In the constant battle for traffic, leads, shares, and sales, many marketers forget to pay attention to one key thing:
As a brand, you need to constantly innovate new ways to market to your audience. People become desensitized to the same messages being conveyed over and over in a similar way.
That’s where seasonal content can bring your business back into the spotlight.
Seasonal content marketing is a great way to add variety and capture (or recapture) your buyers’ attention.
It’s content that’s either themed around that particular season or helps your audience take more advantage of it.
With big retail brands, you see time-specific marketing in the form of “Fall Sales!” and “Holiday Savings!”
In content marketing, you may see it in the form of seasonally themed infographics or helpful guides related to that time of the year.
But what makes it effective?
First, you get to capitalize on B2C buyer mania:
- Black Friday
- 4th of July sales
- Viral branded content marketing campaigns
Buyers plan for these seasons and are ready to pull out their wallets. The goal of seasonal content marketing is to make sure your business is the one they think of first when their wallets come out.
Next, you also get to capitalize on B2B events, like different quarters and bank holidays.
Seasonal content is often more shareable than regular content, which boosts brand awareness. And the season is already on their minds so your content enters naturally into their lives.
Learn how to dominate Q4 with a fresh seasonal content marketing campaign
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The Two Main Kinds of Seasonal Content
The “seasons” aren’t limited to winter, summer, fall, and spring.
In fact, just about any trend related to your business can be considered a season.
There are two main kinds of seasonal content marketing:
- Time-based content (the regular seasons of the year)
- Event-based content (Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, bank holidays, etc.)
There can be a lot of overlap between these types, but if you happen to be caught in both seasons, you’ll need to determine whether you’re targeting one or both.
Examples of Seasonal Content
Here’s the key with seasonal content marketing:
You should make your product or service the centerpiece of the campaign, not the season.
The season is merely a vehicle to change up your marketing and make it more shareable.
For B2C companies, here are some great examples:
1. Gift guides
2. Seasonally themed infographics
3. Holiday or seasonal recipes
Here are some ideas for B2B companies:
1. Business strategies that work best for that season
2. Product guides to get a leg up on your competition
3. A great example of B2B seasonal content from Personnel Today
Keyword Research for Seasonal Content Marketing
By definition, seasons are trends.You can be sure to see these trends reflected in both monthly searches and search engine traffic.
Even though the odds of most businesses creating content and getting it ranked that same season are low, you should still base your content around these keywords for two reasons:
- You know those topics are popular for that season and are more likely to get shared
- You might end up ranking for them next season
Here’s how to find seasonal keywords:
First, head over to the Google Keyword Planner. Then type in a keyword related to your niche:
Scroll down and click on the “Keyword Ideas” tab and hover over the “trends” icon next to your keyword.
This will show you a graph of its monthly searches over the past year:
As you can see, searches for the keyword “buy running shoes” peak around the beginning of the year (New Year’s resolutions) through summer (nice weather) and drop back down around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If I was a shoe retailer, I might run seasonal content marketing campaigns about “how to buy the right running shoes” starting in January. I would also publish content about how to follow through on a New Year’s resolution (and maybe even some real life case studies!)
Since people tend to hit the gym and exercise before summer, I would give that campaign a boost around April—May.
Then I might tone it down and finish off the campaign once September rolls around, because people aren’t as interested in buying running shoes.
If you want to know exactly what’s trending at any moment, Google Trends is a great resource.
Simply type in a topic you’d like to get some data on, and Google will tell you what’s trending on the Internet at that particular time.
You can then use this data to send out content that’s extremely relevant to that time period.
Timing Your Campaigns Correctly
Timing is critical in seasonal content marketing.
To maximize your results, your goal is to get two things right:
- The start of your campaign
- What types of content you publish/promote and when
You should start your campaigns just before the peak of the season. This makes sure you’re one of the leaders, rather than following in everyone else’s footsteps.
For example, according to SiteProNews you should be starting your Christmas campaigns in early October. This is when customer demand begins to rise, as people buy gifts in preparation for the holiday season.
Starting promotions before your competitors also helps your company stand out.
However, if you start too early, your campaign might fizzle out before interest really starts to climb. So start slowly and gradually push out your better content.
This builds anticipation and makes sure your best stuff isn’t falling on deaf ears.
Anticipate the Seasons and Prepare
Many businesses are subject to consumer buying trends. This is where you get “slow” seasons and “busy” seasons.
Especially for these businesses (but not solely for them), it’s important to take advantage of slow times and prepare for the busiest times of the year.
First, you should know exactly when your busiest seasons start. Mark them on the calendar and make sure everyone at your company is aware.
Then, during your down seasons, research the possible buying trends for each busy season.
Use Google Trends to see what topics in your industry were trending last season. This will give you insight into what types of content will perform best.
If you’re in the middle of the season, use Google Trends to find out what’s trending right now.
Then, brainstorm how you can make your content unique. Look at what your competitors published last season and see how you can improve upon it:
- Can you add better graphics?
- Can you make it longer and more detailed?
- Can you include additional resources that your audience would find valuable?
- Can you incorporate viral components, like hashtags, that your competitors tend to ignore?
Characteristics like these can help your content stand out.
To plan your content, you should also establish an editorial calendar. This will keep you and your team on track with planning, creating, publishing, and promoting all of your seasonal content:
This WordPress plugin makes it really easy:
Finally, identify the key business objectives you want to achieve. These can be, but are not limited to, the following:
- Social shares
- Email subscribers
- Lead magnet downloads
- “Add to Cart” clicks
When next season is almost upon you, analyze how your last campaign went and what you can do better this time.
Content Promotion Considerations
As with any content marketing campaign, content promotion is King. Without promoting your content to the right audience, it won’t do much for your business (no matter how good it is).
But when promoting seasonal content, don’t forget this notion:
Seasonal content inherently involves temporary interest.
It’s best to focus on social media and outreach campaigns that you can turn on and off at the drop of a hat. This will maximize your reach and ROI.
You should be able to push out your content quickly, effectively, and to the right audience.
Here are a few methods I suggest:
- Facebook ads
- Google Adwords
- Paid Twitter promotions
Each of these tactics act like a traffic faucet that you can turn on or off whenever you want. You can even control how much exposure your content gets, based on the monetary investment you put in.
For example, to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and in between both days) Dell used Facebook ads to increase sales 150% through paid social advertising and get a 2.16 margin of return on their ad spend:
They also managed to beat their original revenue goal by a solid 8%.
These types of paid advertising strategies give you the ability to push out your content quickly and reach the right people at the best possible time.
Drop “Time Bombs” Into Your Content
“Time bombs” are references to current events. You can throw these into your content or sparse them around your campaign as articles themselves.
An example in the marketing space could be when SEOmoz rebranded to Moz. Referencing an event like this, or basing some of your content around it, could help your content get more exposure.
In the B2C realm, you could reference pop culture events, like the release of Justin Bieber’s Christmas album:
Time bombs give your audience hooks they can immediately connect with.
This could be referencing something from pop culture, a trending story in the business world, or the outcome of a sporting event.
Whichever you choose, time bombs can make your content more relevant and more shareable.
Match the Season to Your Brand
The season shouldn’t decide how your brand is portrayed. It should act as a vehicle to get your brand’s message out there in a different and unique way.
In other words, don’t let it take over your message.
B&Q, a British home improvement and DIY retailer, did this beautifully with their #ChristmasUnleashed campaign.
This campaign was seasonally themed, but continued to convey their core message of “unleashing the DIY expert within you.”
Here’s the accompanying ad from 2014:
Remember your “Why” and your business’s core values.
Remember how your business ultimately helps people, and send that same message in ways that fit in naturally with the sentiments of the season.
What does your business offer that’s relevant to that particular time? It’s not just about your products and services, but about connecting to the very real emotions and situations your audience experiences.
Match the season to your brand, not your brand to the season #SeasonalContent
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Wrapping It Up
Seasonal content marketing can be a powerful way to take advantage of people’s natural buying trends.
But rather than inundate your audience with “Holiday Savings,” you enter their lives on the same wavelength.
Just remember to:
- Base your content around keywords that you know are trending for that season
- Time your campaigns just before the peak of each season
- Prepare during your slow times
- Use paid promotion to get your content out quickly and effectively
- And match the season to your brand
How do you plan to use seasonal content? Let me know in the comments below.