The Best Content Calendar Software
Great content calendar tools should make it easy to plan your content campaigns. What should a content calendar provide?
- Content Calendar
- Create a content plan
- Define your Content Marketing Campaigns
- Build out your content briefs
- Define your supporting social media tactics
- Build out your social channel briefs
With the content calendar tool planning campaigns and tactics is very simple
- Plan all content campaigns and tactics in one place
- Each team member participates by entering their portion of the content plan
- Content calendar software displays the whole plan for the campaign
Setting up content briefs for campaigns and social channels with workflows for review and approval
- Content briefs are specific to campaign or social channels
- Status controls workflow and access
- Notify on changes
Linking all supporting tactics to content campaigns
- Search and link all content campaigns to social media tactics
- View all linked content tactics for a content campaign
A content campaign calendar outlines all supporting initiatives across time
- Understand which initiatives are supporting the content campaign
- When the content initiatives are active
- Message alignment across all social media channels
Content calendar software provides marketing teams with a planning tool to define their marketing strategy and share with different stakeholders within the organization. The content calendar tool personalizes views of the marketing plan addressing needs for all team members. Content calendar and planning software is essential to help align different marketing teams to the marketing strategy and plan defined by the CMO and senior marketing leadership. Through defining the marketing strategy and planning marketing campaigns in the content calendar tool allows the CMO to lay out the top-level marketing strategy. Marketing team members can then start building their marketing plan to support the strategy laid out in the content calendar software tool.
Most marketing teams use content calendar software to visualize their marketing plan. However the function of that software is not just to visualize your marketing plan but instead to use it as your starting point to build your marketing plan. A good content calendar tool should provide you with several inputs to build your marketing plan. These include your historical plan, creative and performance of campaigns and tactics executed. It should also provide you visibility of the business strategy and focus for the 3 or 1 year which include business growth and targets. Once you have access to these elements, you can start defining your marketing strategy and plan to align with your businesses growth strategy in the content calendar tool.
Content calendar software allows all stakeholders to plan and view their marketing plan in one place. Rather than creating plans in different excel files or other tools, it allows all team members to build their plan in one place. Team members work concurrently in building their marketing plan in the online content calendar tool and permissions are structured around allowing team members to manage their portions of the marketing plan. For example a team member in charge of building the email content calendar will be allowed to build the plan for the email marketing channel while a team member in charge of building the social media plan will build their social media calendar in the same content calendar. This produces a holistic and consolidated marketing plan outlining the strategy, tactics and all initiatives in one place.
This is a very common question as marketing operations teams try to evaluate which tools they need to invest in to help their operations. Content calendar software helps your CMO align their marketing strategy with execution. It is with this content calendar tool that your marketing operations will be able to execute consistently against a plan and strategy defined by your CMO. The biggest challenges most large marketing teams face are understanding whether their messaging is aligned with the strategy, are we over marketing or under marketing to a particular customer segment, how effective were the campaigns we executed and are we investing in the right marketing channels to deliver our message to our customer. Content calendar software answers all these questions and provides continuous improvement in your planning cycles ensuring the marketing budget is invested in channels that yield the best return on investment.
Yes, content calendar software is used to define a holistic marketing plan which would include targeted and national initiatives. Through defining customer segments, regions or demographics within your marketing plan in your content calendar software, every initiative will be tagged with their target market. Content calendar software then allows the marketing team to filter plan based on the target market. So with a content calendar tool it is very easy for marketing teams to filter the entire marketing plan and determine which marketing campaigns and initiatives are designed to target a certain market.
Yes, one of the key benefits of content calendar software is to have marketing teams build out marketing plans for product launches or new upgrades/releases of a product. Typically a product release plan will be defined in the content calendar software and the marketing strategy team will define the campaigns for the launch. Once the campaigns are defined, each marketing channel manager can outline how they will be supporting the campaigns to align their execution with the product launch. Regardless of whether you have a B2B or B2C business, content calendar software will allow you to build your marketing plan based on your product strategy and your target market.
This is always a question marketing operations managers ask themselves. The answer to this question however is what challenges are you facing and how big is your marketing team? If you have a small marketing team, a content calendar tool may not be the right answer and maybe you can handle all your work with excel. Where it becomes a necessity is when you have a larger marketing team that you need to keep aligned on the strategy or in a situation where you have marketing plans for different departments residing in different excel files and you need to constantly combine them to verify that the departments are executing according to the priorities outlined within your marketing strategy. Also if you are having a challenge implementing a planning process for your marketing team, the best way to address it is to implement the content calendar software to help drive the planning process for all your team.
No, content calendar software is a planning tool that ensures the marketing department is first building a plan before they even consider launching projects to produce or execute. This is why content calendar software is used to first build your strategy and plan, once the plan is approved which would include all the campaigns and initiatives, the plan is then entered into a project management tool for production and execution. Content calendar software should be the starting point for building your marketing plan. If you start your planning in a project management tool and do not use a content calendar tool to build your plan, there is a high probability that your channel execution and strategy are misaligned.
Content calendar software that is used for planning and not just providing a visual of your project plan needs to provide more than just a standard viewing features.
- Build your forward plan out several months and years
- Needs to align with your fiscal year so you’re looking at a plan that is aligned with targets and results
- Configured for your business, so the content calendar tool needs to be flexible so it reflects your business that would include brands, products, regions, marketing channels
- Filter plan by channels, markets, customer segments or any other tags you need
- Support multiple views for different roles within the organization
- Support marketing briefs with different sets of fields
- Permissions providing access to view or manage the marketing plan
- Facilitate discussion forum for planned initiatives
- Historical archive of marketing plan providing tools to compare current plan with historical execution
- Support marketing budget allowing a full planning process
- Incorporate KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to demonstrate effectiveness of campaign or plan
- Allow to attach or link to creative elements for planned and historical initiatives