Have you ever wondered how certain bloggers are able to work on creative marketing projects all year long? Who has the time?! Guaranteed, those bloggers built out their very own marketing calendars that literally outlined their blogging efforts for the entire year. Brands and retailers have been doing it for years and it's a smart marketing tactic for the long-term.
Sounds intense, right? Let me assure you, it's not. By starting now you can make 2013 the year that you engage with your readers, boost your social media numbers, and finally work with that brand you've been dreaming about.
Why should you build a marketing calendar for your blog?
- You will identify important holidays that you want to highlight in your social media content or pitching efforts
- You will determine which seasons are the most important to your blog's marketing efforts and help you prioritize
- You will be able to make the necessary small steps that will help you achieve your bigger marketing objectives
- You can better manage your time on the projects that matter most to you.
How can you build a marketing calendar?
Grab a whiteboard or pen/paper. List out all of the months of the year. Put a star next to February and September (fashion week!) and then identify which holidays and seasons you'd like to spotlight on your blog. Once you break down the year, you will get a better sense of how much time/effort your marketing efforts may need.
Then, plot out your time according to each holiday and season. For instance, if you want to do a big Christmas/holiday season push, you will need at least two weeks to plan and develop your campaign and then time to execute your plan. So, realistically, you may need to start working on your holiday marketing projects in early-to-mid October.
Select the times of the year that are the most beneficial to you in terms of money and traffic. Think like your reader. What kind of content would I want to read on social media and newsletters during the summer? Winter? You literally want to jump into the mind of your reader and anticipate the content they will want to consume and share.
Now after a little brainstorming, it's time to get working. Start thinking about the assets you will need to execute your marketing projects. Photos, copy for newsletters, graphic design work, editorial content for posts. These all take time to brainstorm and create, especially if you are working with a brand who has to send you key items like products to review or logos to include. Always give the brand more time to fulfill their part of the project or campaign. Waiting to the last minute in marketing only makes for more work for you.
Once you've got a basic timeline and list of assets, you are ready to go. Again, this all sounds like a lot of work but if you break it down into smaller steps, it will be less intimidating and you won't be stressed at the last minute. Just remember: always think about what your readers want and how you can fulfill that need.
Anticipating their reading habits is the smartest thing a blogger could, especially during a big marketing season like the holidays.