What’s the key to a successful marketing calendar? Planning!
While none of us could have possibly foreseen what 2020 held, we’re hopeful that 2021 will bring much more prosperity, fruitfulness, and of course, some amazing marketing.
If you don’t have your 2021 marketing calendar set and ready to execute, there’s no time like the present to get it started.
Not sure how? That’s okay.
Today we’ll tell you all about creating a successful marketing calendar for the year, inclusive of holidays, special days, and events to remember.
What is a marketing calendar?
A marketing calendar, among other things, is any marketing strategy’s saving grace. It should cover all of your marketing plans for the year. They range in complexity depending on your needs. You can purchase marketing calendars, find tools to help you create one, or use a basic spreadsheet.
Whatever your format, you should always have included things like:
- Advertising campaigns
- Holidays and important dates
- Company and industry events or trade shows
- Social media campaigns
- Email campaigns or email blasts
- Product launches
- Blog posts
- Lead magnets
- Social media ads
- Other events
Basically, your marketing calendar will display your marketing strategy for the whole year.
Not only does it detail what your marketing activities are, but it should also provide:
- Name of the project
- Go-live date
- Assignees or parties responsible for each step
- Where your deliverables are in the production stream
- All holidays, vacations, events, and financial quarters
- The results of each marketing effort upon completion
When you know that something will be relevant to your audience at a particular time of the year, you can plan accordingly.
Some examples include:
- Writing a blog post about a new product
- Sending out an email about an event
- Scheduling Facebook ads around a promo
Having the ability to look at a calendar and see exactly what’s going on in your company or industry or throughout the nation will alleviate missing out on golden opportunities.
Not sure what’s going on each month? At the bottom of this post, we’ve included holidays and observations to help you plan out your calendar.
What to think about before you create your marketing calendar
Before you dive into the nitty-gritty, ask yourself a few questions about your audience to ensure you’re providing the best possible content for them, your brand, and the search engines.
- What does my target audience (buyer persona) want, need, and like?
- What are my target audience’s interests?
- Where is my audience, and when are they there?
- How do I want my audience to interact with my content?
- What time of the year do I get the most engagement or replies to my CTA?
Understanding your audience is a key element to creating a successful marketing calendar.
Kinds of marketing calendars
What kind of marketing calendar you utilize is just as important as what goes on it. If you’re new to this, you may want to consider trying the free calendars or making one on your own, then upgrade if needed.
Here are a few to choose from:
- PDFs or print outs – these are great to help you start brainstorming out ideas to get you going, but keeping a digital version is much easier to update and keep others in the loop on changes
- Excel Spreadsheets
- Google Docs
- Google Calendars
- Outlook Calendars
- Grab a copy of our Marketing Calendar with Holidays and Hashtags
Creating your marketing calendar
Now that you have the bare bones, you can start filling it in with your company’s content schedule.
If you write weekly blog posts, fill that information in. If you have a monthly newsletter, add it.
Maybe you have quarterly email blasts? Daily social media posts? That should all be delineated. You get the idea.
Next, think about your promotions.
Do you run campaigns during the holidays? Perhaps you have VIP customers you promote to a few times a year.
Plan your strategy, and always be sure to provide enough time for proper management. No one wants to feel rushed through the marketing process. It’s stressful, and your audience may notice.
One of the best things about this process is that you’ll be able to see where gaps in your content are. This is such a great way to come up with opportunities for growth. Have a brainstorming session with your team and figure out how you can fill in those gaps with quality marketing campaigns.
How a marketing calendar helps
Yes, we’ve covered what it is and what you should have on it, but your marketing calendar does a lot for you.
Here are some of its benefits:
- Keeps you organized
- Saves you time
- Helps you maintain consistency with posting
- Keeps you on top of your deadlines
- Provides time for proper review and editing
- Keeps everybody informed of where the content is at any given time
- Shows you what’s happening during that time so you can be relevant with your content
- Allows for think-tanks or brainstorming sessions that up your content game
- Allows for better quality of content
- Allows easy access to how your content is relating to the audience or how the content performed
Depending on how you use your marketing calendar, the benefits are really limitless.
Where to start when creating your own marketing calendar
If you’re into DIY, creating your own marketing calendar that caters to all your needs may be all you need.
You won’t have all the bells and whistles that some of the paid-for calendars provide, but if you don’t need those things, why pay for them?
Grab yourself your free marketing calendar, grab your team, and do this:
- Identify your audience, and where and when to meet them with content they’ll respond to the way you intend (this may take some trial and error, as all SEO does, learning what works and what doesn’t is an ongoing process)
- Invite all parts of your marketing team to give advice, ask them what they want to see on your calendar
- We suggest leaving a space for keywords, making it a no-brainer when your team starts to create the content
- Think about repurposing content and creating evergreen content, and create a home for those items on your calendar
- Prepare to put some time and thought into this in the beginning, but know that it will pay off in the end
Planning for a year of marketing may sound intimidating at first, and we’re not here to minimize that, but once you do it, every year will get easier.
Don’t over-complicate things.
Bend the calendar to your goals, and you’ll be on top of your content all year long.
Before we part, check out the 2021 list below for all the dates you definitely want on your calendar and their hashtags.
2021 National & Global Holiday Calendar Dates with #Hashtags
January 2021 Hashtag Holidays
1. Friday, New Year’s Day #NewYearsDay
18. Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day #MLKDay
21. Thursday, Get to Know Your Customers Day #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay
24. Sunday, National Compliment Day #NationalComplimentDay
28. Thursday, Data Privacy Day #PrivacyAware
February 2021 Hashtag Holidays
2. Tuesday, Groundhog Day #GroundhogDay
7. Sunday, Super Bowl LV #SBLV
9. Tuesday, National Pizza Day #NationalPizzaDay
12. Friday, Chinese New Year #YearOfTheOx
14. Sunday, Valentine’s Day #ValentinesDay
15. Monday, Presidents’ Day #PrsdientsDay
20. Saturday, Love Your Pet Day #LoveYourPetDay
28. Sunday, Golden Globe Awards #GoldenGlobes
March 2021 Hashtag Holidays
5. Friday, National Employee Appreciation Day #EmployeeAppreciationDay
8. Monday, International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange
14. Sunday, Pi Day #PiDay
17. Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day #StPatricksDay
20. Saturday, First Day of Spring #FirstDayofSpring
April 2021 Hashtag Holidays
1. Thursday, April Fools Day #AprilFools
4. Sunday, Easter #HappyEaster
10. Saturday, National Siblings Day #NationalSiblingsDay
11. Sunday, National Pet Day #NationalPetDay
15. Thursday, Get to Know Your Customers Day #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay
16. Friday, National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day #PJDay
22. Thursday, Earth Day #EarthDay2021
May 2021 Hashtag Holidays
1. Saturday, May Day #MayDay
4. Tuesday, Star Wars Day #StarWarsDay & #Maythe4thBeWithYou
5. Wednesday, Cinco de Mayo #CincoDeMayo
6. Thursday, National Nurses Day #NursesDay
9. Sunday, Mother’s Day #MothersDay
15. Saturday, International Day of Families #FamilyDay
31. Monday, Memorial Day #MemorialDay #MDW
June 2021 Hashtag Holidays
1. Tuesday, National Say Something Nice Day #SaySomethingNice
4. Friday, National Donut Day #NationalDonutDay
8. Tuesday, Best Friends Day #BestFriendsDay
20. Sunday, First Day of Summer #SummerSolstice
20. Sunday, Father’s Day #FathersDay
21. Monday, National Selfie Day #NationalSelfieDay
30. Wednesday, Social Media Day #SMDay
July 2021 Hashtag Holidays
4. Sunday, Independence Day (United States) #4thOfJuly
7. Wednesday, World Chocolate Day #WorldChocolateDay
17. Saturday, World Emoji Day #WorldEmojiDay
24, Saturday, Tell an Old Joke Day #TellAnOldJokeDay
31. Saturday, National Mutt Day #NationalMuttDay
August 2021 Hashtag Holidays
1. Sunday, World Wide Web Day #WorldWideWebDay
8. Sunday, International Cat Day #InternationalCatDay
9. Monday, National Book Lovers Day #NationalBookLoversDay
10. Tuesday, National Lazy Day #LazyDay
16. Monday, National Tell a Joke Day #NationalTellAJokeDay
26. Thursday, National Dog Day #NationalDogDay
September 2021 Hashtag Holidays
3. Friday, National Lazy Mom’s Day #NationalLazyMomsDay
6. Monday, Labor Day #LaborDay
11. Saturday, National Day of Service and Remembrance #PatriotsDay
12. Sunday, National Video Game Day #NationalVideoGameDay
21. Tuesday, International Day of Peace #PeaceDay
22. Wednesday, First Day of Fall #FirstDayOfFall
29. Wednesday, National Coffee Day #NationalCoffeeDay
October 2021 Hashtag Holidays
1. Friday, World Smile Day #WorldSmileDay
4. Monday, National Taco Day #NationalTacoDay
13. Wednesday, National Train Your Brain Day #TrainYourBrainDay
14. Thursday, National Dessert Day #DessertDay
16. Saturday, Boss’s Day #BossesDay
31. Sunday, Halloween #Halloween
November 2021 Hashtag Holidays
1. Monday, National Authors Day #NationalAuthorsDay
7. Sunday, Daylight Saving Time ends #DaylightSaving
11. Thursday, Veterans Day #VeteransDay
16. Thursday, National Entrepreneurs Day #EntrepreneursDay
25. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day #Thanksgiving
26. Friday, Black Friday #BlackFriday
27. Saturday, Small Business Saturday #ShopSmall
28. Sunday, Hanukkah Begins #Hanukkah
29. Monday, Cyber Monday #CyberMonday
30. Tuesday, Giving Tuesday #GivingTuesday
December 2021 Hashtag Holidays
4. Saturday, National Cookie Day #NationalCookieDay
18. Saturday, Super Saturday #SuperSaturday
21. Tuesday, First Day of Winter #WinterSolstice
24. Friday, Christmas Eve #ChristmasEve
25. Saturday, Christmas Day #MerryChristmas
31. Friday, New Year’s Eve #NYE
Sources: Propel Marketing & Design, Adrimedia
The marketing calendar takeaway
Starting this organizational habit for your marketing efforts is a huge win. It gives you information that will serve you throughout the year. It does take some time to create and that can be deterring. Don’t let it be! Once you get one or two under your belt, the sky’s the limit for your marketing strategy.
Check out Propel’s 2021 Marketing Calendar so you can make this year your company’s best marketing year to date.