Have an event coming up? Need to send out multiple emails? Planning on sending out a newsletter soon? You’ve probably already thought about the content you’ll need to include in those emails, and whether you’ll need to find a place for it on your calendar. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to include in your upcoming emails, this post is for you. We’ll walk you through the process of creating a content calendar for your email marketing strategy. At the end, you’ll have a fully functional sample calendar you can use as a reference for next time you’re in need of one.
What Is an Email Marketing Content Calendar?
An email marketing content calendar is a calendar that you can use to manage the content (blog posts, news articles, eBooks, etc.) that you’ll want to include in your next email marketing campaign. The calendar is used to help you plan out the content you’ll need to include in your email campaigns, and to help you determine the best time to send those emails out.
The calendar should be used in conjunction with other marketing tools, such as a marketing automation platform (e.g., HubSpot), to create a cohesive marketing plan.
Why Should You Have an Email Marketing Content Calendar?
Having a content calendar for your email marketing strategy means you’ll have everything you need in one place. When you’re creating your calendar, you can easily add in all the content you’ll need for each email without having to search for it. You can also see at a glance the content that’s already been created and what’s remaining to be published. This allows you to easily track the progress of your content strategy and to see what needs to be done before the next email goes out.
You can use the content calendar to follow up with potential customers, partners, and other audiences that you’re trying to attract. With the content calendar in place, you’ll have everything you need to send out a polished email that will get results.
How Do I Create an Email Marketing Content Calendar?
To create an email marketing content calendar, you’ll first need to pick a template. For this example, we’ll use the popular Hustler’s Hot Holiday Gift Guide 2018 as our inspiration. This is a perfect Christmas gift guide for any guy – whether he is a gamer, a music lover, or an outdoorsman. You can download the guide in pdf format from the Hustler website. You’ll need to change a few things around to make it suitable for an email campaign:
- Remove the top-level categories (i.e., video games, cell phones, etc.)
- Rename the main category to reflect the subject of your next email campaign
- Add in some more sub-categories
- Replace the gift descriptions with the content you’ll need for the email campaign
- Format the text as a block of copy for readability
Once you have your template ready, you can start adding in the content. Be sure to add in the content that’s relevant to the target audience you’re trying to reach. You can also include other marketing materials, such as a pitch or a flyer for a holiday party you’re hosting. Keep in mind that the contents of your email need to be easily consumable. You don’t want to waste your readers’ time with long articles that are difficult to digest.
Adding Content To An Email Marketing Content Calendar
Once you have your template ready and you’re confident that all the content you’ll need for your email marketing campaign is in place, it’s time to start adding in the relevant content. To do this, simply click on the main category (i.e., video games, cell phones, etc.) and then click on the sub-category (i.e., Xbox One, Blackberry, etc.) to bring up the contents. Alternatively, you can type in the main category (i.e., Video Games) and the sub-category (i.e., Xbox One) into the search bar and hit enter to see the relevant content. Either way, you’ll see all the content you need for the next email in the side panel.
Each piece of content you add will need a unique link to be able to track it back to the content calendar. You can either go the easy route and use generic links, such as www.hustler.com/christmas-gift-guide/, or you can create specific links for each piece of content. Using specific links will make it easier for someone to find the content they’re looking for because they know exactly where to look. To create a link to a specific piece of content, simply find the article you want to link to in the Editorial Content section of your website and then click on the “Share” button. A window will pop up where you can enter the URL that should be linked to. You can also include the headline and a few words from the article in your link as well.
Creating Future-Proof Links To Different Category Headlines
If you’ve ever created a roundup article or a top-ten list and then posted it on your website, you’ll know that eventually, you’ll have to stop updating it. Once your article reaches the top of its category, your audience won’t need any more content from you in that subject area. It’s always a good idea to create a list of upcoming events or news articles that relate to your niche. You can also create a schedule for your content and post it on your website. Not only will this allow you to keep track of all the content you post, but it’ll also remind you of upcoming events and allow you to plan your content strategically.
Using Your Email Marketing Content Calendar
Once you’ve created an email marketing content calendar, you can start using it to its full potential. Remember that this is a living document and you can always come back and add more content or editing to it as needed. If you have a newsletter or a blog schedule in place, you can easily add in all the content you need for each email without having to search for it individually. Use the content calendar to easily keep track of all the content you’ve published and where it’s headed. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next content calendar, take a look at some of the most popular ones from the past.