Christmas is one of the best times of year to be a content marketer. It offers a wealth of opportunity in both subject matter and for audience engagement. Your brand is almost certainly undertaking above or below the line campaigns which are perfect to leverage and the feel good factor surrounding the season of goodwill means almost everyone gets into the spirit of fun to some degree.
Importantly, internet usage is higher over the holiday season AND with lots of your content and marketing peers on vacation it could be a time to strike while you competitors are stuffing their faces with turkey and watching children’s movies with grumpy relatives.
So with all of these obvious benefits it’s safe to assume you’ve already planned your content campaign for December and into the New Year? Documented it, shared it with stakeholders, allocated the necessary resource and are ready to pull the trigger (if you haven’t already)?
No? Not to worry. It’s not too late. Here’s four ways you can still swing into action quickly to maximize your brand potential over the holiday season with cunningly clever Christmas content.
1. Repurpose your best content
A tried and tested tactic employed by canny (or perhaps slightly lazy) media professionals for decades to allow them keep the schedules and column inches full while having some time away from the office. Think TV re-runs, current affairs quizzes, ‘year in review’ articles, ‘best of’ cultural compilations, annual awards (both serious and satirical), lists, lists and more lists.
This content can all be produced well ahead of time and scheduled with minimum fuss and resource. However for added engagement try to throw some real-time activity into the mix running pop quizzes, polls and party-time promotions on the fly using your re-purposed content as context or taking the pulse of the web on any given day and reacting.
2. Christmas themed promotional content
Stuck for a little inspiration? C’mon, it’s Christmas. Think big like Coca Cola did in the 1920s when they invented the modern day Santa Claus.
There are about 25 days in Advent, 12 Days of Christmas, three wise men, hundreds maybe thousands of local holiday traditions, marquee sporting events, mammoth, never to be repeated sales (yeah right!), everyone is focued on the weather, or travelling home, or what Santa is bringing the children.
Pick your favourite and brainstorm some content ideas around it. Perhaps 12 online promotions, one for each day from the famous seasonal song or a surprise promotion each day in December as part of an Advent calendar themed promo.
‘Tis the season of goodwill – don’t be afraid to give lots of stuff away. People love free stuff and will be prepared to engage in some fun with your brand in order to try and get it.
3. Behind the scenes at your brand
Behind the scenes content was pioneered by the DVD industry as a way of adding extra value at low cost to their releases by leveraging the main feature through a different lens.
If you’ve spent a lot of money on a Christmas ad campaign consider the ways in which you might leverage it like the famous John Lewis ads in the UK which have come to national prominence in just a few years and garner thousands of analytical column inches.
Even if you haven’t a lot of existing content to leverage get creative. Look at what parts of your business people might be interested in, which people make the magic happen and use their Christmas stories (family, friends, traditions, etc…) to create a connection between your brand and audience. Or you could just spoof one of the big brands. Repurpousing other’s ideas works too.
4. User generated content
Do you have super fans? People who live and breathe your brand? Engage with them and help them evangelize on your behalf.
You provide a B2B product or service? Offer your service for free for one year to the business which can best help promote you.
UGC is fun, it’s cheap, it’s engaging. There’s barely a box it doesn’t tick. Look at what your competitors are doing and build on that or look for gaps you can successfully exploit, particularly when your competition is asleep.
5. Live blogging
Reporting live on events as they unfold is one of the cornerstones of the news media and for good reason. People want to be informed, want to feel part of the action and are afraid they might be missing out on something if they don’t tune in.
The live blog might take the form of a Q&A or Ask Me Anything with someone interesting or funny from your company (don’t use someone uninteresting or without a sense of humour. That could backfire badly).
It could be a fun ‘day in the life’ of your workplace. It could be the first day of your sale, your Christmas party, the morning after your Christmas party (only for the adventurous!), your team reporting in from their New Year’s Eve parties.
Google’s Santa Tracker set’s the global standard but there’s plenty of room for further innovation.
Bring lot of urgency, fun, frivolity and get your audience involved with competitions and banter.
Christmas content needn’t be a chore. ‘Tis the season to be jolly so cut loose, think outside the box and dish out some Christmas cheer. Your audience will love you for it.
Top tactical tips:
- Pre-prepare as much content as possible in November and early December.
- Create a content calendar detailing the timing of each publication and on which platform.
- Ensure you’re COPE-ing – create once, publish everywhere. Make sure you cross-post all content across all appropriate platforms. Drive people around your publishing properties.
- Schedule adequate resource for execution– don’t rely on pre-posting content. Make sure there is someone to check it when it goes live, make amendments if necessary and respond in real-time to your audience.
- Give away lots of free stuff – it’s nice to be nice.
- Don’t stop on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day or any other day. You gotta be always on to be always in the content game. If you snooze you lose.