Between the eggnog, the turkey, and fruitcake cookies, you may be prepping to get stuffed full of holiday goodies and holiday spirit. But is your content calendar just as stuffed full of holiday-ready content ideas?

Without proper planning, your business’s holiday marketing may be about as effective as a lump of coal. It’s never too early to start planning your holiday content.

Whether it’s Black Friday or Christmas or New Year’s Eve, every holiday presents an opportunity to stand out from your competitors and grab some of that holiday traffic.

Having a content game plan even months in advance ensures that you won’t be stressing when the holidays come around.

Want to get a head start and create a content “advent” calendar of your own?

Here’s how to plan out all of your holiday marketing content while still having time to enjoy the festivities.

Anticipate the Trends

The holidays come around every year, so whether you have been in business for a while or are just starting out, it’s likely that you’re aware of some yearly trends. If not, it’s worth a Google search to pull up studies that have the stats from previous holiday seasons.

For example, one study found that mobile app usage and mobile shopping go up during the holidays – likely because people are trying to avoid the crowds and the inconvenience of making multiple shopping trips.

At the same time, marketing trends show that more consumers are on the prowl for deals during this time of year, trying to strike a bargain to save some cash.

What does this mean for your content strategy?

Well, by staying in tune with the trends, you can better anticipate what type of content will strike a chord with your audience.

  • Do you need more articles optimized for mobile search?
  • Need to launch some sweet discounts?
  • Are users searching for holiday gift guides?

With the numbers in front of you, you can create content that you know people will be looking for.

Ask Your Audience

Can’t find data regarding holiday trends in your industry? Ask your audience what they want.

Many marketers and content creators skip the market research step even when it comes to regular content planning, thinking that they already know what their target audience wants.

The truth is, the best way to know is to ask them directly.

Prior to creating your holiday content strategy, send your audience surveys regarding what kind of content they are hoping to see during the holidays.

They may not tell you outright, but you can brainstorm some of your own ideas based on their answers to questions like:

  • What’s your #1 concern going into this holiday season?
  • How are you planning for the holidays this year?
  • What are you most looking forward to during the holidays this year?
  • How could [your brand] help your holidays run smoother?
  • What’s your best holiday memory?

The list of questions can go on and on, but the goal is to get a better idea about their goals/concerns/struggles/interests going into the holidays. With this information, you can plan out content that is of interest to your audience.

Further, sharing a survey is a great opportunity to tell them, “Hey! Look out for our great holiday content coming out soon!”

Audit Your Existing Content

Before you create any new content, you need to audit your existing content to assess what you already have, what content could be updated, and what new content should be created.

If you have been in business for a while and have published holiday-related content before, it may be possible to update your content for the new season. Or, it may make sense to start from scratch.

Ultimately, it depends on whether the content is current enough to be relevant for the upcoming holidays and whether there is ample traffic potential.

For example, with holiday content, often users are looking for tips, gifts, news, and trends for the current year. They may be searching for “2019 holiday guide” or “best new years party ideas 2019”.

Your 2018 guides may be chock-full of last year’s keywords. The tips or products on the list could be outdated. You should decide whether you should optimize it for the current year, or write a completely new piece of content.

You should also factor in existing content for internal linking purposes to help drive traffic to additional pages on your website.

Activate Creative Content Planning

Once you have some past holiday data on-hand and some tip-offs from your existing audience, you can dive into the fun part of content planning.

Now’s your chance to think outside the box and brainstorm content ideas that are relevant to the holidays.

Keyword research is a great place to start.

You can play around with holiday-related terms and identify keywords that are work creating content around for your site.

If your marketing strategy involves search engine optimization, this is the way to go.

However, you may want to create content for other marketing channels as well. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and email marketing are all channels to consider.

  • What topics would really grab your audience’s attention on these platforms?
  • In what ways can you repurpose the content for wider circulation?
  • Are there any killer content ideas that you can think of that would stand out from the competition?

Have a brainstorming session and see what you can come up with.

Align Topics with Your Goals

Not every content idea is going to be gold.

After generating an exhaustive list of ideas, it’s time to narrow it down. It helps to start by identifying which content ideas most closely align with your business goals.

For instance, if your goal is to generate more organic traffic, sending gift boxes to Instagram influencers may not be the way to go.

Similarly, if you are hoping to create a buzz on social media, pouring all of your energy into a 30 Days of Holiday Deals email campaign likely won’t get you there.

Pick out the content ideas that:

  • Align with your existing business goals.
  • You know you can execute successfully.

Diving into new waters during the thick of the holiday season could result in a dire sink or swim situation for your content marketing.

Arrange Topics by Timeliness & Priority

On theme with the point above, your holiday content needs to “make sense” for your business.

In other words, it should strategic, planned out, purposeful, and on-brand. Simply creating content for the sake of being festive won’t do much for your marketing.

That’s why it’s recommended to also consider arranging your content in terms of timeliness and priority.

Not only should the content be ready for launch prior to the actual holiday, but if you are creating multiple pieces for a single holiday, the content should make sense in progression.

For example, a “Complete Guide to Getting More Holiday Traffic” would naturally come before the “Ultimate Guide to Converting Holiday Traffic into Leads”.

Assuming your audience will encounter multiple pieces of content from your brand, it’s best that your content is organized in a sensical and strategic way.

Add Seasonal Photos

The holidays are full of feelgood smells, sights, and sounds. Tap into that nostalgia and the holiday spirit by adding seasonal images to your content.

Images have been found to make content more engaging, and one of the best ways to snag some of that holiday traffic is to engage users with some festive, attention-grabbing images.

If your budget allows, ditch the stock photos and capture some high-quality images of your own.

Or, hire a graphic designer to make some on-season images for your blog posts, social media posts, and ad campaigns.

You can then repurpose this content across platforms, saving you time and money on your holiday content marketing.

Advertise Your Content Across Platforms

When it comes to content creation, I’m not a big fan of the “post and pray” method myself.

Why rely on one platform when you could generate traffic from multiple channels with a single piece of content?

Some platforms worth sharing your content on include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Your blog
  • YouTube
  • Email
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Paid ads
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Guest blogs

Map out a content plan and schedule that includes when and how you plan on posting your content across multiple platforms.

With tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, you can even write your captions and set the featured images in advance.

Simply schedule it out ahead of time and you won’t be scrambling to post content during the holidays.

Analyze Results

To truly make the most of your holiday content marketing, it’s best to monitor progress and adjust your content accordingly.

While it may be tempting to simply publish and put up your feet, it’s likely that readers will have questions, and inquiries will come flooding in.

You should be prepared to handle an influx of new leads and traffic.

On the other hand, you may find that your content doesn’t go viral and that you need to tweak things to give it a boost.

You or someone on your team should be available to respond to readers’ comments, fix technical issues, further optimize content, and put out any fires that may come up.

Information is power. Having the data at your fingertips will give you the power to make major improvements in your content and learn valuable content planning lessons for the future.

Apply Past Lessons to Future Content

If creating a holiday content strategy isn’t your first rodeo, it’s likely you have a few tips and tricks that you have picked up from previous years.

If so, it’s best to avoid making the same mistakes twice. Some risks just don’t pay off, especially when paired with the stress of the holidays.

On the other hand, maybe your content strategy has always gone off without a hitch, or you are diving into the world of holiday content planning for the very first time.

Even so, be sure to align your content with your business goals, create content that your audience is interested in, and add that special, festive touch for the holiday season.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita





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