Planning Your Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy means different things to different companies. For some businesses, we develop a strategy for digital marketing. We can also help a company develop a strategy for a successful public relations campaign. At other times, a company needs a new strategy because they are targeting a new audience.

A Communications Strategy. Most often however, when a company asks for a marketing strategy, what they really need is a communications strategy. A well-thought-out communications strategy is important to filling the sales funnel with qualified leads that turn into business.

The Editorial Calendar. I’ve written about an editorial calendar before. It’s the single most valuable tool for a company. An editorial calendar will keep everyone focused. No matter what marketing initiative is in the works, the editorial calendar keeps you on topic and consistent.

Constructing a Calendar. It’s pretty easy. The best way to do it is to bring several people together in one room for about an hour. If possible, add a marketing consultant to the mix for new ideas. Using a white board or poster-sized paper, map out the 12 months of the year. What happens to your business during those months? Do you have down times? Are there certain months that are extra busy for you? Are you going to any conferences or tradeshows during the year? If the plan is to introduce another product or service during the year, indicate that during the month it is most likely to happen. Does the company have any anniversaries coming up?

Add Topics. Start to add topics to each month. Are there certain topics that are seasonal? You may find that there is certain information that is appropriate during the cold months – or hot months. If you are going to conferences, write articles based upon the theme of the conference. If you’re giving a presentation, add an article appropriate to the presentation. Most companies can find the time to write one or two articles a month – but adding more than that is often impossible. So think of content that you can provide that may be equally as valuable – but shorter. Perhaps you can add an FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) every month. Or pass along a Tip. Quarterly you can focus on best sellers.

Informational Content Takes Priority. The rule of thumb is 90% informational content, 10% promotional. If you are constantly selling, your communications won’t be read.

When to Use the Calendar. Use the content in your calendar for every marketing initiative. Whether you are writing a blog, updating your website, posting on social media, writing letters or distributing email newsletters, use the calendar. Repurpose your content. You want to repeat the information. By sending out a newsletter with information from your blog, and posting content on the same subject throughout social media, you reinforce your message. People need to hear and/or see something several times before it sticks.

The calendar is your map for the year. With each month, you are driving home your message by educating your customers and prospects. And when the information is reinforced, your marketing sends a focused message to your audience.

Need help? We’re happy to help brainstorm with you on your communications strategy. Spending an hour with you, and an hour back in the office putting together a spreadsheet for you with ideas for the year, will make your marketing more effective. Give us a call at 301-467-2501.            

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