10 Steps to Kick Start Your 2013 Marketing Calendar

12/21/2012 – It’s the End of World As We Know It

According the Mayan calendar, today, December 21, 2012, is the end of the world. REM sang about it. (And they feel fine and so should you!)

Because it’s not really the end of the world, it’s only the end of the Mayan calendar.

This is the perfect time to kick start your 2013 marketing calendar. Here are ten steps to get your calendar on track.

1. Know your target audience(s). Describe your audience so that you can better understand them and convey the information needed to your marketing, content creation and social media teams.

2. Determine your calendar and seasonality including holidays. The most obvious choice is to use a January through December year. In the US, many retail businesses go from February through January to ensure that they can offset their Christmas returns. While many businesses think in terms of major holidays such as New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, consider what holidays and events matter to your audience.

3. Include major trade events. This includes conferences and other activities in which your organization participates. Among the factors to document are:

  • Event names and dates.
  • Participation by your organization (such as having a booth in the exhibit hall, giving a presentation, advertising in related catalogs and attending the show)
  • Related content and marketing required.
  • Employees involved.

4. Develop promotional events. Often these are annual occurrences since once they’re integrated into your budget, you’ll need to create a driving event to keep your sales on a par or better than the prior year. At a minimum, use 2012 as the basis for 2013. A good rule of thumb is to have one promotion a month to keep your sales flowing.

5. Schedule major content efforts. These are major pieces of content such as conferences, talks, webinars and ebooks that can encompass smaller related content such blog posts and third party articles. If you don’t have anything upon which to base your planning, start with four major efforts, one per quarter.

6. Plan regular marketing communications. This depends on your business. It can include your catalogs, emailings, blog posts, annual report and the like. This includes both content marketing and promotional communications. When creating your plan, consider all of your communication recipients including prospects, customers, former customers, investors and employees. At a minimum, communicate at least once a month, although once every two weeks or once a week is better. You want to stay top of mind and not be forgotten or, worse, considered spam.

7. Outline content needed for third party entities. This encompasses presentations, webinars, conferences and guest articles and blog posts. Consider who will write this content and how it will be incorporated into your plans.

8. Incorporate regular social media engagement. This takes two forms: Select content, either original or curated, to share on social media. And, allocate resources needed to engage on appropriate social media platforms. Let your audience know when you’re going to be available. Your business should be posting daily Monday through Friday.

9. Integrate all of these activities into one content calendar. The goal is to get a comprehensive view of the content that’s needed and who will produce it on a timely calendar. Here’s more detail on creating an editorial calendar and how to create a Cliff Notes version of an editorial calendar.

10. Assign resources to ensure that your marketing remains on track. Once you’ve all of the content and promotions defined, it’s critical to get the resources to create the highest quality content you can. If it’s part of people’s job, make sure that it’s incorporated into their job descriptions and not something they do when they have time. Here’s how to create your content marketing team.

To get you in the spirit, here’s REM’s ode, It’s the End of the World As We Know It.

What else would you add to this list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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