Even though we’re well into the year’s fourth quarter, it’s never too late to do some creative marketing. A great strategy for getting organized is making a marketing schedule.
You’re likely implementing several different marketing strategies, from social media updates to emails and press releases. Writing down all that needs to happen and when it should happen will make it much easier to stay consistent and results-oriented.
Creating a marketing schedule doesn't have to be a stressful or time-consuming task. As with any business task, if you can't find the time or don't like doing it, outsourcing is always an option. But, if you’re going to create your own marketing schedule, it's best to find a scheduling tool that fits your needs and style.
Downloadable Tools - There are numerous online calendars, spreadsheets, and scheduling tools that can be used to create your marketing schedule; the key is finding one that speaks to you. Search "downloadable marketing calendars" or "downloadable marketing schedules,” then pick one and try it for a while. If you don't like it, try another one.
Spreadsheets - Using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets is another great option. You can create multiple tabs for each marketing channel or build your plan all on one page.
Google or Outlook Calendars - This is a fantastic option if you primarily work off a calendar. Create a separate calendar in Google or Outlook that’s only for your marketing schedule, then import it to your personal calendar. Google makes it particularly easy to create and share calendars with others on your team.
Note or Document Programs - Evernote and Trello are two excellent examples of note-taking programs that can help you plan out your marketing schedule. These sites let you add images, save links, and create journal-style schedules. Note and document programs are great for those who like to write out ideas and create lists but prefer to do things digitally.
Paper Calendars - Don't discount the tried-and-true! If using a pen and paper is more your style, stop by any office supply store and stock up on the tools you know will work for you.
After you've picked your method, you can start planning. Begin by creating a list of topics you want to cover through the rest of the year; make sure to include holidays, special events, sales, and product launches. Think about your target audience and their interests. What have people responded to in the past? What value do you want to bring to their lives? What will keep them coming back for more?
Take a deep breath, the hard part is over! With your list in hand, it’s time to use your scheduling too and create your marketing schedule. Schedule the topics on the various platforms you use. Be thorough. Keep a folder on your desktop with marketing images and graphics so you can easily access them when you’re writing your posts. Schedule your topics in an order that makes sense while making note of special dates or time-sensitive topics.
Flexibility is key during this process. Your marketing schedule is a guideline, not a contract. If something isn’t working, change it. With that said, remember the importance of consistency. Choose 1-3 things and stick with them. Wait a good three-to-six months, then review and revise accordingly.
As always, if you have questions, comments, or thoughts to share, please email me! I’m happy to listen and help in any way that I can.
To your illumination,