Are you running a Marketing Team with a hefty Editorial Calendar for executing your Content Marketing? Maybe you're coming from a regular calendar or a Trello board, and your team has grown in terms of size and tasks. If this is the case, then you're probably looking for a more organized way to plan out your marketing activities.
We believe Forecast is your next step. Forecast doesn't just give you a visual board for managing your tasks. It gives you the full process from before to after the execution phase. All in all, it gives you a complete solution for managing your content pieces.
If you're interested in a more general look into how we use Forecast in our Marketing team, you can read more here.
The examples below are based on our internal use of Forecast for managing our content. Of course, it is not the only way to use the tool, but it might guide you in the right direction towards finding the right workflow that matches your team's needs.
Scoping Your Content
Missing an overview of your campaigns, marketing material or new initiatives? Using milestones in Scoping is the perfect way to plan out your content on a high-level. Depending on the nature of your content, you can choose the way you use the milestones to segment your work. For example, if you're working with themes and like to group content across channels, you can use milestones as your themes. Or you can use the milestones as different social media channels, i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Milestones can be different duration, but often a monthly or quarterly period is practiced. Keeping a shorter length of time helps your work stay manageable and straightforward yet aligned and in-sync with the current happenings and themes.
The example above shows how we have created all of our channels as milestones and added new content pieces as tasks to each milestone. A great approach here is to have for instance a monthly brainstorming session on new content coming up in the month.
Planning in Sprints
After scoping your content, the next step is to plan it out. We like to use Sprints, which are shorter periods of time. In this case, the sprint period is seven days. Meaning, that we plan out our content on a weekly basis. We take content from the high-level scoping and plan into smaller sprints of 7 days.
The example above shows how you can see the title of each task in the sprint, the status, the milestone (i.e., channel), the assigned person(s), and the forecasted hours it'll take to complete.
Publishing with Workflow
Executing and moving tasks is done through the Workflow. Workflow is the visual board of all the tasks you have planned for the current sprint. You can move tasks around, and name the columns as you wish. For this example, we have created To-do, In Progress, Review, Scheduled, and Published. Following the natural process of content creation and sharing.
Clicking a task will open it to reveal more details, including: a description, subtasks, files, comments, and so forth. Opening a task will also let you select a start date and a deadline. The deadline is, in this case, the publishing date.
A tip to distinguish between tasks on your board is to use labels. Labels are unique identifiers that you can assign to tasks; for example, Twitter, Email, or Blog as seen above. The color of the label will show up on each card inside of your columns on the board. Labels and colors can be adjusted to fit your project profile in the Admin Settings. As you can see from our board, we used the official brand colors of each channel, i.e., Twitter's bright blue for the Twitter label.
Your Personal To-Do List
Assigning a deadline and team members to each task will additionally build up your personal to-do list in Upcoming Work. This is where you see what's up for you, this week, next week, and in the future. Sorting the deadline in ascending order will show you the most urgent tasks at the top.
Upcoming Work is your personal to-do list of everything you're assigned. It shows when each task needs to be done, in this case, the date to publish. This way, Upcoming Work serves you everything you specifically are responsible for without getting distracted by your fellow colleagues' tasks.
The Calendar View
Forecast has a native integration with various calendar tools, incl., Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and iCloud Calendar. We made it so that you can connect with virtually any calendar service, as long as the iCal format is supported.
The calendar in Forecast is a personal calendar. It means that every user has their own schedule with all the tasks to which they are assigned. Below, we've included a visual of how your calendar might look; this is an example from Google Calendar.
Tasks are at the top of your timeline as an all-day event. You can, of course, toggle the calendar on/off as usual. Clicking an event will reveal the task's title, project, any description you may have added, and a direct link to Forecast directly on your calendar.
For more inspiration on how you can use Forecast in your Marketing team; we've performed an interview with our own team - check it out.