How to Plan a Content Marketing Calendar that Gets Sh*t Done (On Spreadsheets)

By @JackieClews

Are you a content marketer looking to show results for all of your content marketing campaigns and collaborate easily but not quite ready to take on a more sophisticated project management software?

spreadsheetWhether you’re marketing an e-commerce or a service-based business to consumers or businesses, an easy trick to try is adding the most important stats to your editorial calendar so you can plan in advance and turn your calendar into a detailed analytics report, as well.

Two great tools to use are Microsoft Excel (as long as you can share it and edit in real time on the cloud) or Google Spreadsheets, which can be viewed and edited by all collaborators in real time.

Excel isn't as scary as some of the more creative types might presume. The basic functions in Excel you really need to know to have your sheets working for you are filter, sort, and the basic math functions like sum and average so you can quickly figure out useful information like average CTR by type of content or your highest performing email in terms of sales or leads. Next, you need to know how to set up your document.

How to Organize Your Tabs

  1. To get started, create a rundown (like in TV news, for anyone who has every seen one of those) that details how the "show" is going to go down from start to finish- who's going to write or post each blog, email, social media post, and more in chronological order.
  2. Then break each platform you use out into different tabs to plan campaigns out months in advance and track the results you care about the most. (For example: An email tab, a social media tab, a blog tab, and more)
  3. Then put “Date” in the first column on every tab so it’s all organized chronologically based on sending or posting schedule.
  4. Next, decide what you want to track on each tab such as sales, leads, open rate, click through rate, unsubscribes, and number of list sent to or impressions. You should also include variants like what each campaign is in regards to and who’s producing it, so you can filter to see which type of content and which content producers are showing the best results in relation to your marketing goals. These tabs can include things like:
  • Emails
  • Social media posts
  • Blogs
  • Calls-to-Action (CTA's)
  • Landing Pages
  • Videos

Spreadsheets for Content Production

Besides planning content to send in advance and track the results of, spreadsheets are also great for collaborating with writers, designers, programmers, and other involved parties to efficiently produce work for managing different projects from website designs to social media graphics and more. For example, a project manager could create a website design spreadsheet or social media design spreadsheet with color coding to signify whose job it is and what stage each task is in, in regards to completion (TBD, missing, done). Because these projects can involve a lot of changing, detailed information from dimensions to SKUs to links, sharing an excel file that can be updated in real time can really help cut back on emails and again, make planning in advance a breeze.

After you’ve planned and sent your campaigns, be sure to go back and look at the results so you can figure out what’s working and what’s not. Good luck and may the numbers be forever in your favor!

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Posted by Jackie Connors

Jackie Connors

Jackie Connors is the Founder & CEO of Digital Marketing Direction, a top-tiered HubSpot Solutions Partner agency based in Texas. She provides inbound training, consulting, and content marketing services to mid-market companies.

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