Episode 203 | How to Build A Marketing Calendar

Show Notes


[00:00] Mike: In this episode of “Startups for the Rest of Us,” Rob and I are going to be talking about how to build a marketing calendar. This is “Startups for the Rest of Us” episode 203.

[00:06] Music

[00:14] Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers, and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product, or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.

[00:22] Rob: And I’m Rob.

[00:22] Mike: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week, Rob?

[00:26] Rob: You know, things are going well. Just been ramping up Drip, looking to have another good growth month here in September, and I took off in a week for about five weeks on the road in Thailand, and then in Prague for MicroConf Europe. So overall feeling good about things with the ability to still check email and do a little bit of work on the road. I think things should go well while I’m traveling. You know, I have four full-time guys here, aside from me. I did this last year when I went to Prague and then to Italy for a month, and things, frankly, went pretty well. We actually did a launch while I was on the road last year and launched to like 600 people, so this year there’s nothing fancy or exciting like that going on. It’ll just be kind of maintaining the status quo. I got guys here who can handle support really well. Feeling good. Just kind of ready to get on the road at this point.

[01:10] Mike: Well, I went to the Business of Software Conference this week, and I had a really good time. I met quite a few interesting people. A lot of good conversations in the hallways.

[01:18] Rob: Sure. Were there any speakers who were highlights for you?

[01:21] Mike: It was awesome listening to Rand Fishkin from Moz talk about kind of the future of what Google was doing and what directions they were heading and what his thoughts were on what they were doing now and how you could kind of leverage marketing efforts inside of the context of the things that they are doing, because, obviously, they’re shutting down a lot of things. But he also pointed out there were places where he showed an experiment that somebody had run, and they found that a lot of their direct traffic, there was a lot of things that Google was sending them as organic search traffic that was being counted as direct traffic, which I found interesting. It was a very high correlation. Like they did something where they basically turned things off then turned them back on, and a lot of their organic search traffic is actually being counted as direct traffic even though that it’s not.

[02:08] Rob: I have to be honest, with Google Analytics – when they redid the left navs to where it’s like acquisition and behavior and something else now – I have the toughest time finding anything, and with the loss of keywords anyways- it’s been six months or a year since I’ve gotten anything actionable out of Google analytics, and I used to be a big proponent. I used to be in analytics daily. Literally daily, and these days it’s just not worth it. So I’m either looking at advertiser dashboards if I’m running ads, or I’m in a tool like KISSmetrics, which can actually show you some stuff. Or I’m in Drip looking at how my stuff’s going, but I don’t know if that’s common for everyone these days. A couple other founders I’ve talked to are experiencing the same thing, but Google analytics has really A: They’ve made themselves, in my opinion, too complex and too hard to find, and then there’s not a ton of good data coming out of there anymore. You find it similar?

[02:57] Mike: Yeah. I don’t get a lot of it – a lot out of there anyway, because ninety percent of my traffic it says “direct” or “not provided.”

[03:04] Rob: That’s the problem, and so yeah. So there you go. That seventy, eighty, ninety percent that is either direct or not provided, which is like, “This is not helpful at all.” Right?

[03:12] Mike: Yeah, and that sucks. He did talk a little bit about how to use adwords to your advantage and use that for at least a little bit of keyword research. But even some of that’s going away. He said that there’s some upcoming changes where they’re going to be eliminating I think its exact search matching through adwords, so you won’t be able to control it as much and get as much information out of that either.

[03:32] Rob: Awesome. Can’t wait to talk to Dave Collins about that one at MicroConf Europe. Hey, you know I’ve always really respected Rand and enjoyed – I’ve heard him on Mixergy and other interviews. Seems really genuine, you know, and he shares kind of what’s going on with him. Super smart dude. So it’s no surprise to me that he was one of the standouts to BoS.

[03:51] Mike: I would probably say he, almost without a doubt, he was one of the favorite speakers of mine.

[03:56] Rob: Very cool. So we have new iTunes comments. We got a 5-star review from Joris Joppe from Netherlands, and he says “Great source of information. Running a web application myself and there’s so much information in there that I can take on board. Simply not enough time to act on it. Thanks, guys.” Got another 5-star review with the title “Awesome” from Miekeru from the US. He says “Your podcasts were instrumental in growing my SAAS business. Thank you, and keep up the good work.” So we would love a five-star review. If you haven’t given us one in iTunes – you don’t even need to write a comment like these guys did. Can simply log in, hit the five-star button, and we would greatly appreciate it.

[04:31] Mike: Well, I hired a couple of new developers, and I’ve been spending some time on getting them up to speed on our development process, and so far things are going pretty well. They’re following process. Obviously they make some mistakes here and there, but they’re doing really well. It’s nice to be able to kind of give them design documents and have them just take it and run with it, and then do whatever they need to do and not have to worry about the results nearly as much.

[04:53] Rob: Where’d you find them?

[04:54] Mike: Just through oDesk. Just kind of went through the natural process of weeding people out and telling them what is expected and trying to give as good a description as I could of the development process and what was expected of them and how many hours and everything else that I was going to expect. And what the timeline was, because obviously this is something of an initial review process for them, so if it doesn’t work out for them they kind of know that they need to be on par with what my expectations are and adjust. But they’ve been doing great.

[05:21] Rob: Very good. So what are we talking about today?

[05:23] Mike: Well, today we’re going to be talking about how to build a marketing calendar. This kind of came up because I’m starting to switch my efforts over a lot more from the development and, as I mentioned just a few minutes ago, I hired these couple of new developers, and I’m trying to remove myself just completely from writing any code. I’m trying to focus much more on the marketing efforts, and right now I’m in the process of building a marketing calendar to try and figure out what sorts of things I should be focusing on, and not only what I should be focusing on, but what order and when things were going to come out, and what sorts of things are going to come out. Think I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I started scheduling webinars, but that kind of fits into this greater strategy that some things have to be timed, and you want certain things to go out at the same time, and you don’t want to have, for example, too many emails go out in the same week, and if some things get pushed around that’s not really a big deal. But the idea is really to use it to establish a consistent approach to the marketing efforts so that there’s things getting pushed all into one week, and then you’ve got nothing in the next week.

[06:22] Rob: You know before my most recent app, Drip, I was always basically flying off the cuff, and I would wake up one week and say, “What do I want to do this week? Can I – am I going to continue running ads and then maybe I’ll publish a blog post?” but with Drip it’s had to be more orchestrated. One: because I’ve worked with other people, like I had a marketing intern for a while. I’ve had other people helping me with it, and so a calendar is actually necessary. And two: there’s just been so much going on that I’ve felt like I can’t keep it all in my head anymore. I’ve used some of the approaches that you’ve listed in here, but I also think that since I tend to be process-lite, but I am interested to see what some of the heavier process and note-taking stuff you outline in here how people can apply it.

[07:00] Mike: The big thing that I noticed was that a Monday would come around, and I was like, “Okay. What have I got to do this week?” and because it wasn’t planned out I would just kind of shoot from the hip more, and it felt like it wasn’t planned out very well, and it wasn’t. That’s really the bottom line, and that’s kind of what a marketing calendar’s supposed to help out with. It’s to make sure that you’re no longer shooting from the hip, and you know exactly what is supposed to be done that week, and you can work towards it, rather than you get to the beginning of the week and say, “Okay, what am I going to do this week?” and then you have these fires come up, and you kind of run around like a chicken with its head cut off because you just don’t have any consistency from one week to the next.

[07:36] Rob: This is the hard stuff, right? It’s like we all want to be on Twitter and Hacker News. That’s the easy stuff that your brain relaxes. The planning in the morning, if you get up and say, “What are the three things that I need to get done today?” and then you sit there, and you just make transition from one task to another, and you crank on them, and you get them done. That’s putting in the hard slog. Yeah, it’s fun to fly by the seat of your pants, and to just wake up and say, “What marketing parts do I feel like doing?” but it’s just not what professionals do. That’s not the way to develop a consistent approach to this stuff and actually grow a business well.

[08:08] Mike: The key goal behind it is to make sure that you have a consistent approach, but one of the other things that this helps to do is it helps you plan around key events. So there’s things like holidays and product launches, even vacations and birthdays and things like that, you know days that you know you’re probably not going to want to work – you can plan around those things. You can make sure that on your marketing calendar those things show up and you take them into account when you’re doing that. Another thing it lets you do is it lets you identify some of the gaps in your marketing that is going to impact your sales funnel or at least has the potential to impact your sales funnel. You don’t want to have too many of the same function or activity in a single week, but on the flip side you don’t want to have not enough of it either. So if you schedule emails and you decide to work on email marketing for a couple of weeks, what happens if you start neglecting your webinars or your paid advertising and things like that? There’s lots of places where that stuff can fall through the cracks because you just didn’t think about it. Then you get to the end of the week and you’re like, “Oh shoot! I forgot to do that advertising campaign.” Or “I forgot to run that PPC campaign, or have these infographics created.” And then it pushes other things off, and then you end up with these gaps. This is designed to help eliminate some of those gaps.

[09:18] Mike: So to get started with this stuff, it is extremely simple. The quickest way to get started is to just use Google Spreadsheets or Excel. You can, if you want to go for an advanced option, you could use like smartsheet.com where it’s similar to Google Spreadsheets, but it also allows you to do things like Gantt charts and things like that. So if you want to get a little bit more in depth with it and a little bit more process oriented where some things are much more dependent on other things, you can use smartsheet.com. But for the most part Excel or Google Spreadsheets is going to be able to do what it is that you need it to do.

[09:49] Mike: So to get started, the first thing you need to do is you need to write down all the marketing activities that you want to try and engage in or try out in the future, and it should be comprehensive. You’re not really thinking about timeline yet. You’re just listing the possibilities at this point. All the different things that you could possibly do that you might want to try.

[10:07] Rob: Right, so the first note I’ll make is I am a Google Spreadsheet person, although with this marketing activities thing you’re talking about right now I’ve tended to use just a Google Doc and do a bulleted list that’s broken down by category. So there’s the prelaunch, the during launch, the SEO, the content marketing, the personal brand and relationship. There’s the viral, there’s the integration marketing. You know, I break it down into the marketing categories I’m going to do, and then I put some tactics, some ideas, some approaches. It’s more than a brainstorm, because I want to filter it a little bit. I don’t just want it to be a big mess of things, but I definitely want a large list to draw from that I can then build a tighter list and actually start putting dates and date ranges on things.

[10:50] Mike: Yeah. And to be clear, this step doesn’t need to be done in a spreadsheet. You can absolutely do it in a Google Doc.

[10:55] Rob: Frankly, if I had my druthers I would do this part hand written in a notebook, but there’s a bunch of drawbacks to that. Number one is this document, this marketing game plan, this thing needs to live for a long, long time. Like several years as you’re marketing this app, and so having it in a notebook just doesn’t tend to be practical, because then you wind up – you’re traveling, you’re on an airplane, you’re somewhere and you just don’t have access to it. So that’s a bummer. The other thing is this thing is living and breathing, and you’re going to be adding, editing, you’re going to be deleting, crossing things out, and it becomes a real mess if it’s on paper and you can’t to the dynamic stuff that these fancy computer these days allow you to do. So that’s why I do make this electronic, even though personally I prefer to brainstorm it on paper, but as you’re listening to a podcast, you’re reading a book, you’re listening to an audio book, you hear a talk, and you take some notes from that, I will then take those and apply them to this master kind of marketing game plan doc, and then later I will draw off that to build my one to three month calendar from.

[11:53] Mike: So that’s step one. Brainstorm your marketing activities. Now step two is to identify between one and five target audiences. I don’t think I would actually go over three, but you want to be a little bit specific. You wouldn’t want to just say people who are in technology. You’d want to say IT administrators. You’d want to say software development freelancers. Try and narrow it down as much as you possibly can. And even in something like IT administrators, you might want to say IT administrators who are managers or who have been in that field for X number of years. But the idea is to make it as specific as possible so that you know exactly who you’re marketing to. What that’s going to do is that’s going to help you when you’re actually trying to develop your messages so that you can target your copy at that type of person, and you know exactly what type of problems they have, because there’s a difference between an IT administrator and a senior IT administrator because they have different problems. They have slightly different job functions, but the senior guys tend to have additional responsibilities. So they may have management functions that they also have to do.

[12:54] The lower level IT guys may not care nearly as much about reports, for example, but the senior IT guys – they’re the ones that have to interface with management and provide them the information. Do have to niche it down as much as you possibly can so that when you’re writing your copy and writing any sort of marketing materials for those people, you’re able to speak directly to the pain points that they’re having.

[13:15] Rob: And at the beginning this is going to be a guess because you just don’t know until users start using your app. But once people start using it, it becomes pretty obviously quickly what they’re up to and how they’re using it, and you’ll notice that the IT administrator versus the IT administrator’s boss versus the software development freelancer versus the blogger how differently they use your app, and you’ll suddenly hear them using different words and different verbiage to describe what they’re doing. And they get different value out of it. So that’s where you can start refining this message, so I would consider this definitely a 0.5 at this point until you actually start having interactions with customers, and you can refine and update this list.

[13:57] Mike: So, that’s step two is defining the target audience that you’re going after. Step three is to decide on a timeline, and for this I’d recommend at least three months, but probably no more than six. If you don’t have enough of a timeline, then it’s going to be hard to measure some of the things that you’re doing, and if it’s too much then you’re trying to plan so far in the future that it’s really just going to mess up the timeline for anything that you identify during this process that works really well that you want to double down on.

[14:21] Rob: So I typically plan this marketing calendar ninety days out, but then I kind of micro-plan the next thirty days, because I found that things change so quickly month to month that if I try to plan six months out, that last two or three months is just completely shattered. It’s so different by the time I get there. So I think it depends on how quickly you’re moving, how quickly you’re iterating, and at what phase of your product. If you’re before product market fit, you may only want to plan a month or two out, and if you’re at scale, and you’re starting to really scale up, and you know your audience, and you know your message I could see planning three to six months out, although the latter three months I would do it just a little looser, and not put exact dates on everything.

[15:02] Mike: So step four is to go back to the list of marketing strategies that you came up with and essentially order them in either a top five or top ten format. And starting at number one for each marketing strategy, break that strategy down into its component tasks. We talked about this a little bit in a previous podcast episode where you really want to include the build to deploy, measure and fix timelines for each one. Once you’ve ranked these things, you want to go into your spreadsheet, whether it’s a Google spreadsheet or and Excel spreadsheet, and you want to put the weeks on the left-hand side and the target audiences along the top, and those marketing activities that you picked out, you want to fill in the marketing and the component tasks that need to be done essentially using the dates as the Y axis and the target audiences across the top as the X axis.

[15:48] So what that does is it essentially gives you the ability to say, “Well, okay. These are all the things that I’m going to do, and these are the rough time periods that I’m going to do them.” Yeah, it’s going to take a little bit of tweaking because some things are going to take longer than others, but what this is going to do is it’s going to give you the ability to see at a glance where some of your marketing activities are happening and give you the ability to kind of eyeball things and say, “Am I going to be able to do this in this approximate time period? Are there places where I’m going to have giant gaps? Are there places where there’s overlaps between these things?” and you can take a look at those things, and you can fix them as needed. You can either add things, or move them around, change them. And there are definitely places where you’re going to have to start something, and then you’re going to have to come back to it later on, because maybe you’re outsourcing some of the email campaigns or the content generation, and you hand it off to somebody else, and you don’t expect it back for a week or two weeks. Those schedules need to be taken into account here.

[16:43] Rob: Yeah, and this is big because without this high-level view you really can’t anticipate when you’re going to run into something where you either have too much marketing going on in one week, like you said you’re sending your lists five emails, or where you have big gaps where you have multiple weeks where you’re not producing anything. It’s just hard to play it by ear and wing it and make it even. When you step back and you plan out ninety days or 180 days it’s a lot easier to do it.

[17:08] I think one other thing I’ll mention is how to prioritize. You said brainstorm the marketing strategies, and then pick the five or the top ten. A bunch of different ways to do that, and if you recall a couple episodes ago we had Gabriel Weinberg on the show, and he co-wrote a book called Traction. If you read his book he talks a little bit about how to prioritize in there, and there’s another approach from Noah Kagan. If you search for Noah Kagan Quant Marketing, and it’s Q-U-A-N-T he does it quantitatively. He actually uses an approach very similar to what I’ve done for years. It’s similar. You put it in spreadsheets, and you figure out what you want to do. I’ve often gone with, “What’s in my tool belt that I know I can execute on?” and “What do I think is going to work for this ad based on my previous experience?” and that’s typically where I start, and then as that stuff fails, or succeeds, then I’ll pick off the next thing that maybe I haven’t done, and that’s how I’ve always expanded my marketing tool belt. So there’s not no science to prioritizing these, but it is a bit of art, and a bit of science, and a bit of choosing what motivates you, and what you’re excited to do in prioritizing these things and getting them into the spreadsheet.

[18:10] Mike: And keep in mind, the other thing that you need to do when you’re doing this is take into account where in your sales funnel some of these marketing activities fall because obviously you need to get people into the beginning of your sales funnel, and doing things at the end of it is not going to help you very much if you’ve got nobody in your funnel at all. So you do want to spread things out a little bit based on where some of these marketing activities are going to impact your sales funnel, but just keep it in mind when you’re putting these things together.

[18:36] Rob: Yeah. I think that’s a really good point is a lot of people will look too far down the funnel too early, and until I have a really high visitor to trial conversion rate, then I know that my marketing’s – either my value prepetition or my marketing site is not cutting the mustard. And then once that’s done, now I need to work on trial to paid conversion, right? And that’ going to be done with on-boarding and with emails, and that kind of stuff. Then once people are in there I wouldn’t go back and start marketing before I got my churn way down, and that’s one of the ways you can define product-market fit is that people are sticking around, getting on-boarded, and then not churning out. And so that’s the path I would take, then I circle back. Then if you drive traffic through an optimized funnel, that’s when you’re getting the most value out of your marketing spend, right out of your marketing time, because until that point you’re basically bleeding people out of the bottom of your funnel as they churn out either during their trial or after they’ve paid you one or two payments.

[19:28] Mike: And that’s another reason why you don’t want to make your timeline too long because if it is months then you can iterate through some of these cycles very, very quickly, and you get a lot of traffic, but it’s all falling out the bottom of the funnel, and you’re not paying attention to it because you’re trying to execute on your marketing plan. So it is kind of a balance that you have to strike. As I said, too much and you’re doing all these marketing activities you’re really not taking a look at your entire sales funnel, and if it’s not enough then you don’t give it enough time for these marketing activities to work.

[19:56] So at the end of this process, essentially what you end up with is a targeted activity list in a timeline of when those things need to be accomplished. And there’s a lot of benefits to this. The first one, and I think this is probably the best one is that you don’t have to think, “What do I do?” either every day, or even every week. You have your spreadsheet to work from. That’s the battle plan that you’re operating from. This is the strategic document that you’re going to move forward with, and sure it’s going to change over time. You’re going to adjust a little bit. You’re going to tweak things based on the information you’re getting back and the measurements that you’re taking, but you generally know what it is that needs to be accomplished and roughly when, and you can adjust from there.

[20:33] Rob: Yeah, I think that’s a big thing to remember is there’s a lot of adjustment that goes on. I was just in my content calendar yesterday. I have a separate spreadsheet for what content is going to be published when, and I realized that I screwed up last week. I either published the wrong one, or I missed a week or something, and so sure enough you edit the doc, you move things around. I had committed a post as a guest post somewhere else, that’s why I had to, not un-publish, but I had to remove it as a draft in my blog. I mean there’s stuff that’s going to happen, and this having a content calendar and a marketing calendar like this helps you catch those things, but also don’t be married to it that it’s this rigid document that’s set in stone, because once a week I’m going in there and moving things around, and either moving dates, changing titles, committing things elsewhere. It really is a fluid document. It’s more of, “I’m just trying to track what’s going on so that I have a high-level view.” But this view it as a fluid, moving, living, breathing doc.

[21:29] Mike: So the next advantage is that when you’re using a weekly format like this with the dates along the left it automatically separates the activities from one another, and it gives you time to implement them. And it’s not like a bug-tracking system where you’re giving each thing a number of hours or anything. You’re really just setting kind of the high-level tasks that need to be accomplished that week, and which of the weeks during that three-month timeline that you’re trying to implement them. Make sure that you’re building all of the different stages into your marketing plan. So for example, the measure and fix stages – make sure you’re separating those, because it’s going to prevent them from being dropped on the floor. If you’re doing a lot of content marketing or pay-per-click advertising, those things can cost a lot of time and money to put in place, and if you’re not paying attention to them some of those things are going to get thrown on the floor, and especially with PPC ads. If you’re doing those types of things, you can definitely be flushing a lot of money if you’re not paying close attention to them and actually doing the measurement stages. So you have to make sure that you’re building in time to do the measurements and fixing the things that are not working.

[22:30] Rob: Yeah, and that’s why you need this calendar so that you can block out time because if I’m running paid acquisition, and I’m doing it heavy, I am probably in there – it depends on the day – but I maybe average thirty minutes a day, and on heavier days I’ll do a full hour swapping out adds and stuff. And I’m always tracking what my cost per acquisition is and really looking at the funnel, and so it’s a time intensive thing. If you think that content marketing is definitely time intensive, right? Even just managing writers if you’re not doing it yourself. If you’re doing it yourself it’s incredibly time intensive. But paid acquisition, while maybe it doesn’t require as much time, it still requires a lot of your focus, and you can’t just set and forget. Any of these things. The way to set it and forget it is to find someone knowledgeable in it who you can pay to run it, or to train someone up to use your approach to doing it, and that’s where knowing how to do it is helpful. But very, very few marketing approaches aside from ranking in a search engine, very few of them don’t require some type of ongoing work.

[23:31] Mike: So once this plan is in place, you could theoretically outsource some of the specific implementations, and then manage the process. I mean obviously you can outsource the whole thing. If you have enough money, you can hire somebody dedicated to do full-time marketing you could. But for most of us, we don’t really have that budget, but there are certain things that you can outsource. So for example, writing articles. You don’t need to write the articles, for example. You could outsource that, and then as part of your job for that particular piece, you can then post them. And as I said you would have the time so that you hire somebody to write the article, and then you pad the time, and then you have another task in there where you have to post the article. So you have to make sure that you’re getting that information back or anything that you’re outsourcing. Make sure that you’re putting in leeway times in order to get that work back, but you’re essentially removing that from one of your lists of tasks so that you can focus on other things and get more done quickly.

[24:25] Rob: Yeah, and I think this is the goal is to get to the point where you’ve developed a process well enough that someone who is not a founder can do it, right? So whether that is content marketing, hiring a couple writers, and you become the editor first, and then you hire someone to basically be the editor and kind of the person who’s creating the content calendar and driving the writers and kind of managing that whole process. Same thing with paid acquisition. It’s like at first, yeah, you’re probably going to have to manage it and get in there, figure out what works, figure out your process for swapping things out, but then you look for someone who has the skills and the analytical ability to sit there and do what you’ve done. And it takes you out of the loop, so you can build that flywheel so you can step away to take care of more important parts of your business.

[25:07] Mike: So we’ve talked a lot about some of the benefits. What’s one of the biggest drawbacks to this kind of thing?

[25:12] Rob: So one of the biggest drawback I see is it might impinge on your flexibility, right? It might feel like, “Oh, I’m building big company process, even though I want to be a small agile founder.” So I could see it feeling like that. Like you want less process if you’re just one person doing something. I of course have a counter to that. I guess we’ve already talked about that, why you should do it, but I can imagine someone feeling like, “Yeah, creating another document, putting a bunch of stuff in it. It’s going to take all the fun out of this.”

[25:39] Mike: Another thing I can see is that it’s time consuming to actually do the work, and essentially what you’re doing is you’re creating a schedule of all the additional work that you need to do.

[25:48] Rob: And that’s depressing. I think another one is that that feedback is not immediate. So you’re going to spend time, you’re going to create this doc, you’re going to lay all this stuff out, and then it’s going to take months, right? To run the ads, and to create the content, and to gather your results, and for those of us who are impatient, which is probably almost all of us as founders who want stuff immediately, it does basically lay out that you are not going to find out about these things for several months. So I could see that being frustrating to folks who aren’t used to this type of thing.

[26:17] Mike: Another frustrating thing is that some of these things are just not going to work. I mean you’re going to put these things on your calendar, and you’re going to try and go execute on them, and some of them are just not going to work out at all, and you’re going to say, “Well I just wasted three, four, five weeks trying to do something, and it’s just not moving the needle. It’s not doing anything.” And that’s a process that you’re going to have to go through. There’s different things that you’re going to have to try that they’re not going to work today. They might not work tomorrow or even six months from now. They may never work. It depends on what your product is, but there is the chance that right now it’s not working, but in six months you’re going to be in a different spot, and it will work.

[26:50] Rob: I think another drawback to this approach is that really it’s just a starting point, and that if you do have a really complex marketing calendar, that it isn’t going to cut it for you, right? So you can go significantly further with this, and it can get a lot more complicated. So that could be another drawback to the approach we played out here, is it may not be able to handle the most complex scenarios.

[27:10] Mike: And one thing I do want to add before we kind of wrap things up is that when Rand Fishkin was giving his talk at Business of Software, he actually mentioned a little bit about marketing calendars. And one of the things that he kind of cautioned people was that if you have a content calendar that you’re following, for example, and you’re trying to push out content on a regular basis, he pointed out that there’s less than ten percent of the content that gets created which gets greater than eighty percent of the traffic. So if you’re pushing out bad content just because you have a content calendar, it’s probably not worth it. I mean you really need to focus on creating good stuff, and if you’re not, you’re wasting your time. You’re wasting your effort.

[27:48] Rob: That wraps us up for today. If you have questions for us call our voicemail number at (888) 801-9690 or email us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Out of Control” by Moot used under creative commons. You can subscribe to us in iTunes by searching for “startups” or by RSS at startupsfortherestofus.com where you’ll also find a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.

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3 Responses to “Episode 203 | How to Build A Marketing Calendar”

  1. Thanks for the awesome episode.

    Would you guys mind sharing the calendar template?

    I think it will be useful.

  2. I’m reading Traction right now and the Bullseye method is very similar. You simply brainstorm, as Rob said, prioritize the top three, test and optimize. One you think there aren’t anymore customers to get from a particular channel, you pick another three. I’d suggest/agree that you start with what you’re already familiar with and go from there. Eventually, you’ll learn to use other channels, hire or outsource.

  3. Really useful episode, thanks Rob & Mike. So good I listened to it twice…