Even though fall is now upon us and we are already in our 4th quarter, it is not too late to do some creative marketing planning to close out the year and hit some of those financial and business goals. A great strategy for getting organized so that you are on top of your marketing rest of the year is to create a marketing schedule.
You are likely implementing several different marketing strategies, from social media, to emails and PR. Therefore, writing down all that needs to take place and when it all should happen will make it much easier to do what you need to do to stay consistent and get results to your bottom line. A marketing schedule makes it especially easy for you and your team to collaborate and work together towards the goals of the business or organization.
Creating a marketing schedule doesn't have to be a stressful and time-consuming task. It could actually become one of your favorite marketing tasks when you discover how much easier it is overall for you to implement your marketing. As with any business task, if you can't find the time to, or don't like doing it, outsourcing is always a great option. But, if you are going to make some time to create your marketing schedule, It's best to find a scheduling tool that fits your needs and style.
Download one - There are numerous, calendars, spreadsheets, scheduling tools on-line that can be downloaded and used to create your marketing schedule. The key is finding one that speaks to you and easy for you to work with. Go to Google and search for "downloadable marketing calendars" or "downloadable marketing schedules" for some examples. Pick one and try it for a while, if you don't like it, then try another one.
Spreadsheet - If you are more of a spreadsheet person, creating a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets is a great option. You can create multiple tabs for each marketing channel or just build it all on one of the sheets and get going.
Google or Outlook Calendar - Create a separate calendar that is used only for your marketing schedule.That then you can set up to see on you personal calendar. This is a nice option if you primarily work from your calendar. You can see what marketing tasks need to occur alongside your other appointments or tasks you've scheduled. Also, Google makes it easy for you to create and share your calendars with other people on your team.
Note/Document Programs - Evernote and Trello are two great examples of programs that could be used to keep notes and plan out your marketing schedule. You can add images, save links, and do more of a journal type of schedule. These are are great for those of us that like to write out stuff and create lists but also prefer doing things digitally.
Paper Calendar - Don't count out the regular old printed calendar and planner pads. Maybe using a pen and paper is more your style. If so, you can stop by any office supply store and find the paper tools that will work for you.
After you've decided on the tool to use, you can begin the planning. Start this process by creating a list of the topics that you want to cover for the rest of the year. Keep in mind of holiday's, any special events, or sales and product launches that need to occur. Make sure you think about what your target audience's interests are. What have people responded to in the past as well as what added value do you want to bring to them. Think about what will keep them coming back to check for new information. This list is a work-in-progress list and should be added and subtracted from as your overall business and marketing needs change.
Take a deep breath, the hard part is over. With your brainstorming list in hand, start to create your marketing schedule on your scheduling tool. Schedule the topics that you want to use on the various platforms you engage on. It's best to be thorough when doing this. Keep a folder on your desktop with marketing images and graphics so that you can easily access them when you are actually writing the posts. Schedule your topics in an order that makes sense keeping in mind of any special dates or time sensitive topics..
Finally, I want to add that you need to be flexible through this process. Your marketing schedule is a guideline for you and your team to work off of. It's not a contract, so If something is not working, change it. With that said, remember the importance of consistency. So, don't go all over the map trying a lot of new marketing ideas this 4th quarter. Choose 1 to 3 things and stick with them. Wait a good 3 to 6 months and then review and revise accordingly.As always, if you have questions, comments, or thoughts to share, please email me. I would be happy to listen and help in any way that I can.
To your Illumination,