How to Build an Awesome Content Marketing Calendar
The key to building an awesome marketing calendar is to create one that works for you and your team. If you’re interested in finding out how to build an awesome content calendar for fashion, apparel, shoes and accessories e-commerce brands, read on!
Benefits of a marketing calendar
Consistent themes across channels
Having everything in one place helps you incorporate the same theme across channels. You can easily see what products you’re featuring on promotional emails, your website, on mobile and social media posts. The creatives for each can also be uploaded and reviewed.
Saves time by being visual
Being able to see your marketing plans means it is more easily understood by all stakeholders. Having a plan means you have something to communicate across the whole organization, improving the transparency of a marketing plan across the company.
Compare to previous years
Having a calendar for each year makes for better planning and reporting. You can see what you did for the same event last year and compare results. If something in particular performed well, you might want to replicate the campaign. On the contrary, if results were poor, you will know what didn’t work and avoid making the same mistake again.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use calendar, Plannista works with analytics tools such as Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics and Heap and workflow tools like Asana, Podio and Basecamp. You can view your campaign performance right on your calendar!
Remember, the end goal of your marketing calendar is to help you coordinate all your marketing efforts in a way that is visual and organized.
So how do you build an awesome content marketing calendar? We’ve broken the process down into 5 understandable steps. You should begin these steps 2-3 months in advance of the month being planned.
5 Top Tips To Build An Awesome E-commerce Content Marketing Calendar
The starting Point
Firstly, understand your current collection, inventory positioning, key products and objectives for the month being planned (revenue, sales, omni-channel strategy). Marketers must talk to cross-functional teams to understand what the key products are and when is the best time to promote them.
Next, look at what you did last year as a refresher. Your analytics tool will help you understand the results of each one of the events on last year’s content calendar. What worked and what didn’t? How can you apply the learnings to this year?
Look at your other e-commerce only objectives. Where are you struggling? Is it with acquisition or conversion? Then decide accordingly where to focus. Brainstorm possible A/B tests you can carry out to improve the area of focus. It is very important to determine how the success of each test will be measured. Decide on the main KPIs that will determine success. People planning the tests should understand the business impact of their tests. Always keep the brand’s objectives in mind.
Seek inspiration for your content. See what other brands in your sector are doing. If they all put sweaters in first week of December then you could be missing out on potential revenue. Look at your competitors. What are they doing? What do you like that could work for you? Plannista’s Time Machine is a good starting point. With emails and homepages from 600+ brands, there is a lot of creative inspiration and ideas. If you have a specific competitor in mind, you can search by brand on Plannista. Try it for free now.
2. Fill in the blanks
Based on your findings in the previous steps, look at each calendar month and fill in the blanks. Start with high level plans.
Place stories on a weekly basis. For example, your brand has decided that Nov 1-7 will be the week of boots. You will want this theme to be visible across channels. Also, align specific big events across channels at the same time. For example, if you’re going to have a 2-day sale, announce it across the board. Stick with consistent messaging for your customers.
Find out what exactly worked per channel and then make sure that the high level strategy is still coherent. If you are looking at email, was it the subject line that worked? the offer? the products? It is important to pick the right timing and day of the week to send emails. Which days of the week have great open and click rates?
If sweaters killed it last year on a certain date during boots week should you still promote sweaters on the same day? All these factors play a part in deciding when and where to push content. Once your plan is complete, it is a good idea to show it and discuss it with cross functional teams to get their buy in.
Always ensure everyone is communicating with each other. Once you have decided on the high level emails, campaign and content, go into more detail. Plan the specifics and talk to the creative team about designs.
3. Keep your eyes open
Now that you’re at a stage where you have a visible content calendar, it doesn’t mean it’s done and dusted.
The market can change, and fast. Retail is never constant. Look at the overall feel of the market, customer feedback as well as in-house objectives. Be proactive in researching trends and changes and continually optimize your strategy.
4. Follow these best practices
Everyone should always be working on the latest information. Every marketer knows how important communication is. With many people across teams working together on producing marketing content, there is a need for real-time updates. Imagine what a nightmare it will be if everyone is working on a different version of the same calendar!
Set up processes or use a project management tool such as Asana or Basecamp. Listen to your team and get their feedback to continue to improve processes. You will need this for the management of assets and image validation (approve/revise/approve/revise/approve to execute the marketing plan).
5. Avoid these mistakes
We’ve talked about what to do but how about what NOT to do.
Not segmenting emails. If you don’t know who in the customer base each email is going out to, your marketing efforts are most likely not bringing in the best ROI. Each brand has their own way of segmenting customers. You can do it by purchase history, level of email activity, age, location… the list goes on. The bottom line is: segment.
Each email should be directed toward a certain audience for a reason. For example, you would send a re-engagement email to inactive subscribers on your email list but not to active ones. If you don’t segment your emails, you’re missing out on acquisition and retention.
Repeating exactly what you did last year, without considering impacts on margins, traffic flow and changes in the market. This is a recipe for disaster. We talked about keeping your eyes open for changes in the market and looking at your analytics. Stick to it. Do it consistently.
Overlooking holiday shifts. For example, Easter shifts by day and this could impact marketing and results. This ties in with the point above. Don’t always repeat what you did last year. Look for any changes.
With these 5 top tips in hand, you are now ready to build an awesome content marketing calendar. Remember, don’t just do reactive business, be proactive and plan in advance.
Many people use a combination of tools to manage their marketing efforts. For example, spreadsheets, Google Calendar, word documents...the list goes on. But these tools were not built for marketers!
Plannista solves this problem. With a calendar and resource library that integrates with analytics and workflow tools, it’s the tool your marketing team needs. Plan, get ideas, analyze and organize easily. Try for free now.
By: Tara Diong