How to make an annual plan, part 4.

Free download content calendar 2018 annual plan your best year yet


We're finally here.  The fourth and final installment of your annual plan, just in time for January to come to a close.

To recap, so far we have identified what went well and what needs improvement in 2017.  Then, we learned about SMART goals and created some for 2018, then took those goals and broke them down into small pieces, ready to tackle each day and week.

This is the week where we put it all together and populate our roadmap for the year. 

Click here to download your FREE 2018 Content Calendar.

The file download is in Excel, but feel free to import it into Google Sheets if that's your style.  I love Google Sheets because it's easily shared and accessible from anywhere.  You can even save an offline version to work from your phone when you're without service.

The first tab is your year.  You'll see every date, from January 1 to December 31, listed out and broken into weeks for easier visuals.  Then, I have columns for events, social media, newsletter, and other.

On the second tab, you'll find a nice safe place to list your goals.  I encourage you to write 3 SMART goals here.  That way, as you move throughout this year, and reference this document to see what's on your plate, you'll have an easy reminder of what you're working toward.

In addition to your goals for the year, list in this section how often you'd like to post on social media.  I like to post three times a week to Instagram and Facebook.  Some people like to post daily, or even just once a week.  There's no right or wrong answer here, as long as you're being consistent.  If you're new to the game, you might just post once per week, but if you're an old pro, aim for 3-7 posts per week.  And seriously, don't forget to be consistent.  If your audience knows what to expect from you, they will trust you.  You also can add in Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, or anywhere else you connect with your target audience.  

The last section on tab #2 will give you a place to record how many followers or subscribers you have right now, and a place to set some goals to increase those numbers over the course of the year.  

Now, back to populating that calendar in tab #1.

I've filled in most holidays for you, but go ahead and add in any trips you're taking, special events, shows you do every year, or time you're planning to take off.


Think of the holidays or events that you like to promote to your followers.  Is Valentine's day a big sales event for you, or maybe you do a show every August that you need to remind your customers about?  Add those in, then work backward to when you'll START promoting it.  Then, keep working backward to when you'll START working on those promotions.

For example, Mother's Day is a big event for Hattie Rex.  This year, it's May 13.  In order to have all the gifts in the mail on time, I'll set May 7 as our shipping deadline, and May 4 as our order deadline.  If I want to promote it for 4 weeks prior, I'll add April 6 as the day to Begin Mother's Day Promotions.  And, two weeks prior to that, I'll add Plan Mother's Day Promotions so that I know to start deciding on my sales or promotions, get my copy and images prepared, and have enough time to hit the ground running when April 6 rolls around.

Complete this process for each holiday you want to promote.  You can also schedule and plan other promotions or sales that don't fall on a Hallmark holiday, too.

Once you have the big events ironed out in the Events column, you can populate the social media column with complementary posts.  Be sure to include three per week if that's your goal.

If you're not yet writing a newsletter, you can change this column to reflect other marketing efforts you're making.  Same with the Other column.  

Take some time this week to spend a few hours working on this part of your annual plan.  This is your roadmap for the rest of the year.  When you sit down to make your weekly instagram posts, or when you're wondering what to say in your newsletter, this is your goldmine that's all ready for you.  Never let a holiday sneak up on you again when you plan correctly for it!

So, easy peasy?  I want to hear from you!  Drop a note in the comments to tell me how great you feel now that you have your year planned, or if there's something that's not quite sitting right for you.  Let's plan your best year yet!

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