A marketing calendar is a view of scheduled marketing activities designed to keep team members aligned on ownership, deliverables, production timelines, launch dates, and promotion channels.

A shared marketing calendar directs the entire team to meet deadlines and achieve OKRs on time, and in sync. Whether you’re driving sales leads, raising brand awareness, or heightening customer engagement, a calendar view of upcoming deliverables allows your team to move quickly, together.  

Because every marketing team has its own priorities and processes, no two marketing calendars are exactly the same. That said, common best practices can help you craft the best calendar for your needs. Read on to see how to create an effective calendar, and discover popular templates for key marketing use cases. 

8 best practices for campaign planning

What is a marketing calendar?

When you sit down to organize your team’s activities, whether it’s for the next week, quarter, or year, a marketing calendar is an intuitive place to start. It creates a central place to refer your stakeholders, gives you an easy way to view the progress of your deliverables, and makes it simple for your team to track their individual contributions.

Marketing calendars can also become effective resource management tools. If you’re looking to streamline your planning and production process, you might use a custom calendar to understand team workload, the impact your production has on cross-functional teams, and how frequently you’re speaking to different segments of your audience.

Why is a marketing calendar important?

The right marketing calendar is built to track and coordinate your team’s key events, deliverables, projects, and priorities. It should help your team stay ahead of looming deadlines, and empower individual contributors to see how their work impacts marketing output as a whole. 

An efficient marketing calendar gives everyone the info they need to perform their tasks, while minimizing tangental details that might be overwhelming. A well-laid-out marketing calendar also:

  • Mitigates business and brand risk: An effective marketing calendar prevents duplicative or conflicting content plans, ensuring all deliverables are tracked in one place and everyone is working from a source of truth. 

  • Improves cost efficiency: A unified, real-time calendar elevates cross-team planning and coordination. This ensures you make the most out of every asset, and frees every stakeholder to deliver their best work without confusion over ownership, goals, or timeline. 

  • Drives business results: A content calendar should be connected to other sources of data (for example performance data, budget, and channel spend). This will help you prioritize the most impactful marketing work, and drive the most impact with fewer resources. 

How to create a marketing calendar

When you build a marketing calendar, start with a list of key deliverables, events, and planning priorities of your team. Then, sequence these activities in a way that is manageable for your given resources. It’s a good idea to see how your planned dleiverables might complement and support other events happening elsewhere in your organization—for example product launches or board meetings. 

In creating a content calendar, ask yourself: What’s prevented your team from meeting deadlines in the past? Sometimes, teams kick off a quarter full of complex, ambitious plans, and then spend the rest of the quarter wrestling with project management overload. A well-crafted and customized marketing calendar can convert chaos into order—it allows you to see from the outset how your plans align to resourcing, and enables you to prioritize conflicting deadlines before any work begins.

Pro tip

Connect your marketing calendar to your marketing plan with Airtable. With these connected views, teams can see all planned activities in one place and create customized views to guide strategy and planning across the team.

Here are four tips to help you create a marketing calendar.

1. Brainstorm your content 

The first step to developing your marketing calendar is to gather requests from other stakeholders across the org. For example, Sales might be looking for an event speaker, Product might require support for an upcoming launch, and Campaigns might hope to release content for a seasonal moment. This discovery phase should also involve researching the needs and pain points of your target audience—what’s most urgent for that audience in the quarter ahead? 

Once you’ve gathered cross-functional input and outlined audience considerations, it’s time to start the content brainstorm process. Whatever approach you take to brainstorming, it’s an opportunity to generate creative and engaging content ideas that connect to and support your marketing goals. 

Only from there can you take your list of potential ideas and create a potential list of deliverables. During this step you’ll want to outline content types, channels, and necessary assets that fit each idea the best.

2. Map out your content

An effective marketing calendar isn’t a static list of titles and timelines. Instead, it’s a living, breathing resource that captures rich data about themes, audiences, owners, goals, and promotional channels. The more information you capture in your marketing calendar, the easier it is to audit and optimize your content strategy. Set up your marketing calendar to track data like:

  • Abstracts and angles 

  • Themes and messaging

  • Featured customers 

  • Target audience, industry, and funnel stage 

  • Publication dates

  • Key review and approval dates

  • Draft due dates

  • Creative due dates

  • Followup promotion dates and channels

As with any system, you’ll need to strike a balance between too much and too little  information. If your calendar contains an overwhelming amount of data, it can be difficult to motivate your team to update the calendar with new information, and it’s harder for team members to quickly find the updates they need for their projects. If you’re using Airtable, take advantage of views and interfaces to customize and configure the information available to different team members.

3. Commit to a realistic volume

At the end of the day, even the best marketing strategy comes down to consistent execution. That starts with a realistic sense of what you and your team can commit to—and designing your marketing plan around that capacity.

Before you map out a marketing calendar, take stock of your in-house capabilities. How many writers or content producers are on your team? Do you have the creative resources you need to bring your campaigns to life? How much budget do you have to hire external freelancers or agencies? Before you dive into production, work with the leader of each marketing function to estimate exactly how much volume their team can manage over the next quarter. 

For an even clearer picture of capacity, map your resources and timelines in Airtable’s project resource management template. You can easily customize the fields, tables, and views to fit your team’s marketing objectives.

4. Make ownership clear

A marketing calendar should strengthen team accountability by specifying the person (or people) responsible for managing, creating, and approving each deliverable through every stage of the content production timeline. 

8 best practices for campaign planning

What features should a marketing calendar have?

Marketing calendars are an essential tool for managing busy content pipelines and keeping every stakeholder aligned on marketing priorities, objectives, and deliverables.

When you’re comparing marketing calendars, note the following features:

  • APIs: A marketing calendar should connect to other types of calendars (for example, a content calendar or a social calendar). This connection helps reduce mistakes and pulls your team out of silos Plus, it saves you from manually updating and comparing multiple calendars—time you better spent on marketing work or strategy. 

  • Easy to use: Opt for a tool that offers a user-friendly interface and guided tutorials, this helps with teamwide adoption and leads to fewer questions when it comes to sharing the calendar with cross-functional partners.

  • Collaborative: Look for a tool that offers multiple views like calendar, kanban, Gantt, grid, and timeline. Different views allow all team members to share and describe their work with greater nuance where needed, aiding in cross-team collaboration and strengthening adoption.

  • Customizable fields: Pick a calendar with customizable fields—these allow you to add the information you need and delete the details you don’t.

  • Filters: Choose a tool with intuitive filters so you can quickly narrow your view to show only the information you need.

  • Flexible views: Find a tool where you can build and save multiple calendar views that represent a filtered subset of the same data. This granular visibility helps you quickly uncover details on resourcing, timelines, external events, and missed or delayed deadlines. 

  • Automations: To maximize efficiencies across your marketing org, choose a marketing calendar that allows you to automate repetitive workflows (for example, publishing content, assigning tasks, and scheduling stakeholder digests.) 

Pro tip

You can use Airtable to create a marketing calendar with multiple, customizable calendar views; visualize data relationships to better guide planning; and automate mundane, repetitive tasks.


Types of marketing calendars

There are different types of calendars fit for different marketing activities, and each calendar will look different depending on the purpose it serves. Here are a few types of marketing calendars:

  • Content/editorial calendar: Ideal for planning content creation and promotion for blogs, ebooks, podcasts, and more. 

  • Marketing campaign calendar: Best for grouping multiple tactics with a mutual goal under one umbrella,

  • Social media calendar: Helps you schedule and visualize social media content for the upcoming month or longer periods of time. 

  • Digital marketing calendar: Works well for organizing digital marketing tactics like SEO efforts, paid advertising, and marketing automations.

  • Event planning calendar: Good for organizing dates and tasks for sponsored events.

  • Product launch calendar: Great for building out a roadmap for positioning and promoting a new product.

Marketing calendar templates and examples

If you’re itching to start planning your next campaign, here are a few marketing calendar templates to get you started.

  • Marketing calendar app: View important milestones and deliverables with this calendar. Use it to manage team resources and shift work as needed. You can also visualize dates for planned deliverables and easily act on your own tasks.

  • Blog editorial calendar template: Use this template to plan blog content and distribution tactics. Customizable fields and intuitive filters make it easy to view dependencies, respond to feedback, and track analytics in a centralized source.

  • Social media calendar template: You can do a lot more than plan your social posts with this template (although it does that really well). You can also brainstorm, visualize, and schedule social content for different platforms all in one place. This calendar also lets you create forms for stakeholders to submit requests, ensuring you always have ideas in the pipeline.

  • Email marketing template: You can own every step of the email marketing process in this template. Plan, draft, schedule, and analyze marketing emails all in one place. Plus, store performance data like open rate and click-through rate to quickly reference past performance.

  • Global marketing calendar template: Connect multiple projects under one view to unify all stakeholders and share marketing goals. You can also create a built-in form to gather and approve content requests and specify owners, launch dates, and workback plans.

8 best practices for campaign planning

About the author

Airtable's Marketing Teamseeks to inspire, guide, and support builders at every stage of their journey.

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