By the time this article goes live, most of the holiday season will be over. If you’re like most companies, thinking about your content marketing strategy during a time when everyone is planning to be on holiday is a problem.
What happens is that the content schedule slips and leads to a mad scramble once things are back to normal. While a little slip is going to happen every now and again (we’re human after all!), you don’t want to make it a habit.
The key is to start your holiday content marketing planning weeks or even months before it’s time to post it. Then you can just automate the posting and enjoy spending time away from the word mines. And if you do your work properly in advance, content marketing during this time of year can be easy. Here are some tips that can help with your next year’s holiday content marketing.
Before you panic and think that you need content for every holiday on the calendar to stay relevant, take a breath and think about it. Only a few are going to matter deeply to your audience. If you try to post something for every holiday out there, it might seem like you’re trying too hard to connect.
Unless your niche is something like Christmas decorations, your clients aren’t coming to you because it’s a holiday. They just happen to be reading your content during a holiday. So don’t feel like you have to force-fit your content to match a holiday. Find something you’re already writing about that can mesh with the holiday naturally as we did with our content marketing resolutions article. Or use a generic holiday topic as we’ll talk about further below.
Holiday-related things are more like an extra little bit of spice that you can sprinkle into your content. Thankfully, we don’t have to cater content to every holiday to stay relevant. However, some holidays are going to be more relevant to your audience than others.
Also, like spices, some holidays will go well with your branding and some holidays will not. There are certain feelings that go along with each holiday. Most companies can safely do Christmas and New Year’s Day content. Christmas is a time of giving and joy (and commerce). New Year’s Day is a time of reflection on the previous year and starting over. These are pretty safe feelings to link up to your brand during this time of year.
On the other hand, most B2B businesses aren’t going to need content for political holidays or military holidays. There may also be religious holidays that aren’t appropriate either. But this also depends on your audience.
If your brand is multinational, you may need to consider holidays that you wouldn’t normally think about for your content marketing. Using a local holiday to create targeted content for a specific country can create a lot of goodwill, if it is done smartly and with cultural sensitivities in mind.
Here’s a simple example. Diwali is a five-day holiday in India and is one of the most popular holidays in that country and in immigrant communities around the world. It is a religious holiday celebrating the victory of light over darkness and there are a huge number of traditions, from giving gifts to religious ceremonies to even starting new accounting books for the year.
A brand with an Indian presence that didn’t give at least a token nod to Diwali would be like a brand here ignoring Christmas completely. So which international holidays should you choose for your brand? Our best advice is to see what B2B businesses in that country do for holidays and follow that. Start with the biggest ones. Even a small amount of effort can pay off here.
Also, don’t forget that holidays you celebrate in your own country might be celebrated on a different day in other countries. In Europe, Christmas celebrations can start as early as the beginning of December. There are also regional differences that may not cross cultures well.
In addition to the holidays on the calendar, some industries have regular events every year that are the equivalent of one. For instance, Content Marketing World is the largest convention for content marketing where many of the top names in the field talk about the latest trends and technologies.
If there is an industry event that your audience will pay close attention to, creating some content around that event can also be a regular part of your content marketing yearly calendar.
Once you have a list of holidays, the next step is to create a list of holiday-related topics. One of the great things about writing content for the holidays is that most pieces fall into a few well-established themes, especially for businesses.
As examples, here are some possible topics for New Year’s Day:
Here are some topics for Christmas:
This doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd, but if you need an easy and safe topic for holiday content following what others do can make it easy for you if you don’t have a better idea.
Another idea you can try is asking your audience for ideas before the holiday begins. This can help you understand their interests and struggles so you can create content that’s more relevant to them and to the holiday.
When you’re considering your topics, you may want to consider holiday-related keywords as well. Not in the general sense like “Santa Claus”, but about the things that searchers look for during this time of year that also speak to your business.
A B2C business would put in keywords related to particular holiday sales, but for B2B companies, predictions and trends related to the holiday are a better bet. You could write an article about your viewpoint on how the industry will perform over a particular holiday, as an example.
If a particular holiday is normally seen as a stressful time, you could also use keywords that point to how your business can help relieve that stress. A bank might post a piece or two on how to save up money for gifts before the holiday rush.
If you already have holiday-related content, another trick you can try is refreshing the same content year after year. By the time the holiday comes around again, the information may be outdated.
A content audit can tell you which topics worked well the previous season to help you target which topics are worth refreshing and which need to be scrapped or rewritten from scratch. For instance, if you wrote a “top upcoming trends in 2019” article, it’s time to update that for 2020 so you can start ranking for searches for this year as soon as you can.
Finally, give your content creators a break during the holidays by sprinkling in holiday content creation throughout the year to keep in reserve. It’s a good idea to build a buffer of articles anyway, but since holiday content is so time-focused it’s good to have those pieces ready to go. Then your writers can enjoy a vacation without thinking about meeting the next deadline or getting in a rush as soon as they return to the office.
What strategies do you like to use for your holiday content planning? Let us know in the comments.
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