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How to Plan Your Internal Communications Calendar for Your Team

Many companies treat internal comms as ad-hoc channels that don’t require planning — and they’re wrong. Internal comms are the glue that helps organizations build culture and nurture collaboration. Similarly, a social media calendar is essential for external communications, ensuring your public-facing messages align with internal values and initiatives. To execute your strategy efficiently, you need a communications calendar.

A well-crafted communications calendar keeps you on track, ensuring your content is planned and prepared in advance. It’s all about keeping messaging smooth and stress-free, dodging last-minute emails and communication gaps.

Read on to learn how to craft a perfectly balanced internal communications calendar using tried and tested tools and a handy comms calendar template!

What is a communications calendar?

A communications calendar is a content calendar format used to plan, organize, and schedule all forms of internal communication within a company. It ensures consistent and timely distribution of information to the right audiences.

Practically, the internal communications calendar is just like a marketing calendar, but the target audience is your team.

How to create a comprehensive communications calendar for your marketing team

Creating a truly handy internal communications calendar requires thoughtful planning and tight collaboration across different departments.

Here are three core steps to take to create a perfect communications calendar:

1. Brainstorm, research, and gather ideas

Same as with marketing calendars, you begin with ideas. What does your target audience (aka, your colleagues across all departments) need to know? What would they like to read about? How can you make their work life easier through information?

Every communication manager trying to understand their audience

Approach it like you would approach an outbound content strategy. Here are some evergreen categories you could add to your calendar:

  • Important dates. Mark the calendar with your company’s anniversary, product birthdays, and other milestones — for example, “The Day We Got Featured On National TV.” Don’t forget to include company-wide events like all-hands meetings, town halls, etc.
  • Product launches and updates. Include dates for upcoming product launches or significant updates. Remarkable marketing activities, like extensive marketing campaigns with influencers or celebrities, are also worth mentioning.
  • Upcoming holidays. Schedule content around national and cultural holidays, and add some fun ones, too. Days like “Take Your Dog To Work” can greatly complement your internal comms calendar.
  • Everyday life & benefits. Employer brand content is one of your core content pillars. Inform your colleagues about the new mental health program added to your health insurance plan or run a poll on their favorite alternative milk to order more for the office. 

2. Reach out to different departments for a variety of content

You want your comms calendar to be versatile, but you can’t possibly know everything that goes on in your organization. This is where collaboration is vital.

Contact department heads and employees when gathering content for the next month. You can even schedule monthly or bi-weekly syncs to stay on the same page and ease your planning ahead.

Say your IT team is improving the vacation tracker, or a marketing team is launching a major marketing campaign. These are potential pieces of content you can save for future planning.

Besides, engaging with different teams to highlight their work at the company level contributes to their recognition and ensures unity across your brand.

Now, I know cross-team collaboration can be daunting. But you can work smarter, not harder, with collaboration tools like Planable. Its collaborative calendar format helps you save time syncing data across several departments and avoid last-minute tasks.

3. Organize your internal communications calendar and share it

All this planning might initially seem overwhelming when there are many moving components and layers.

I recommend using an editorial calendar tool to get a comprehensive visual overview. For example, in Planable, you can add labels to sort your content by content pillars or content type, which gives you more visibility and transparency when skimming your content calendar.

Planable's labels functionality with existing labels and the option to Create a new label

Add labels to filter your content in Planable

Once your internal comms calendar is ready, share it with your colleagues to streamline syncing and include them in content ideation. Remember to keep your calendar up-to-date and include all relevant newsbeats like upcoming campaigns and other events.

In tools like Planabe, you can also collaborate on all the content you create, allowing you and your colleagues to easily provide additional information, comment, and approve the final copy.

3 best communications calendars for your content marketing strategy

Internal communicators have as many content-related challenges as marketers with outbound marketing. They contribute to global business goals on an employee level, which requires some serious strategy.

Planners help you create timely content and keep track of all essential communications your employees need. It also eases collaboration with other departments, ensuring you exchange info in advance and distribute your resources accordingly.

Here are three tried and tested internal communications planners to help you own your internal comms:

1. Planable: the best marketing calendar for internal communications

If you’re looking for an easy and hassle-free internal communications content calendar, take a closer look at Planable. This tool is all about visual representation and efficient collaboration.

Content calendar in Planable with multiple channels and labels

Communications calendar with channels and labels in Planable

With Planable’s Universal Content, you can do anything: create and schedule content in a visual calendar, set up custom approval workflows, and collaborate on any content type, be it blog articles, emails, videos, social media posts, or whatnot. Your colleagues can give you in-context, real-time feedback using comments, annotations, and emojis.

Exchanging feedback trough comments and suggestions in Planable

Comments and suggestions in Planable

Schedule your content in advance for the upcoming month or a whole year ahead. To do so, choose a suitable date and press “Add new post.” You can easily organize your posts with custom labels and filter them by author, content type, approval status, etc.

Key features

  • Collaboration features

Get your ideal piece of content faster. Communicate easily with your colleagues through internal notes (just for the eyes of your team), comments, annotations, and other real-time collaboration tools to ensure you’ve got it right.

  • Visual content calendar

Planable’s calendar is very straightforward and visual. It makes planning and creating content much easier, providing a monthly overview of all your planned communications with tags, dates, and channels.

  • Customizable multi-layered approval workflows

Run your content through everyone relevant without emails, spreadsheets, or endless pings. Approval workflows allow your colleagues to give feedback or approve content in a few clicks.

  • Custom roles and permissions

Not everyone has to edit your content. With custom roles, you can divide creators from approvers while keeping everyone in the loop.

Drawbacks: While Planable is integrated with social media platforms for direct scheduling, it lacks any integrations with CMS platforms for direct website publishing.

Pricing: Planable’s paid plans start at $11/month per user. You can test the platform’s full capabilities with the free plan, which allows you to create 50 posts free of charge (no credit card required).

2. Google Sheets: the best free option

Google Sheets is the most well-known tool for beginner project management and content planning. It’s free, accessible, and works well enough to become a stepping stone.

Google Sheets as a calendar and basic task tracker

You can collaboratively plan, track, and manage internal communication schedules using one of the ready-made templates or building your own calendar from scratch. Set deadlines, include post details, and use drop-down chips to filter content by personalized tags you create.

Key features

  • Real-time collaboration. Multiple users can work on the same sheet simultaneously. It makes creating and updating content plans with other team members easier.
  • Integration with Google Workspace. Most organizations work in Google Workspace. Spreadsheets integrate with Docs, Slides, Disk, and other products, acting as an ecosystem for all your content efforts.
  • Access controls. Admins can set permissions for viewing, editing, or commenting to manage access among different team members.

Drawbacks: At its core, Google Spreadsheets is not a content management tool, so it takes some time to customize it to fit your project.

Pricing: Google Sheets is free with a basic Google account, which is a good entry point for smaller teams. Advanced features and increased storage are available through paid Google Workspace plans starting at $7.20/month per user.

3. Asana: the best calendar with task tracker for small business

Asana combines a content calendar and a task-tracking tool. It helps you keep team projects and communications tidy and steady. The internal comms team can leverage its multiple views and ready-made calendar framework to kick off content creation.

Asana's calendar templates

Whether you’re a startup or a big enterprise, Asana makes it relatively easy to juggle multiple tasks and keep everyone in the loop.

Key features

  • Task and project management. Assign tasks, set content deadlines, and monitor progress to keep projects on track.
  • Integration with other tools. Asana can connect to Slack, Google Drive, Zoom, and Jira to streamline working with employees outside the internal comms team.
  • Timeline and calendar views: Visualize project timelines and deadlines to ensure all content pieces are completed in time.

Drawbacks: Asana is more suitable for marketing teams tracking multiple campaigns at once and might be an overkill for smaller internal comms teams. Plus, Asana is not a content-specific tool, so it concentrates more on task management.

Pricing: You can use Asana for free if you’re a team of fewer than 10 people. For bigger teams, Asana has two paid plans starting at $10.99/user/month with more features and more teammates.

Communications calendar template

Feeling like everything is a little hectic? Don’t worry — you can start planning your internal communications content with a template.

Identify your core content pillars, mark anniversaries and other events your team needs to know about, and get your first batch of corporate news from different departments. Choose your topics, set deadlines for each post, and start creating.

Planable's communications calendar template with multiple channels and labels

Communications calendar template Planable

Benefits of using a communications calendar

A well-thought internal communications content calendar:

Eases your content management

A communications calendar organizes all your content in one place, making it simpler to plan, execute, and revise your content strategy. Planable’s visual content calendar centralizes all your content, aiding you to see the big picture and align your audience’s needs with your marketing goals.

Improves collaboration across departments

A shared view of when and what you plan to post breaks down silos between departments and helps provide information to each other in advance. This ensures internal comms, HR, marketing, sales, and other departments work together more efficiently.

Keeps you organized

With set deadlines and a clear plan, it’s much easier to monitor the status of each project and ensure timely execution. A communications calendar acts as a roadmap, highlighting key dates, events, and milestones, preventing last-minute rushes and missed communications.

Speeds up the approval process

A structured monthly schedule helps you review content in advance. Planable’s calendar also includes automatic approval workflows that allow you to move communication forward without holdups and lengthy email exchanges.

Contributes to team spirit and employee recognition

Highlighting team achievements and recognizing individual contributions in your communications calendar fosters a positive work environment. Celebrating things through centralized marketing channels boosts morale and encourages teamwork and appreciation.

Planable's multiple content approval levels settings

Multiple content approval levels in Planable

How do you create an annual communications plan?

Creating an annual internal communications plan is critical to ensuring effective and consistent communication within an organization on a yearly basis. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Set clear objectives and align them with business goals. Identify what you aim to achieve with your internal communications — it can be enhancing employee engagement, improving awareness, or encouraging knowledge sharing. These are the most impactful benefits of employee engagement platforms, and realizing them requires clarification as well as demonstrating how they are applicable to organizational success.

2. Map out key messages and content pillars. Determine the core messages you need to broadcast throughout the year to support your objectives. Maybe segment your internal audience to tailor communications effectively.

3. Select distribution channels and formats. Choose the channels and formats that suit your content pillars. For instance, you can use Slack chat, intranet blog, and emails as channels and articles, short messages, videos, and polls as formats.

4. Create a content calendar:

  • Outline the communications schedule, including regular updates, announcements, and events.
  • Schedule monthly syncs with other departments to get additional information on events and set tentative dates for each content piece.
  • Highlight important dates, for example, all-hands meetings, performance reviews, celebrations, and social events.

5. Measure, review, and adapt. Set up metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your communications and monitor these metrics monthly. Regularly review your calendar and adjust to organizational changes or employee feedback.

Skyrocket your communications strategy with a structured content calendar

The communications calendar for internal comms is all about hassle-free collaboration and timely informing within the team. It helps streamline the content creation process and ensures your team is well-informed about what’s happening in your organization.

Planable’s ready to help you plan and approve your content in a blink like it does for thousands of marketing teams, streamlining and enhancing your content management processes. Try Planable today to get 50 free posts and rock that internal comms strategy!

Kseniia Volodina

Kseniia Volodina

Content marketer with a background in journalism; digital nomad, and tech geek. In love with blogs, storytelling, strategies, and old-school Instagram. If it can be written, I probably wrote it.

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