4 Steps to Launching a One Year Marketing Calendar

Full of ideas without a plan. Does that describe you today? Back in June of this year I was overwhelmed with opportunity. I had so many ideas I wanted to execute on and had no idea where I should spend my time.

I was wrestling with:

  • What should I work on first?
  • Do I have the capacity to work on several ideas at once?
  • If I have to choose, which of my ideas do I put on the shelf for later?
  • How do I space out my ideas as to not overwhelm myself or my audience?

Then, one magical day in June, my wife said, “Sounds like you need a year long calendar so you can schedule all these ideas.” That led me to creating a one year marketing calendar. This is a project I’d encourage every single blogger to tackle.

A one year marketing calendar will:

  • Allow you to focus on one thing at a time
  • Allow you to mentally forget a few ideas until the appointed time
  • Help you to set a realistic plan of action (calendar doesn’t lie)
  • Give you a one year track to run on
  • Help you to say no to other opportunities that don’t fit in your calendar
  • Help you to say yes to opportunities by seeing spaces in your calendar

The 4 Step Plan to Launching a One Year Marketing Calendar

Maybe you are convinced that you need this kind of clarity, but not sure where to start. Here is a four step plan you can implement over a weekend.

Bonus Content: Want this 4 step plan in a handy checklist you can print off? Click here to grab the checklist!


 

Step 1: Get a 12 Month Visual Calendar

Use your creativity here. The only requirement is to make it visual. When it is out of sight, it is out of mind. I simply went to CalendarLabs.com and printed off the next twelve months. From there, I found a space in my home office and I displayed all twelve months where I could view it every day (see pic). how to create a marketing calendar

Step 2: Color Code Your Brands, Product Launches, and Events

The next step for me was to begin color coding my ideas. This will help you to be able to visualize the different types of projects you have on your calendar. I purchased a few packs of self stick markers so that I could move them around if needed. A few things you should assign a color might be:

  • Product launches – I see each product launch as its own brand so for me I assign each their own color.
  • Group coaching – A few times a year I do group coaching. This helps me to see what nights I have available to do them.
  • Membership site events – Inside of Blogging Your Passion University we hold two live events each month. One is our Fast Track Class and the other is a live Office Hours Session. I use a single color for anything related to our membership site.
  • Free webinars – I enjoy hosting monthly, free webinars. I’m a teacher at heart and love to share in these environments. I have a single color for all the free webinars on my calendar.
  • Book launches – I’m working on two books at the moment and so I’ve set deadlines for when I’d like to release them in the next year.
  • Events/Keynotes – I also have a single color dedicated to any events I’ll be attending or keynotes I’ll be delivering.

how to create a product launch calendar

Step 3: Space Out Your Ideas and Amplify Your Focus

What do you want to complete first? Start placing your ideas on the calendar. Just choose a logical order, you can always adjust later. Also, be sure to create a buffer between ideas. We often underestimate how much work is involved in completing a project.

Be willing to say no when things don’t make sense. For example, my original idea was to host two free webinars each month. Once I began plotting ideas on the calendar I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I just didn’t have enough free time on my calendar.

visual marketing calendar template

Step 4: Always Stay 6 Months Ahead

The last step is a tip to help you manage your calendar moving forward. Don’t wait until you complete your twelve months of projects to add to your calendar. I’d recommend you always stay six months ahead. In other words, once you are six months in to your marketing calendar, begin planning the future six months in advance. This way you’ll always have a twelve month calendar to work from.

Question: What ideas do you have for a 12 month marketing calendar?

 


Bonus Content: I've created a handy PDF checklist you can print off when creating your marketing calendar. Click here to grab the checklist

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ Jackie Bledsoe, Jr.

      This is great!! I started to do something similar to this last month, but I only planned my blog posts for the next two months. But I have so many other projects, ideas, launches, etc.
      I’m setting this up this week. Thanks, Jonathan!

      • http://bloggingyourpassion.com/ Jonathan Milligan

        Awesome Jackie. Please take a pic and share it with me once you get yours set up. I’m telling you this simple exercise has moved my ideas from wishes to plans. My marketing calendar is my boss!

        • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ Jackie Bledsoe, Jr.

          Love it! I will definitely share when mine is done.

    • http://takisathanassiou.com/ Takis Athanassiou

      Excellent post Jonathan. I think that add events and ideas in a calendar is OK for scheduling and prioritizing. But you also need a system to incorporate this procedures to your overall personal and business tasks.

      • http://bloggingyourpassion.com/ Jonathan Milligan

        Excellent point!

        • http://takisathanassiou.com/ Takis Athanassiou

          Thank you Jonathan. And thank you for your inspiring and information posts!

    • mary

      Excellent post… as an idea person it is easy to have a problem with too many ideas… and then you find yourself flitting from one idea to another one.

      • http://bloggingyourpassion.com/ Jonathan Milligan

        That has been a big problem for me. Having my ideas plotted on a calendar allows me to focus on one idea at a time.

    • margotholloman

      I loved this idea and Printed different color red blue green for different seasons of the year to keep in mind some of the season of my plans….. Like planning for your webinar getting ready for Christmas might be in the 4th quarter of months all printed in red.

      • http://bloggingyourpassion.com/ Jonathan Milligan

        Color coding a calendar can be a great visual reminder.

    • http://www.richalcantara.com Rich Alcantara

      Awesome post! I was thinking of doing something like this but hadn’t hashed out my idea fully. This definitely helps! I think I will have a pretty busy 2015 with a few launches.

      • http://bloggingyourpassion.com/ Jonathan Milligan

        Great to hear Rich. Let me know how it all turns out for you.

    • http://www.thegirlsgotballs.club michellerichard

      I love this approach. My calendar is currently in a spreadsheet, but you’re absolutely right. It gets forgotten because I don’t see it every single day. I am moving everything from the spreadsheet to a visual wall calendar TODAY. Thank you so much for the idea, Jonathan! Hope you had a safe, uneventful trip home from the Platform Conference. 🙂

      • http://bloggingyourpassion.com/ Jonathan Milligan

        Hey Michelle! it was great to connect with you at the Platform Conference. You’re a go-getter so I have no doubt that marketing calendar will get done fast. I can’t tell you what this calendar has done for my focus! Wishing you the best!

        • http://www.thegirlsgotballs.club michellerichard

          Thanks for the encouragement, Jonathan! I’m definitely making progress – the calendar is taped on my basement wall now and I’m starting to add specific items.

          • http://www.thegirlsgotballs.club michellerichard

            Here is a picture!

            • http://www.thegirlsgotballs.club michellerichard

              Here is the picture!

            • http://bloggingyourpassion.com/ Jonathan Milligan

              Awesome! This is looking good! Once you get it all out of your head and on to the calendar, begin to think in terms of 90 day goals. This helps me get stuff done. You are doing great!