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Sep 19, 2020

Why You Need a Content Planner

By Jared Chuah

In this blog, I’m going to go over why you MUST have a marketing content calendar for your marketing strategy.

What is a content planner?
A content calendar is a spreadsheet that helps you organise your marketing content. It ensures that all marketing efforts are working towards the same end goal, so make sure it’s easily accessible for your whole team.

Remember, you don’t need to make it complicated. It is best to keep it simple. Google Sheets is a great place to keep your calendar because it allows multiple people to access it and update it in real-time. In fact, a well-maintained content calendar allows marketers to view all campaigns at a glance and create an all-encompassing plan of action for coordinated execution.

Why do you need to have a Content Calendar?

Allows you to save time by creating a Game Plan

How many times have you tried relying on your memory to get a task done, and end up completely forgetting about it until it’s too late? A content calendar allows you to plan ahead, batch your work, and avoid the sinking feeling of an approaching deadline with no work to show for it (like that time when your mum asked you to defrost the chicken in the morning. You hear your mum’s car pulling up in the garage in the afternoon and you frantically rush to the kitchen to run the frozen chicken under boiling water).

Helps you remember key dates
Before you started your own brand, you probably only had to remember a handful of dates. Your anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and your partner’s birthday. But now, there seems to be all sorts of special holidays. Afterpay Day? Singles Day? Star Wars Day??? Well, having to memorise key dates around the world certainly wasn’t why you decided to start your own brand. Your content calendar, which is planned at least a month in advance, will inform you about these holidays in time to prepare blogs, social media, and promo posts and stay ahead of the curve.

Keeps you and your colleagues working towards the same goal
No matter how big or small your brand is, a content calendar is a great resource to keep all teams working on the same page. Your content marketers will be able to plan what posts go out on which platform and when. Designers will be able to see which posts require their attention and work with your copywriters to get the post ready in advance. From there, your email marketing team can see this and start planning the email strategy around a special event, like a new collection release or a special holiday. If you have a smaller team, or you are running your brand as a solopreneur, a content planner will still be extremely helpful for you to ensure you don’t miss any social channels.

Marketing Content Calendar Walkthrough
So, let’s jump right into the content planner that we have set up for our clients. As you can see, the content calendar is split into 4 sections: the dates as any calendar would show, the social channels- the social platforms you are planning for, email – because we are Email Experts and we care a lot about email, and the website – if you have any website updates or any new blog posts.

At Email Experts, not only do we regularly access this planner, we also share this with our clients and their team. This includes their in-house staff, development team, social media team, sales staff and anyone else that needs access to this information. They all have access to this planner so everyone is working off this one document.

We have set up this calendar for the next 12 months from September 2020 to September 2021. We also have a sheet for some key dates and special holidays. Because we are based in Melbourne, Australia, most of the dates here are based on Australian dates but feel free to change and edit them for your country and region.

Let’s go through an example. Father’s Day was on the 5th of September. As you can see, the client’s social media team was planning different social media posts for different times in the week and the email team was planning out which email campaigns to send out to which audience. So everything was planned and mapped out on this content calendar. Also, these weren’t planned last minute in September. Because everyone consistently used the planner, these events were planned way back in July.

One thing to note when working on a content calendar is you don’t need to plan it in detail. Start by jotting down key events ahead of time, then as they approach, put in the effort to make them more precise. What matters the most is to get them pencilled in. It’s best to keep it simple.

As time passes, instead of letting past months congest your calendar, what you can do is just highlight the rows and hide the entire month. Hiding the months is much better than deleting them in case you want to refer to them again in the future.

We have made a template of this content calendar for you to get started. Just make a copy for your brand and you’re good to go! Feel free to edit this planner as you wish. If you have more social media channels, for example, Snapchat, then feel free to add it in. If you want to remove some, feel free to do so as well.

Last but not least, remember to keep it simple! Even big brands can really benefit from using a content calendar. Many companies overthink this component. It is meant to be simple, just start jotting things down and once you get into the habit of using a content calendar, you’ll ask yourself why you haven’t started using one sooner.

So there you go. Why you need a content planner, especially with Black Friday Cyber Monday fast approaching.

Check out our YouTube channel, where we have tutorials on how to build up your email marketing. Please subscribe to be notified when future content is released.

Author: Jared Chuah is an email implementation specialist at Email Experts. He has developed and implemented email strategies for iconic Australian brands, including Bulk Nutrients, Riot Art & Craft, Erstwilder and many more.