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Connecting St. Louis - Designing A Marketing Calendar

How to create a marketing calendar for your small business.

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Calendar
Designing A
MARKETING
Jonathan F. Williams
Designing A Marketing Calendar
Page 1
Connecting St. Louis
Introduction
Designing a market content calendar for your small business is crucial in ensuring that
you focus on a message that will produce sales, gain more customers, and anything else
that will help build your business.
Many problems people have come from not having a calendar they can refer to or be
held accountable to as they're going about their day.
As with most things, people feel like content and producing content are secondary
priorities in their business. This is why if you don't plan, it will always be pushed to the
bottom of the list - there will always be more squeaky wheels that need the grease.
Putting together a content calendar will hold you accountable and allow you to think
less about your content then if you had to do it ad hoc or every day. This is because
putting together a content calendar will allow you to condense the activities that might
be spread out over every day into shorter or single time blocks. It will enable you to
get a bunch of content done within that scheduled block of time.
We know jumping around from one activity to another is not an efficient or effective
way of running your business. Time blocking and having large amounts of content
produced at one time is a better use of your limited resources and allows you to then
focus the rest of your time on other aspects of your business.
Designing A Marketing Calendar
Page 2
Connecting St. Louis
Therefore, in this document, we're going to show you the 11 steps you can take to put
together a plan and a content calendar for your business's marketing.
STEP 1) Complete Your Branding And
Marketing Message Courses In
Connecting St. Louis
If you haven't already, check out our course section of Connecting St. Louis. Several
different courses will help you develop your personal brand, your business brand, and
your various marketing messages. These courses will help you put together a cohesive
messaging document that you can then use for your actual content calendar.
However, if you do not have the time to go through the courses, or you already have
your marketing messaging, you have put together your topics, your brand pillars, and
you know who your audience is, then you should proceed to the next steps on putting
together your marketing calendar.
Designing A Marketing Calendar
Page 3
Connecting St. Louis
There are many ways to do this. There are programs out there that you can buy a
subscription to that will allow you to create a content calendar. These programs also
allow you to schedule when your pieces of content will post and for the other members
of your team to see where the content goes.
STEP 2) Create a template for your
calendar that makes sense for your
business.
There's also a more low tech and simple way of doing this by using an Excel sheet or a
Google spreadsheet to build out this calendar. However you do it, make sure it makes
sense for your business. Think about it and build that template, so you have it moving
forward.
Make sure that whatever template you build is in a format that you like and that it will
make your life easier. Don't create something that you hate and doesn't make sense to
you, and that you won't use long term. It needs to make sense, and it needs to be
helpful and not more of a pain for you and your team.
Designing A Marketing Calendar
Page 4
Connecting St. Louis
STEP 3) Customize this template.
So when you find these templates or create them, make sure it is customized for what
works best for your business. Know that your template or the content on your
template likely won't stay static. There'll be tons of times that the content you thought
you'd be posting on certain days might not be used either because something was
delayed or it's no longer relevant.
For example, you can only imagine how many content calendars were wholly thrown
out as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before this, marketers could pretty much
predict what was going to happen throughout the year for their clients.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed why content calendars need to be flexible, and why
you need to understand that you should be able to change the content. So with that in
mind, as you're building your content calendar template, make sure it has flexibility
and make sure you can quickly move things around. And be sure that once you build
the calendar and place your content, it's not locked in.
Designing A Marketing Calendar
Page 5
Connecting St. Louis
STEP 4) Find relevant holidays,
events, and other evergreen content.
Before you even start populating your calendar, look for “evergreen” content, or
content that can be posted at any time, and content that has set times like national
holidays, local holidays, and local events that are relevant to your brand.
So this could be content as simple as a “Happy New Year” post on January 1 or a “Happy
Independence Day” post on the Fourth of July.
Or this could be something that you know your brand is going to be participating in
the future like a fall festival. Therefore, you need to make sure you're planning content
for that fall festival and for the days leading up to that.
Or this could be something that would involve a little less planning like making posts
about a sports team. What is your local sports scene? How do they typically perform?
And will they make it to the playoffs where you as a local brand can support them with
some sort of content?
These are simple pieces of content that you can immediately start placing on your
calendar that will be easy and relevant to your audience.

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Connecting St. Louis - Designing A Marketing Calendar

  • 2. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 1 Connecting St. Louis Introduction Designing a market content calendar for your small business is crucial in ensuring that you focus on a message that will produce sales, gain more customers, and anything else that will help build your business. Many problems people have come from not having a calendar they can refer to or be held accountable to as they're going about their day. As with most things, people feel like content and producing content are secondary priorities in their business. This is why if you don't plan, it will always be pushed to the bottom of the list - there will always be more squeaky wheels that need the grease. Putting together a content calendar will hold you accountable and allow you to think less about your content then if you had to do it ad hoc or every day. This is because putting together a content calendar will allow you to condense the activities that might be spread out over every day into shorter or single time blocks. It will enable you to get a bunch of content done within that scheduled block of time. We know jumping around from one activity to another is not an efficient or effective way of running your business. Time blocking and having large amounts of content produced at one time is a better use of your limited resources and allows you to then focus the rest of your time on other aspects of your business.
  • 3. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 2 Connecting St. Louis Therefore, in this document, we're going to show you the 11 steps you can take to put together a plan and a content calendar for your business's marketing. STEP 1) Complete Your Branding And Marketing Message Courses In Connecting St. Louis If you haven't already, check out our course section of Connecting St. Louis. Several different courses will help you develop your personal brand, your business brand, and your various marketing messages. These courses will help you put together a cohesive messaging document that you can then use for your actual content calendar. However, if you do not have the time to go through the courses, or you already have your marketing messaging, you have put together your topics, your brand pillars, and you know who your audience is, then you should proceed to the next steps on putting together your marketing calendar.
  • 4. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 3 Connecting St. Louis There are many ways to do this. There are programs out there that you can buy a subscription to that will allow you to create a content calendar. These programs also allow you to schedule when your pieces of content will post and for the other members of your team to see where the content goes. STEP 2) Create a template for your calendar that makes sense for your business. There's also a more low tech and simple way of doing this by using an Excel sheet or a Google spreadsheet to build out this calendar. However you do it, make sure it makes sense for your business. Think about it and build that template, so you have it moving forward. Make sure that whatever template you build is in a format that you like and that it will make your life easier. Don't create something that you hate and doesn't make sense to you, and that you won't use long term. It needs to make sense, and it needs to be helpful and not more of a pain for you and your team.
  • 5. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 4 Connecting St. Louis STEP 3) Customize this template. So when you find these templates or create them, make sure it is customized for what works best for your business. Know that your template or the content on your template likely won't stay static. There'll be tons of times that the content you thought you'd be posting on certain days might not be used either because something was delayed or it's no longer relevant. For example, you can only imagine how many content calendars were wholly thrown out as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before this, marketers could pretty much predict what was going to happen throughout the year for their clients. The COVID-19 pandemic showed why content calendars need to be flexible, and why you need to understand that you should be able to change the content. So with that in mind, as you're building your content calendar template, make sure it has flexibility and make sure you can quickly move things around. And be sure that once you build the calendar and place your content, it's not locked in.
  • 6. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 5 Connecting St. Louis STEP 4) Find relevant holidays, events, and other evergreen content. Before you even start populating your calendar, look for “evergreen” content, or content that can be posted at any time, and content that has set times like national holidays, local holidays, and local events that are relevant to your brand. So this could be content as simple as a “Happy New Year” post on January 1 or a “Happy Independence Day” post on the Fourth of July. Or this could be something that you know your brand is going to be participating in the future like a fall festival. Therefore, you need to make sure you're planning content for that fall festival and for the days leading up to that. Or this could be something that would involve a little less planning like making posts about a sports team. What is your local sports scene? How do they typically perform? And will they make it to the playoffs where you as a local brand can support them with some sort of content? These are simple pieces of content that you can immediately start placing on your calendar that will be easy and relevant to your audience.
  • 7. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 6 Connecting St. Louis STEP 5) Determine your posting frequency. You need to determine your posting frequency for your brand-specific content. This is the content that's purely based on your brand and will be the bulk of your essential content. One thing to think about when you're setting up your frequency is what is sustainable for you. You must not get overly ambitious. In the beginning, it is much easier to increase the frequency rate than it is to have to try to decrease it. We’ve found that if you get out of the habit and miss one of your postings, it might derail the rest of your posting frequency because you become discouraged.  It doesn’t matter if you choose to do 20 posts a week or just one post a week. What you need to do is figure out what your audience wants and what makes sense to your business. If you can only do one post a month, do one post a month. If you have a team that can publish one post a day because you have the content, then publish one post a day. Again, do what makes sense for you and your business.
  • 8. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 7 Connecting St. Louis If you’re looking for recommendations, try to aim for at least one post a week. This would ensure that as someone is looking at your content, they will see that it is actively managed and not a dead account. If they look at your platform and don’t see anything new for months, they may start questioning whether you are still in business. STEP 6) Determine how much content of each content pillar you want. So now is when you need to start looking at your content pillars and your brand messaging. You will likely find that you have various topics or subtopics that you can talk about within that. For each pillar you will need to figure out how much content you want to create and post about. For example, if you are a plumber in St. Louis that does commercial and residential plumbing, how much of each do you want to talk about? If the majority of your business is commercial, maybe you need to devote more to commercial topics. If the majority of your business is residential, perhaps it’s more residential topics. Think about that and figure out where the split is, and then go with that. However, always know that with anything you create, things can change down the road. And we'll go over that a little bit later in this document.
  • 9. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 8 Connecting St. Louis STEP 7) Brainstorm and place content where it should go on your calendar. So you've determined how much content and what the breakdown is of your material. Now you can start thinking about what your content will be. And this is something that is going to be a combination of just brainstorming, writing down, or whiteboarding the different content ideas so that you can then start listing it out and putting it onto whatever your calendar program is. This doesn't have to be the actual fleshed-out pieces of content. It's just the ideas. Start by writing down as many ideas as you can and then worry about where it's going and what placement is, or when it needs to be produced. STEP 8) Review the content ideas. So now it's time to go back and look at all the ideas you came up with. Figure out which ones are quick and easy to create and which ones will take more time.
  • 10. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 9 Connecting St. Louis And then plan accordingly. If you have a video idea, that's probably going to take longer than a text-only post that you can put out on your social media channels. Look at your list of ideas, be honest with yourself, figure out what ideas need more time to develop and which ideas need to be scratched altogether. Again, go back to the holidays, or the more timely post topics, and those will likely need to be a priority for you. STEP 9) Create/review/ nalize your content. This is when you finally start creating that content. You've brainstormed it; you’ve reviewed it. Now it's time to create it. And this is where you need to figure out who is going to create it. Can you do it in-house? Do you need to outsource? How do you need to create this content? Where are your assets? Then you start creating it, reviewing it, and finalizing the content. One thing to know is that all the content doesn't need to be done at once. Just make sure you spread it out so that it makes sense based on your calendar. This is why you need to have it all written down and planned out by this point. Have it all timed out to hit the deadlines that you've set in your content calendar.
  • 11. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 10 Connecting St. Louis STEP 10) Schedule your content. This is when you schedule your finalized content. Now, we haven't talked about this earlier that much but the benefit of having a content calendar is that you can think about it, create the content, and then schedule the content out for many weeks in the future. A lot of content for a lot of businesses doesn't need to be timely. What we mean by timely is that it doesn't need to apply either to a specific day of the month, time of the year, or even anything - it is evergreen, as in it will always work. Holiday images, sports images, or sports stuff is going to be timely and need to correspond with specific dates/events. But going back to our plumber example, a blog post about “The five ways to unclog your toilet,” doesn't need to have a specific time to go out. It can be posted anytime and will give you the flexibility to schedule it far in advance once you have it done.
  • 12. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 11 Connecting St. Louis All that to say, make sure that your company has excellent social media management software. There are many out there, and they greatly range in cost. You can go with something simple, like Buffer ( ) that has a plan that is only a couple bucks a month or you can go complex such as Hootsuite ( ) or Sprout Social ( ) or others that give you additional flexibility and provide extra tools https://buffer.com/ https://hootsuite.com/ https://sproutsocial.com/ All goes back to what you need, how many social media platforms you have, and how many people need to access it. But the main thing is you need the ability to schedule content out ahead of time so you won't have to manually publish a social media post at 12:30 in the afternoon. Instead, you can schedule it weeks in advance to go out on a certain Tuesday at 5 pm. And after it is scheduled, you won't have to touch it. Again, this goes back to the idea of bulking your work together to get more of it done at once instead of having to spread it out and forcing you to do a lot of work at a bunch of different times.
  • 13. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 12 Connecting St. Louis Pretty much, you need to repeat steps 7 through 10 as often as necessary to keep your content calendar up to date. How far in advance you need to create your content calendar is up to you, your business, and how timely things need to be. If you're a business that almost nothing is timely, I recommend trying to create a content calendar as far as possible while sprinkling in some appropriate content as situations come up. But if your business is very timely, then do as much as you can that makes sense as far in advance as possible, but know that you might have to update it more frequently. Doing this will help keep your marketing at a manageable level and off your daily plate while allowing you to do a better job overall. All this to say, is if this content you're producing and putting out is something you can schedule ahead, will still need to be managing and interacting daily, as people comment, share, like, or post on your social media content. Social media is meant to be social. You should be engaging with people. If you're just putting stuff out there without engaging with people, you will miss opportunities. STEP 11) Repeat steps 7-10 as often as needed.
  • 14. Designing A Marketing Calendar Page 13 Connecting St. Louis In conclusion, this is how you can put together a successful content calendar for your business that will work well for your business. We hope that this is beneficial. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. Conclusion: