Around the world as late November kicks in and Christmas is on the near horizon businesses focus on making money during the major holidays. Entire industries including retail, automakers, technology and luxury spas realize the winter holiday period is indeed money time.
And so explodes like rockets the annual mad push to make the numbers. But savvy business owners establish a loving relationship with their customers throughout the year. There are three common elements these top content marketers utilize on a consistent basis.
The secret ingredients are uniqueness, effectiveness and coolness. The great news is that you can also apply these elements to your holiday marketing recipe and create a content mix that is abundantly potent.
Whether your goal is to get more people coming through your offline storefront or making clicks on your website, utilizing content marketing is the key to making it happen. According to The Content Marketing Institute; “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
We can see how our three elements add additional functionality to this definition. Content that is unique will be valuable to the audience. Effective content will activate the target audience. And cool content will be so relevant that it will strike at the heart of the community. Great content feels personal and customized to your audience. If you do not have the “right” content, you won’t get the “right” visitors and your traffic won’t convert into paying customers.
When most people think of content they think of text. Articles, blog posts and social media updates. This is only one of several types of holiday content that should be created. Visual content is shared more frequently and includes images, infographics and memes. Audio content like podcasts and interviews are great because consumers can listen while doing other activities. And what about video? It’s the most preferred type of content and you can use it to bring your audience inside your business. And for engagement interactive content like contests, polls, surveys and games that center on your customer can be extremely effective.
Your holiday marketing content should highlight what you’ve learned during the previous engagements with your audience. Through email, social media and mobile you have a good sense of what gets the best response from your target audience. For example, if a particular type of image, blog post or video spiked comments and social sharing during Halloween, now is the time to put it back into rotation. Your clients will feel like they’re seeing an old and trusted friend. And your brand won’t be viewed as a digital peddler who only comes around when he’s trying to sell something.
The shift to content marketing is a huge mountain for most businesses to scale. Traditionally the marketing game has been about brand promotion and pushing our canned message to the audience in heavy rotation. Content marketing requires a new process of creating and distributing content to attract customers. It’s pull or attraction marketing. It’s a dramatic shift in the marketing mindset and demands a steady stream of unique, effective and cool content emanating from your brand. This content can be original, shared or even crowd-sourced but it’s not a hard sell and the content has to be interesting, useful and valuable enough to stand on its own merits.
So how can this be done? Part of the psychology of marketing is to be able to change the point of view to what makes life better for your audience. For example, it is widely believed that the holidays can be stressful. Travel plans, shopping lists, family time and the impending deadlines all converge to make the season uniquely challenging and unpredictable. So what can you do through content creation and marketing to make it easier for your audience? How about creating a downloadable eBook, special report, or how-to guide that is perfectly timed to help those searching for ideas to counter the stress?
B2B marketers should be focused on creating content geared to help business people do their jobs better. In today’s economy people are cost conscious. How can you help your audience save money, time or both? What are you doing that is on the leading edge? Brainstorm a few solutions with your team that you can offer or create. Perhaps you deliver a content series instead of just a one-off so that your audience remains engaged over a longer period of time. Think of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”. It’s a great example of keeping the folks engaged over an extended period even in song.
I mentioned that visual and video content gets shared a lot more than text alone. So there is a greater opportunity for the content to go viral. What if you create a series of images that turn into a slide-show or picture gallery type of blog post? You could even create a new infographic by including some images, numbers and surprising facts or impressive stats that your audience can use and share. Make the complex visual and simple. And of course video is extremely powerful for telling your story. Make it engaging, behind-the-scenes, first-look or build some type of mystique that makes your audience want to share it across their multiple social media platforms.
Speaking of sharing make sure your content can be easily passed along. You need to have social sharing buttons, fast downloads and links that work. One of the biggest gotchas in content marketing is broken links. Whether it’s social media sharing, a link to a third party site or content you’re hosting directly make sure the links work and load properly. Because of the increased traffic during the holidays the demands on your servers can be heavier and the consumer patience is shorter. Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Now is the time to increase your storage or bandwidth so that the user experience is fast and responsive.
Finally the idea behind taking charge of your content marketing is to be proactive. Create and distribute unique, effective and cool holiday themed content that engages your audience and leads them to take action. By applying these tactics today you’ll build a loyal audience, increased relevance and increased revenue.
NORM BOND helps entrepreneurs and businesses increase their impact by embracing the potential of Internet and Web-based marketing, social media, mobile and digital communications. He is the author of “How to Make Money Online with Holiday Marketing” now available on Amazon. A global marketer, digital strategist and speaker he splits his time between Bangkok, Thailand and the U.S. He has a MS in Information Science and is an ex-IBM marketing rep.