Great marketing is all about maintaining a relationship and creating a two-way dialogue with customers. This is especially true when it comes to staying in front of customers and prospects during the events we’ve experienced the past few years. With an effective 2023 marketing calendar, you can create compelling content that cuts through the noise.

By creating opportunities for connection and conversation, you can position yourself as a trusted authority, earn upsell and referral opportunities with existing customers, and track marketing costs and results. To accomplish these goals, it’s essential to plan your marketing ahead of time.

Get ready! We’re going to walk you through keeping your messaging organized, consistent, and meaningful to your audience. Keep reading for step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Create Your Marketing Calendar Template

By developing a marketing calendar template, you can create a simple and repeatable processes for your marketing. Streamline, baby! Here’s how.

Create rows (top to bottom) for your social media, email marketing, videos, blogs, podcasts, and more. Organize columns (left to right) by topics, due dates, responsible team members, and publishing dates. It might look something like this:

2023 marketing calendar template

Then, make three copies of the template so that you can plan for three months in advance (for example, Jan, Feb, Mar). Planning your marketing by the quarter gives you plenty of runway to adjust for any potential changes, announce industry news, promote events, or share exciting announcements.

Step 2: Note Key Dates and Observances

In your 2023 marketing calendar template, start by noting important dates that your marketing channels should acknowledge. Key marketing dates and observances might include:

  • National Holidays
  • Relevant Observances (Earth Day, International Women’s Day, Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, etc. – you get the idea)
  • Key milestones and sales events (Employee anniversaries, Black Friday)
  • Industry Events (tradeshows, significant developments, etc.)

Making a note of known events helps ensure that nothing is overlooked and that you can create excitement around those events. It also helps your profile show up in results and generate engagement with consumers looking for posts about industry events or observances. Be sure to research and use related hashtags.

Step 3: Use Ongoing Themes You Can Rely On

Social media is notorious for how much new and engaging content it demands. The lifespan of an Instagram post is 48 hours, on Facebook, it’s 6 hours, and on Twitter, it’s as short as 18 minutes. It’s essential to be consistent.

A simple way to create content consistently is to choose a few content themes or categories to rely on. By choosing a few ongoing themes, you can simplify your process.

For example, common themes that we see on social media include:

  • Monday Motivation
  • Tuesday Tips
  • Welcome Wednesday
  • Throwback Thursdays
  • Team Introductions
  • Behind the Scenes

Feel free to get creative and create themes that relate to your business. For example, you might choose to do “Behind the Scenes Wednesdays” to give a sneak peek at how you do business. You could also do “Thought Leadership Thursdays,” where you speak on a specific industry topic. Do your research to see if there are theme days or hashtags for your industry like #bakerylife to capitalize on.

These themes help bulk out your marketing calendar with content that’s fun, interesting, and easy to create.

Step 4: Plan What to Say and Where

By planning out your marketing, you can be strategic about sharing and repurposing content. For example, you might create YouTube videos and have them transcribed for your blog. Or, if you’re launching a product, you might choose to focus on Tik Tok or Instagram since it’s a visual platform. Then you can reshare the post to Facebook. If you’re promoting a professional event, you might want to create a blog to promote it on your website, then reshare the blog to LinkedIn and send it to your email list.

Regardless of which platforms you’re on, this calendar can help you plan to promote sales and events across several channels.

Step 5: Fill in Additional Details

Once you have your key concepts, themes, and events laid out, it’s time to add details. It may seem daunting, but by blocking off an afternoon on your calendar and front-loading the work now, you ensure that your marketing will be completed flawlessly later. You can always take breaks – we go dark on social around the holidays because we work with clients well ahead of the end of the year. But, I cannot overstate enough the importance of working ahead to avoid unintentional long stretches without promoting your business.

Add details like blog titles, keywords, email subject lines, and links to third-party curated content like expert articles. These details will save time later, and if you’re handing off execution to an employee or contractor, you’re providing enough detail for them to do the job with minimal oversight later.

Step 6: Roles and Responsibilities are an Essential Piece of your 2023 Marketing Calendar

A content calendar is only helpful if you have a way to implement it. Assign different tasks and due dates to your employees or contractors to ensure that everything gets done. I’m a fan of having two due dates – an internal due date that allows for review and edits, and a final “go live” or publishing date.

This is a great system because once the plans are in place, you can use a platform like Dropbox to share this document with your team or contractors. That way, they can independently and proactively reference the marketing calendar to see what they should be working on ahead of deadlines. We’re super not into micromanaging over here.

As you continue to develop content – make sure to refer to the calendar regularly so that you don’t forget any important details or upcoming events. Select a few key performance indicators to track which content does well. When results come in, return to your content calendar and make adjustments to optimize your results continually.

One very important note: Yay for planning, scheduling, and automating with your brand spankin’ new 2023 marketing calendar! BUT ***In case of a news crisis or emergency**** be sure to pause your planned marketing and pivot your messaging. You never want to seem like you’ve unintentionally used a tragedy to promote your business (although, in this case, it seems like was indeed intentional). Read our guide on using social media for crisis communications to learn how to handle difficult news thoughtfully.

Overall, having an effective marketing calendar can help align your team, identify gaps in your communication, and gives you flexibility and space for creativity. Questions? Set up a 15-minute complimentary call to explore if working together could be right for you.