How To Create Your Marketing Calendar For 2023
To properly handle all marketing operations of your business, plan ahead and keep track of your goals, you need a solid marketing calendar to help you.
A business has many different moving parts and you surely wouldn’t want to handle all those processes and teams with sticky notes on a wall!
In this complete guide, you’ll learn:
- what a marketing calendar is
- its usefulness for a business
- the different types of marketing calendars
- and how to build a marketing calendar for your business
So, let’s get to it!
What Is A Marketing Calendar?
A marketing calendar is a written schedule of all marketing activities planned in advance. It helps you visualize your planning and meet your deadlines.
A marketing calendar is usually crafted for an entire year, but it can be adjusted to half a year or a quarter, depending on your business type. It outlines all your activities month by month so you can achieve your marketing goals in each respective period.
They also include all the different channels a business will leverage while also considering important dates or cultural events. For example, a marketing calendar will include your business’s seasonal campaigns and other marketing campaigns planned for the holidays.
Once you’ve devised your marketing strategy and a marketing plan, the marketing calendar is an essential next step useful for both managers and team members. It allows your members to stay aligned and coordinated and follow a concrete schedule to achieve their goals.
Now let’s see why a marketing calendar is so essential for a business!
Why Is A Marketing Calendar Important?
A marketing calendar is very important since it keeps major marketing activities from getting lost and your teams focused on your marketing plan. Your team members have all the information they need in one place so they can ensure they meet each individual goal/deadline throughout the year.
While a marketing calendar requires significant time and effort to create, it can help businesses of all sizes proactively plan their campaigns in advance. And without proper planning, the result will not be cohesive, which means that a company won’t be in the optimal position to attract, convert and retain customers effectively.
For example, without the existence of a marketing calendar, team members would launch blog posts inconsistently, meaning that this would affect the company’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and “confuse” loyal followers of the brand.
It is not surprising that marketers who opt to document their strategies are more likely to succeed by 313%.
Documentation is critical for a business’s success. A marketing calendar helps companies achieve their goals and carry out their marketing strategies and plan.
Now let’s move on to the different types of marketing calendars that you can create!
Different Types Of Marketing Calendars
Instead of a one-size-fits-all marketing calendar, brands can utilize a range of different marketing calendars depending on the number of marketing activities, the size of the business, and the channels used.
Below you’ll find some of the most common types of marketing calendars to keep your company organized:
Content Marketing Calendar
A content marketing calendar ensures that all of your planned content is visible in one place. The more people working in your content department, the more sense it makes to have such a calendar to keep track of what each team does and when.
Your content marketing calendar allows you to track content with a calendar view, spot gaps or inefficiencies in your editorial calendar and ensure high performance.
Some businesses create a content calendar template, which includes specific details for high-value projects.
A content marketing calendar is a document that needs frequent updates. Moreover, it can include future marketing responsibilities as well as past accomplishments.
The content marketing calendar is the key to achieving consistency in your content marketing efforts. With its help, you can create content that will truly resonate with your target audience’s needs. Remaining consistent means you can potentially attract loyal customers.
Editorial Calendar (Blog Calendar)
An editorial calendar (or blog calendar) is the best way to manage and track your efforts concerning your company blog. It helps remain consistent and get more readers, by tracking what works and what doesn’t.
You can find an editorial calendar template online and customize it according to your needs. This means adding filters and using specific metrics.
It is also useful to include links to your posts, the keywords you’re targeting with each blog as well as the keyword difficulty.
In case your company relies heavily on organic traffic and SEO, neglecting your editorial calendar can have a negative impact on your website traffic. And if you aren’t using one, it might be time to use one and see the benefits for yourself!
Social Media Marketing Calendar
Social media marketing can get complicated, especially when you post multiple times a day. A social media calendar lets you plan social media posts across different platforms and organize tasks ahead of time.
Social media calendars usually come in the form of a spreadsheet or an app/software that schedules your social media posts in advance. This type of calendar provides a useful overview of the posts that work well or not and enables your business to improve your content based on how it performs.
It’s important to mention that not every business requires the same social media marketing calendar. While for some a paper or a spreadsheet will work well, others might need a specialized service that saves time, provides a clear overview, and has integrated calendar tools.
If you’re looking for a social media calendar template to start planning your social media campaigns, check out HubSpot’s. It’s a great free template and an excellent starting point.
Email Marketing Calendar
An email marketing calendar shows the timeline of what you’re going to send to your subscribers and when. Since email marketing is among the best ways to reach, engage and retain your customers, it is highly recommended for businesses to use an email marketing calendar.
To craft effective email campaigns, you need to plan in advance. What’s more, your team members must be informed and be ready to leverage potential opportunities to increase sales and conversions.
But the most important benefit of an email marketing calendar is that it helps yield the maximum impact for your campaigns. Product launches, sales promotions, new functionality of your services, these all need to be put into a calendar and find out the best time to launch them.
How To Build A Marketing Calendar
Crafting a marketing calendar every year is a tedious task. However, it’s well worth it since it helps the marketing department achieve success month on month.
Some users also feel intimidated when it comes to building a marketing calendar. In this guide, we’ll show you step-by-step how to create one yourself and use it to streamline your efforts.
So, let’s get started:
1. Determine the amount of time you’ll plan for
The first step in creating your marketing calendar is deciding how far ahead you want to plan.
For some businesses, it is best to plan out the whole year, especially when they want to undertake time-consuming projects that require a lot of work and collaboration between teams.
What’s more, planning for an entire year allows a business to get a holistic idea of the campaigns and promotions they’ll run and have better chances to execute their intended content strategy.
Note: If you make a year-long marketing calendar, allow some flexibility in it. For example, there may be certain trends or cultural shifts that you’ll need to consider.
If you want to be more agile or you are in a fast-changing industry, you can do quarter planning. A quarterly marketing calendar will give you enough time to execute your marketing campaigns while allowing you to optimize your marketing strategy 4 times a year.
Finally, you have the option to plan only for the next month. While this option offers the most flexibility, it can be quite risky. On the one hand, you’ll be able to jump to trending and emerging topics and produce relevant pieces of content that will hit the mark. On the other hand, you’ll be spending more time planning your calendar.
2. Decide which channels you’ll use
The next step is to decide which marketing channels you’ll be leveraging.
Ideally, your marketing calendar should include campaigns that run in various key channels. In this way, you have the highest chances of successfully reaching your target audience and then converting them.
To identify which channels will be your main ones, think of where you are most active and include these channels in your marketing calendar. Moreover, you can research and understand where your target audience hangs out and include the channels you find in the mix.
3. Choose your marketing calendar template/software
If you don’t want to create your marketing calendar from scratch, you can select an existing marketing calendar template and customize it to your needs.
This is the easiest and fastest way. Once you have selected your template, be sure to add filters and metrics that matter to you. This way you’ll be able to track your goals and measure your success.
If there is the need for multiple team members to collaborate with each other, a good idea would be to employ a calendar tool/software. These tools can help save time in building your calendar and they feature advanced functionalities that help with project management and communication between team members.
4. Determine the team members involved
Now is the time to determine the team members responsible for each item.
To have a solid marketing calendar, you need to assign accountability and ensure visibility.
You can get help from the team leads in your company to ensure that your marketing calendar is comprehensive and includes all the key dates, projects, and campaigns.
Defining the roles and responsibilities of each team member will make things clearer for everybody and help boost productivity.
5. Brainstorm content ideas
Your next step is to research and brainstorm for content ideas. One of the best ways to identify the type of content you need to create for your audience is to conduct keyword research.
There are various keyword research tools to assist you in the process such as Ahrefs and Google Trends. The first thing you could do is find keywords with high search volume and low keyword difficulty.
Moreover, you should check the keywords that you’re already ranking for. After identifying them, you can enrich your existing content pieces or create different content formats (that you can promote on other marketing channels you own).
Another great strategy when searching for content ideas is to conduct competitor analysis. Spy on your competitors’ organic keywords and create high-quality content to surpass them.
6. Select the types of campaigns you’ll run
Once you’ve found ideas for your content strategy, it’s time to select the types of marketing campaigns you are going to run.
Marketing campaigns are series of messages that revolve around one central topic. These campaigns can be social media posts, email marketing campaigns, SMS messages, ads, landing pages, and so on.
At this step, it’s important to be as specific as possible and put as much information as you can. Detailed planning in advance will be tremendously helpful at the stage of creation later on.
Potential types of campaigns you may want to consider include:
- Promotions and Sales: Target existing customers with promotional messages and ongoing sales during specific periods. You can amplify the impact of your campaigns by offering coupon codes, free shipping, etc.
- Product launches: Usually they are campaigns of large scale. They will require social media posts, emails, blog posts and preparation in terms of product development.
- Content-driven campaigns: These campaigns are structured around infographics, case studies, webinars, etc. It’s a good idea to put content on social media platforms or share it via email.
- Holiday campaigns: These are very specific campaigns around major or minor holidays. Such instances include Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc.
- Giveaways/Contests: Sometimes they are ad hoc campaigns, but it’s best to plan them in advance. They have the power to increase engagement and bring more followers to your brand. Include in your marketing calendar potential collaborations with influencers.
7. Review and upgrade your calendar
This is the final step of the process. However, it is one of the most important parts since it helps in the improvement of your marketing calendar.
In this step, you’ll need to evaluate whether your strategies are working and measure their performance. Your analytics will give you the answers you seek.
Did you omit anything from your calendar? Were the deadlines met? Are there any suggestions for improvement?
These are questions that will help you improve your marketing calendar and get it to the next level for the next quarter, year, etc.
Holiday Marketing Calendar for 2023
We’ve compiled a useful holiday marketing calendar that you can use to plan your marketing campaigns for all important dates of 2023. It is categorized by month.
January 1 – New Year’s Day
January 1 – Science Fiction Day
January 14 – National Dress Up Your Pet Day
January 17 – Martin Luther King Jr Day
January 20 – Get to Know your Customers Day
January 29 – National Puzzle Day
February 1 – Lunar New Year
February 9 – World Pizza Day
February 14 – Valentine’s Day
February 15 – Singles Awareness Day
February 21 – Presidents’ Day
March 1 – Mardi Gras
March 2 – Ash Wednesday
March 8 – International Women’s Day
March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
March 18 – World Sleep Day
March 19 – Let’s Laugh Day
April 1 – April Fool’s Day
April 10 – Siblings Day
April 17 – Easter
April 22 – Earth Day
April 27 – Denim Day
May 3 – Teachers’ Day
May 5 – Cinco de Mayo
May 8 – Mother’s Day
May 13 – Friday the 13th
May 30 – Memorial Day
June 8 – Best Friends Day
June 14 – Flag Day
June 19 – Juneteenth Independence Day
June 19 – Father’s Day
June 21 – First Day of Summer
July 24 – Parents’ Day
July 4 – Independence Day / 4th of July
July 8 – National Video Games Day
July 17 – World Emoji Day
July 17 – Ice Cream Day
July 20 – National Hot Dog Day
July 30 – Friendship Day
August 5 – International Beer Day
August 8 – International Cat Day
August 9 – Book Lovers Day
August 26 – National Dog Day
September 5 – Labor Day
September 11 – Grandparents Day
September 21 – International Day of Peace
September 22 – First Day of Autumn / September Equinox
September 27 – World Tourism Day
September 30 – International Podcast Day
October 5 – World Teacher’s Day
October 10 – World Mental Health Day
October 24 – Diwali
October 31 – Halloween
November 6 – Daylight Savings Time
November 11 – Veterans Day
November 15 – National Entrepreneurs Day
November 24 – Thanksgiving
November 25 – Black Friday
November 26 – Small Business Saturday
November 28 – Cyber Monday
December 16 – National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
December 18 – Free Shipping Day
December 24 — Christmas Eve
December 25 — Christmas Day
December 26 — Boxing Day
December 31 — New Year’s Eve
As you saw in the previous sections, a marketing calendar is absolutely essential for a business. You need to decide on the format of your calendar, plan ahead and optimize your strategy along the way. The more details you put down, the easier it will be to keep track of your efforts and performance.
If you decide you want to take it to the next level, you can download or create a marketing calendar template of your own that you’ll be able to use year after year.