all your marketing planning data is stored and as a result, you can simply draw up the data you need
What makes a good marketing calendar?
A good marketing calendar should be:
- comprehensive— offer the data needed,
- simple and easy-to-use,
- collaborative i.e. equipped with tools like mentions, tags, chat, assignments, etc., so team members can work side-by-side,
- versatile— easily represent data in a variety of formats such as Gantt, Table, Calendar, Kanban, etc.
Kissflow Project offers a versatile tool you can use for building a fully functional marketing calendar equipped with:
- task assignments, mentions, chat, etc.,
- multiple visual formats,
- easy-to-use for non-technical users, and
- 360-degree visibility into your marketing data.
Kissflow Project simplifies marketing calendar management so you can create, promote, and track marketing campaigns with ease.
Take Kissflow Project for a spin here.