'Tis the season for themed blog posts, all with a holiday bent. It makes sense, right? What better way to sound relevant than to talk about what everyone else is talking about, like those naughty elves on the shelves or the endless TV commercials for brand new cars wrapped in big red bows (who does this?). Not to mention the "best of 2014" lists that start around Thanksgiving and reach a fever pitch in the days leading up to December 31, serving as a kind of a farewell tour to the last twelve months.
We copywriters love planning December's content because so much of it writes itself: Hanukkah, first day of winter, Festivus, Christmas, Kwanza, New Year's. Ah, so many holidays to scribble about, so little time! (Hey, the spiked eggnog doesn't just make itself, people.)
But here's the thing: why do so many of us limit holiday tie-ins only to December? After all, holidays happen all year long, from the well known (like Valentine's Day) to the more obscure (National Baked Bean Month in July) to the OMG, really? (Talk like a Pirate Day, celebrated on September 19 around the globe because, well, why not?)
Planning blog posts around holidays throughout the year is an easy way to stay topical and provide creative marketing solutions for holes in your content calendar. To that end, here are five tips for producing perfect holiday blog posts, along with inspiring examples that'll get your creative juices flowing.
1. Don't stretch.
Because so many interesting holidays exist (check out Chase's Calendar of Events), you should choose ones that are, you know, actually related to your business. For example, if your company does home renovations in the Northeast, then finding a relevant spin on the National Day of the Cowboy is probably a stretch. If, however, you run a catering business, you could write an interesting blog post about this holiday's history and then provide two to three easy campfire recipes that cowboys might have used back in the day. See the difference?
2. Always be respectful.
Don't poke fun at a holiday, even if the holiday seems silly and worthy of a little online ribbing. Guaranteed you'll offend someone, somewhere, which will end up causing you a whole boatload of unhappy. (Remember, content lives forever on the Internet.)
3. Make a point.
Just because a holiday is relevant to your business, you still need to have an angle—your own individual slant. You should also keep your buyer personas in mind as you draft your post. What would a particular persona find interesting, relevant, newsworthy, or helpful about the holiday you're writing about?
4. Continue following blogging best practices.
Choose a keyword phrase and use it in the title, meta description, URL, and copy. Keep in mind that the holiday itself might end up being part of the keyword phrase (if you're a HubSpot customer, use the keyword tool or check out Google's free keyword planner for help). For example, if you're a retailer specializing in unique gift ideas, you might target a phrase like "Valentine's Day gift ideas." Adding the year onto the phrase is always a smart thing to do as well (those searches will pick up as the holiday draws near). So, using the example above, your final title might look like this: 8 Totally Thoughtful Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for 2015.
5. Remember, seasons matter too.
Think summer, fall, winter, spring. Or golf season. Or swimsuit season. Or apple-picking season. You get the idea. We bet you can probably come up with a bunch of seasonal topics related to your business (you'll see a couple of examples of what we mean below).
And now for some inspiration!
Bright Horizons rocks February.
Bright Horizons provides quality childcare and early education to kids across the US, UK, and Netherlands. Its blog is called The Family Room. This past February, The Family Room featured over half a dozen Valentine's Day-themed posts, including titles like DIY Toddler Valentines and Share the Love and Help Those in Need This Valentine's Day.
The latter is a GREAT case study in social media, since Bright Horizons ran an online event encouraging its followers to upload pics of their children's homemade Valentine's Day cards. For every photo uploaded, Bright Horizons gave $1 to Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. Talk about an excellent, fun, and meaningful way to engage a community during a popular holiday.
Amsterdam Printing understands seasonal impulses.
Full disclosure: Amsterdam Printing, which specializes in promotional products, is a PMG client. But the folks at Amsterdam do such a good job with their Small Business Know-How blog that we just had to include it here.
While the bulk of its posts are educational and related to marketing and sales topics, occasionally Amsterdam shares a post about its products (which makes sense—after all, the goal is to sell, right?). But here's what Amsterdam does brilliantly: it doesn't just randomly talk about products. It uses themes based on seasons and holidays. Here are a few examples:
- Road Race Essentials: 8 Promotional Products for Fall Classics
- Promotional Lunch Totes: Not Your Grandma’s Bagged Lunch (celebrating back to school)
- Small Business Saturday 2014: Tips & Strategies from the Frontlines (non-product related post)
The U.S. government offers an important safety message for Saint Patrick's Day.
Yep, we know what you're thinking: the US government has a blog?! It sure does, and a week before Saint Paddy's Day 2014, it took to its blog to provide an important message: enjoy the festivities on March 17, but make sure you designate a driver if you plan to drink. This shows how the US government found just the right holiday slant, without the stretch.
A tree service company makes a smart connection.
The Woodsman Company in Taylor, TX, is an excellent example of a small business making a natural connection to a holiday: Arbor Day. In its straightforward post from April, it discusses trees' many benefits by providing compelling statistics (e.g. "A belt of trees 98 feet wide and 49 feet tall can reduce noise by 6 to 10 decibels"). Simple, memorable, and on message.
HubSpot understands its audience's pain points.
You can approach December content creation in a gazillion ways. Here's but one example from HubSpot's blog. Refresher: HubSpot sells marketing software to businesses large and small. Its audience is facing a month filled with Secret Santas and Yankee Swaps, a time that can prove quite stressful when you simply don't know what to buy for that co-worker three cubes down from your own. HubSpot offers great ideas in What to Buy Everyone at the Office: An Essential Holiday Gift-Giving Guide. In this post, HubSpot embeds its own Pinterest boards for people to click through—talk about a clever way to get people to engage with HubSpot on another one of its many social channels.
What do you think? Have you spotted any great examples of holiday blog posts—or has your company created any? Feel free to share a link in the comments.
And, of course, if you need help creating an amazing blog editorial calendar for 2015, we'd love to help.