12 Tips For Creating Your Content Plan This Holiday Season
By Marya Jan
Does the thought of approaching holidays overwhelm you? Does your strategy mean ignoring this glaring fact and hope for a miracle? You are a small business owner and you know the importance of mainlining your social media presence at all times. And that includes holidays.
And so when you realize that Halloween is just around the corner, or Christmas isn’t that far away, you feel an anxiety attack coming on. Don’t worry. I am here to help. I wrote this post just for you!
I’ll be walking you through some of my favourite tips and strategies to keep you sane during the holiday period. You won’t disappear from your preferred social media channels and yet you will have time to enjoy the holiday.
Sounds like a challenge?
Bring it on.
#1 Identify your goal, audience, and timeline
The first step before you create any piece of content for the holidays is to think about what the goal is. Are you launching a new product during this time? Have you got a sale on? Are you bringing in new leads or you just looking to maintain your social media presence and raising brand awareness.
Depending upon what you want to accomplish, you will be looking at different pieces of content. Also, who you want to attract will influence your content. Is it a brand new audience, current audience, or existing customers? This will set the tone for your content.
Lastly, how far in advance are you planning your content. If the holiday is two weeks away, it might be best to write two holiday themed blog posts and create related social media images using Canva or PicMonkey. If you have been really good and working out your strategy 6-8 weeks out, you need to sit down and plan your content properly.
#2 Plan your content
Holidays are a fantastic time to strengthen your relationship with your audience, drive traffic to your website, and increase sales. In order to do that you need to keep getting in front of your ideal audience. You need to put together a plan to create extra buzz.
Decide if you are going to have a theme for your holiday schedule or will you be lessening the frequency of your blog posts and social media updates. Know whether you will be launching a sale, a new website, newsletter, or a new social media campaign. Also think about the help available for you to manage content during this time period. Have you got a team working with you? Have you got a social media manager to help you out?
Start planning a month in advance, so you create a timeline for your content, and work with a schedule. Everybody should know what their role will be. Don’t be afraid to assign someone the job of collecting ideas and images that might be relevant to your followers during this time.
If you want to create your own images, know that this job is time-intensive so make sure you block plenty of time to get this done. If you are planning to go away, the social content calendars become even more critical as they help you plan and manage expectations while you are away.
#3 Schedule your content
While you are sunbathing or spending your day dressed up as Frankenstein, your audience should not be deprived of the awesome content you put out. Especially when their attention spans are short and loyalty is fickle.
You want to stay on top of things at all times. Use your favourite scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Edgar to avoid last minute scrambling.
You can use your blog platform (such as WordPress), or email service provide (like GetResponse) to create and schedule blog posts in advance. This will save you a headache and you would be able to put your feet up and actually take some time off to enjoy the holidays.
Just make sure you stick to your overall plan and pay attention to the types of content and the timing. Aim for an interesting mix of content that will keep inviting engagement from your audience.
#4 Redesign your website homepage
Show off your holiday spirit by adding a touch of festivity to your website.
I’m not asking you to redo everything, but how about adding some imagery in key places. Maybe a pumpkin or two, a splash of orange, or updating your images with a dressed-up photo? Just adding some colour or holiday-based symbols can make things interesting for your customers and add a fun element to their browsing experience.
You can do the same on social media platforms. For example, you might change your Facebook page cover photo. Create a Halloween theme board on Pinterest or tweet out photos of what you, your team, and even loyal fans are doing this holiday season. Add holiday cheer to your Instagram photos.
Create a consistent experience across all platforms from your website to Facebook page to all other social media outlets.
#5 Create holiday-specific helpful content
Combine the holiday festivities with solid tips. Give your audience tips, tricks, and hacks to do something and tie it to your theme. If you are photographer, why not teach them how to take gorgeous photographs that don’t look like everybody’s standard holiday photos? Or maybe you’re a social media specialist, kill two birds with one stone and teach people how to create social media content during this holiday period.
Your readers will love you for sharing your talents and gifting them with tutorials and guides while most people are slacking off. Remember, if you are going to create this type of educational content, you need to do this ahead of time so schedule your calendar now.
Lastly, use your products strategically. Follow the 80-20 rule of promotion. Use 80% of the posts to engage, educate, and empower while 20% of your content can be promos.
You might want to offer some holiday-themed promotions also. Do a holiday giveaway or pair up with a charity to encourage people to buy. Create coupons for your online store. Send out a personal message in your newsletter to get them to visit your website.
#6 Repurpose your content
Look back at the content you published in 2015. What performed really well? Which piece of content received lots of interaction and engagement? Any other content that really surprised you by surpassing your expectations?
Now get ready to repurpose this content. Block some time in your calendar to do this or outsource this job. Here are some ideas on how to get the job done:
- Have you written an ebook? You can take a chapter and repurpose into a blog post.
- Have you gotten an autoresponder in place? Take one email and repurpose it.
- Got a video training? Take a chunk out that gives people a big a-ha moment and post on social media.
Blog posts that were written specifically for the previous holiday season can be broken down into bite-sized social media updates for Facebook or Twitter. Old photos can be used on Instagram as ‘last year I was doing this, how can I top it this year?’ So much fun.
#7 Curate content
What if this is your first year in business or blogging, and you don’t have tons of content to repurpose? Worry not, I have a solution for you – you can look into content curation.
Curating content just means that you look for what’s already been published by other people and compile it into a blog post. What you need to do is to go back to your Evernote, if that’s what you use to bookmark content, or start researching for relevant content (make sure it is high quality). You can also outsource this job to a college grad or someone looking to gain some experience.
Publish an epic list post linking to the 100 links on your topic, or do regular sized blog posts as simply posts helping people discover awesome content on the topic.
Not only do people love that, they also love sharing this type of content. Boom!
#8 Crowd-source content
Do you sometimes ask guests to bring a plate of food, salad, or dessert to your party? You can do the same with your social media strategy.
Invite people in your network; your readers, colleagues, customers, clients to contribute to your content schedule. In other words, crowdsource content.
Ask people to share personal stories. Compile blog comments on a hot topic. Get in touch with influencers in your industry and ask them 2-3 questions and publish. Ask readers to share their photos as related to that particular holiday.
#9 Give support
It is so important that you respond to any question, query or negative feedback on social media. The fact that it is a holiday doesn’t let you off the hook. Especially if you are open for business. In fact, this might be a really busy time for you, and you want to capitalize on it. You want to get as many referrals as you can. Customers might have questions on how to use their newly bought products or regarding products they are interested in purchasing. Respond to them in a timely fashion.
Know that you will be monitoring activity on social media even if you are not 100% active. Maybe assign specific days to your team members so not everybody has to be switched on all the time.
Offer a positive experience. If you receive less than positive feedback, deal with the situation immediately. You want people to say good things about your company no matter what time of the year it is. The goal is to generate positive word of mouth.
You don’t need to stay glued to the screen to know what people are saying. Monitor your social media profiles and also set up alerts to know what people are saying about you.
#10 Get someone to monitor your channels
While scheduling content is very practical, you do need someone to engage with people on the spot. You need someone who will be posting images, replying to comments and blog comments. You need someone to respond to questions regarding products and services and offer trouble shooting tips.
Get someone to look after your social media accounts if you are away. Make sure they know your brand voice and style so they can confidently answer messages or respond while maintaining brand identity. Don’t be reactive only. Teach your social media support to remain proactive.
#11 Size makes a difference
Depending upon the size of your company, you may be able to bypass all the tips mentioned above. However, I didn’t want to say this upfront in case you feel like I’m giving you permission to get away dumping everything behind.
What I’m saying is this – if you are a small company or new to business, it just might be sufficient for you to unplug your marketing and social activity.
Recently Marie Forleo did this. She shut down her social media doors for a number of weeks where she and her team took a break from business hours. If an 8-figure business can do this, so can you.
#12 Share a selfie
Spread some holiday cheer by posting personal photos. These can be photos with family and business-family. Instagram some behind-the-scenes photos. If you are away, it is totally okay to share selfies occasionally. Your audience would love the inside scoop for sure. Just make it tasteful, relevant and timely. And don’t go overboard.
So there you have it.
My top tips to keep you sane these holidays and remain confident that you are on top of your social media calendar.
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