It’s the tail-end Q4 and 2015 is knocking on our door! If you haven’t already started planning your marketing strategies for the year ahead chances are you’re in the throws of it now. A majority of my career has been centered around the ever-powerful marketing calendar. It’s the roadmap for each and every marketing strategy for a full years worth of campaigns, content initiatives, events, product launches, and all of the supporting efforts that surround these objectives (and more!) – whether inbound or outbound.
Our team at Organik SEO is extremely dedicated to the work we do for our clients, which means that sometimes our own marketing needs as company get put on the back burner. I’m pretty sure other digital agency folks know what I’m talkin’ about – and this brings me to the focus of this blog which is on the marketing calendar for the actual digital agency itself. Yes. We need one too! While we don’t offer the building of marketing calendars for our clients, we do encourage them to bring one to us (if they have one) so we can use it to further build upon – as we consider ourselves to be an extension of their marketing team. So why wouldn’t we have one for ourselves!?
Below are some helpful planning tips that we used to build our own digital marketing calendar that we’d like to share with you.
1. Define the goal of your digital marketing calendar.
Think about what this marketing calendar needs to be for the company. This is your map for the entire year so painting a clear picture is key to creating a successful plan that you’ll be motivated to follow. Keep it simple. Try not to over think this part of the process. This should be the easy part.
2. Perform a marketing calendar brainstorming session!
Gather your team in front of the whiteboard, designate a note taker/typer, and don’t forget the coffee! This is the open forum and time to get specific. List it all out in whatever brainstorming fashion will display a detailed plethora of (brilliant) ideas.
Look back at the previous year. Grab data and analyze it. What worked? What didn’t? What were you hoping to do/accomplish but didn’t?
This is also a great time to do some industry research. What are the major players predicting in the industry for the next year? What do you need to keep on your radar?
What events would be the most beneficial to attend, and who should go, and why? List it all out, then determine the initiatives that hold the highest priority and build some actionable initiatives around them. For example, if you’re planning to launch a new website, why not build a campaign around it?
3. Define and organize the structure of your digital marketing calendar.
Once you’ve defined the key initiatives that you’d like to incorporate it’s time to start organizing them into specific time frames through out the year. Before you do that, though, create the structure of your calendar. You can get as creative as you like here, just make sure it’s easy for everyone to access, view and update on a regular basis. Many use excel, but there are also companies such as Marketo that offer a unified and customizable tool that works similar to a project management system but is specific to the needs of a marketing team.
4. Categorize your digital marketing calendar out by monthly quarter blocks (for example), then add specific sections for the mediums you intend to utilize for your marketing efforts such as:
- Content Marketing – blogging, website content, case studies, press releases, ebooks etc.
- Social Media – choose the social media channels you intend to use for specific marketing messages.
- Video Marketing – this may fall under the social media section, or it could very well stand on it’s own as we believe it is a bit of a different beast!
- Events & PR – whether you’re simply planning to attend, hope to speak at, or even host, add it here!
- Little Side Tip: If your company has some talented team members who are looking to increase their presence with thought leadership, create an action plan here to help them achieve that goal. If they get booked, think of the brand recognition!
Once you’ve laid out the structure, start strategically adding those initiatives and action items into the calendar where they make the most sense. This calendar isn’t meant to be crowded and complicated, nor is it meant to replace your content/blog calendars.
Marketing Calendars can vary greatly, from company to industry. Our goal is to keep it simple and easy to execute without over thinking it. They’re meant to keep us proactive and prevent knee-jerk marketing reactions. There’s a time and a place for impromptu marketing tactics, but it’s always good to be prepared whenever possible to save time and money.
Have a suggestion or thought on building a digital marketing calendar? Please share in the comments section. Inquiring minds want to know!
If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our post “The Key to Digital Marketing Success: 3 Simple Words“. Organik SEO is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of social media and SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today!