Planning Your Content Calendar For 2016
As I begin to to write this blog I realise that perhaps it would have been better to get this sorted before Christmas. But, as they say, better late than never. And indeed, there’s no reason why you should have to wait for an ‘official’ new year to pass before you make the commitment to plan ahead.
A 12-month editorial calendar really has no beginning and no end. Rather it’s a constant cycle, as predictable as February coming after January, and Christmas always falling precisely on December 25th, whether it’s 2016, or 2116.
My point is that there are many very predictable dates that happen every single year that should form part of your content strategy as a matter of course. I covered this very point, as a matter of fact, in a post for this very blog last year – ‘#StPatricksDay – Extending Your Reach With Trending Hashtags‘.
That post went live on March 16th – one day before St. Patrick’s Day – and it allowed us to promote the blog across Twitter using the trending hashtag #StPatricksDay.
Now, I’m no prophet, I have no magical powers nor Nostradamus-esque-ish abilities to predict the future. But what I do have is a diary and a calendar – and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this year, once again, St. Patrick’s Day is going to fall slap bang on the 17th of March.
I also know that International Women’s Day will fall on March 8th, Easter on March 27th, Thanksgiving on November 24th, and good old Christmas once more on December 25th.
With all of this valuable information in mind, not only can I start thinking about content strategies that can piggy-back these predictable trends and marketing opportunities, but, if I’m super-organised, I can even start creating the actual content that I can use when the dates finally arrive.
Now, admittedly, I’m not always the most organised person (see ‘How To Never Miss A Deadline Again‘), and so I can’t realistically say that I’m going to start writing my 2016 Christmas blogs next week to ensure that I’m well prepared for the silly season when it comes around. But, what I can say – and indeed what I am encouraging by putting together this blog post – is that we can all start planning ahead right this second by coming up with a content calendar for the upcoming year, ensuring that we don’t miss any important, opportunistic dates that will increase exposure.
Indeed, the plan is, by writing out the calendar and getting ahead on any blogs we can ahead of time, then we will have more time to dedicate to reactive marketing, where we have to, indeed, react to any unpredictable events and hashtags that may crop up throughout the year.
And so, I’m now going to produce both for myself and for you a whole 12 months’ worth of eventful dates that will be trending when those times come throughout the upcoming year, which will mean that, by creating relevant content, you should be able to increase your exposure across social media as people search for trending hashtags. What’s more, because I’m nice, I’m even going to offer some content suggestions to get us both started. Ready? Let’s go!!
Key Dates In 2016 For Hashtag Marketing
- January 25th – Burns’ Night: Commemorating the life of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, the #BurnsNight, #haggis and #neepsandtatties hashtags will be trending on this date, and so content that relates to all things Scotland should perform well here. Why not try out a promotion that makes use of ‘A Red, Red Rose’ (i.e. the title of one of Burns’ most famous works).
- February 6th – Six Nations Rugby Starts: One of Europe’s most exciting rugby events will be garnering a lot of attention throughout February and March, with associated hashtags aplenty. Jump on the back of these trends with content that celebrates this glorious sport. Some ideas might be SCRUM (an Agile software development model, though one that can be interpreted to incorporate marketing or indeed organising the build of absolutely anything), or anything to do with ‘tackling’ – ‘How To Tackle Social Criticism Like A Welsh Prop Forward’.
- February 7th – Super Bowl 50: The most exciting day for American sport. All football Sundays accumulate to that one day when every family enjoys the finale, the commercials, and the half time show. A lot companies and brands use the #SB50 hashtag to get on the bandwagon. Tackle this one by getting into team spirit!
- February 8th – Chinese New Year: Also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, hashtags will be popping up in celebration of this event come February. Lanterns, fireworks and Chinese Lion Dances are all powerful images that surround this date, which you can of course use to promote your blog content. In the food industry? Great! You can create content surrounding Chinese eating.
- February 14th – Valentine’s Day: Love is always in the air in the middle of February. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to cash in on some lovey-dovey content. Check out ‘10 Quick-Win Ideas for Valentine’s Day Email Campaigns‘.
- March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day: See ‘#StPatricksDay – Extending Your Reach With Trending Hashtags‘.
- March 27th – Easter Sunday: Baskets, eggs and bunnies – Easter presents a wealth of opportunity for the content marketer. Off the top of my head, why not create a promotion where you offer ‘Free Easter Basketing’ (i.e. free shipping) on all orders over the celebratory weekend.
- April 23rd – Shakespeare Day/St. George’s Day: If you’re in England, then you of course won’t want to miss the opportunity to jump on the dragon-slaying back of St. George’s Day. But, the 23rd of April is also Shakespeare Day, and so all the internet world is indeed a stage for your most creative content marketing ideas. How can you align your product with the works of the most famous playwright in the English language? ‘The Taming Of The Shrewd: How To Quell Your Most Cunning And Troublesome Trolls’? Something like that, perhaps?
- May 12th – The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations Begin: The Queen is 90 this year, and this will undoubtedly cause an internet storm. So content surrounding the 90 figure will be most appropriate: ’90 Ways To Use [Insert Name Of Your Product]’ is a challenging yet spectacular blog title that you’ll probably need to start working on now.
- June 20th – Summer Solstice: How about a campaign about darkness and light, or a giveaway celebrating the height of summer?
- August 5th – Rio Olympic Games Start: An Olympic year will produce no shortage of campaign opportunities. So, start thinking Brazilian – but don’t be rude!!
- September 2nd – VJ Day: This date celebrates the official end of World War II. It’s a sobering date, for sure, and so will require a due amount of respect. Not a date to launch a special promotion, but as a sensitive and in-touch brand, you will do well to observe it on Twitter and Facebook, and simply pay your respects.
- October 31st – Halloween: Time for some ghoulish giveaways again!! See ‘7 Tips for BOOOsting Your Halloween Email Marketing Campaign #Infographic‘.
- 25th November – Black Friday: Black Friday is on the 25th this year – so don’t get caught short. This is an opportunity not to be missed. Make sure you’re prepared!!
- December – What happens in December Again?: Nope. Can’t for the life of me remember. You’re on your own come Christmas time, friends! Oh, that’s right – December 1st is Eat A Red Apple Day. Don’t ask me – I didn’t make it up!!
Got any more dates we should be taking note of this year? Let us know in the comments below.
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