It’s a brand new year. The odds are good you recently posted a brand new 2015 calendar up on your wall. We want to help you fill it up. So we’ve put together a downloadable editorial calendar template. You can use it to plan out a full year’s worth of email marketing.
Maybe you’re a little hesitant about using an editorial calendar. Maybe it sounds like something only magazines might use. If you think that, we urge you to reconsider. Just as a magazine is a publisher, so is every email marketer. Editorial calendars work just as well for email marketers as they do for any other kind of publisher.
Here are just a few ways editorial calendars can help you with your email marketing:
An editorial calendar lets you coordinate all the different elements of your marketing
Emails are an excellent way to announce pretty much anything. Got a big product launch? Send an email. Got a new webinar? Send an email. Got a new blog post or ebook? Send an email.
With all those things to announce, and an email for each of them, it helps to have an editorial calendar to keep things straight. Especially if you have to work around one-time marketing projects like conferences or holidays.
Editorial calendars help you avoid snags in your production process
Email production can get complicated. Even if you’re a one-person shop, you’ve got a lot to do. Every email needs copywriting, design, an offer and a landing page. Then there’s the list selection, segmentation and actually scheduling the email. If you’re offering a coupon or a special promotion, you might also have to coordinate with a vendor.
A calendar can make coordinating all this much easier. Just mark your calendar with the date you want the email to go out. Then work backwards to figure out when all the other steps of the email production sequence need to happen.
With this system you can just check your calendar when you need to know something. It’s much easier than having to plan and re-plan the whole email every time something comes up. It saves a lot of headaches.
Editorial calendars let you share information with other members of your team
Want to spend less time in meetings and less time answering questions people should be able to answer themselves? Use an editorial calendar. You’ll have one central point where people can check what’s due and when it’s due. Some editorial calendar systems even let people leave notes and status updates on the calendar. That’s a nice way to minimize inter-office email and long, confusing email threads.
More organization means more productivity
The single biggest complaint from marketers I talk to? “So much to do!” Unfortunately, 2015 is not going to be the year everyone decides to slack off. Your to-do list isn’t going to get shorter any time soon.
The good news is that the more you can stay organized, the less stressed you’ll be. That translates into better productivity… and might even contribute to a bit of happiness. If we can’t reduce our to-do lists, at least we can increase the ease with which we handle them.
Those are all fine reasons to use an editorial calendar. But you may have known most of them already. It’s just that you’re not sure how to set up an editorial calendar. Or you just haven’t have time to implement one.
Download our editorial calendar template for 2015
To help you out, we’ve developed an email marketer’s editorial calendar template for 2015. We’ve included major national holidays here, plus a few offbeat holidays as well. Print the calendar out and post it where you want. Fill it in as your marketing goals dictate. And share it, too, if you’d like!
To use this editorial calendar for your email messages, we suggest you color-code the days on the calendar. Use different colors according to the steps you use to create an email message.
- Red is the day the email is sent to subscribers.
- Orange is the final day of production, when the email is tested and scheduled.
- Yellow is the final proofreading, link checking and device rendering check.
- Green is the day the copywriting and design and put together: i.e. the day the email is assembled.
- Aqua is the day any final changes to copy, design and links or landing page are due. It’s a good idea to have a buffer or “safety” day like this, just in case one of the elements due on a blue day is not quite right. With this extra catch up time you’ll have the flexibility to get a change made.
- Blue is the day all the elements of the email are due – the copy, images, links and other content (like a coupon code).
- Purple is the day you decide what the elements of the email are. You’ll decide what the copy should be about and what the graphics should look like. You’ll choose which coupons or special landing pages to include in the email.
You may not need a full day to do each of those tasks. Let’s say you can get two of those tasks done on some days, but other tasks need a full day reserved for them. Just adjust your editorial calendar accordingly.
Here’s how a sample email marketer’s editorial calendar might look:
Make sense? It actually looks pretty repetitive when there’s just one weekly email on the calendar. But what if you have to add a second weekly email, an ebook announcement or a webinar? Then things get complex enough that an editorial calendar starts to become a necessity.
Editorial calendars are even more helpful if you have to add an event, like an annual board meeting. Then all your regular email tasks will have to get pushed up by one day so you can accommodate that blackout day.
Have you already guessed what else editorial calendars can be helpful with? Vacations! Add any days your team will need off to your editorial calendar, too. That way you can be sure everyone has their work done before they say sayonara.