Marketing

12 Smart Holiday Content Marketing Strategies You Should Use in 2022

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The holidays offer businesses a unique opportunity to engage and excite their customers. Adding value, humor, and personal touches to your holiday content strategy can boost revenue during the peak holiday season and foster a stronger relationship with your customers.

The end of the year is stressful enough. Start your holiday content marketing strategy for 2022 right now and have one less thing to worry about when the holidays roll around.

We’re giving you a compilation of 12 of the latest in content marketing trends, exercises to brainstorm your holiday content, and actionable tasks to get you well on your way to a successful holiday content marketing season. Bookmark this page so you can refer back to it later!

Let’s get started!

1. It’s the most wonderful time of year …for content

So, when does the holiday season for businesses actually start? Well, it’s a bit of a moving target. That’s why it’s in your best interest to plan your holiday content in advance so you can be ready to publish once the timing is right.

The good news is, you’re here! You’re already thinking about the holidays, which is a great place to start.

You wouldn’t wait until the day before a sale to send an email about it, and you can’t expect to rank in SEO with your content overnight. By starting today, you’ll have a wealth of holiday content ideas “in the bank” once it’s time to go live.

Not sure where to begin? Don’t reinvent the wheel! Instead, take a look back at your holiday content from last year. What can you learn?

If you had content that performed well, maybe it only needs to be tweaked a bit to be updated. Use a holiday content calendar to get up to date on the trending keywords for the year. Of course, maybe there are some pieces from last season that you’d rather forget. You can learn from those, too!

Here’s what you can do:

Audit your existing holiday content for what can be recycled. If this is your first year creating holiday content, look through some of your competitors’ content from previous years to see where you can draw inspiration.

2. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, don’t get lost in the noise 

There’s no escaping the behemoth of the holiday season: Black Friday. Love it or hate it, it’s become a necessary component of your content marketing strategy. But with all the competition for your target audience’s attention, how do you ensure you get a piece of the proverbial pie?

  1. Have a compelling offer. If you’re B2C, chances are you’ve already got at least one offer you’re building your Black Friday/Cyber Monday content around. But if you’re B2B, the picture might be a little less clear. Rather than a discount, consider whether there is something you can add that comes at little or no cost to you and your team. Can you bundle a product or service? Offer a free consultation? Get creative here.
  2. Email early and often. According to Gartner, the typical B2B buying group consists of about six to 10 decision-makers. Factor this into your content strategy—you may want to start planting seeds for Black Friday a few months prior. But starting a few weeks in advance works well for B2B and B2C, as it offers more opportunities to resend. There’s no hard and fast rule for the best time to send a Black Friday email. Just know that there’s a lot of content coming at your customers.
  3. Drive urgency. Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers are only available for a limited time. Take advantage of it! Decide whether you’ll offer your deal all weekend or just on Friday (or Monday), and plan your content accordingly. Use countdown timers and reminder emails. Pull out all the stops to drive that FOMO!

Here’s what you can do:

Brainstorm your compelling offer. Using the guidelines above, what can you offer your potential customers that will not devalue your service or put a strain on your time?

If you already have your compelling offer, start planning when you’ll send emails to your list. Begin with Cyber Monday and work backward. How far in advance will you start teasing your offer?

3. Creating inclusive content during the holidays

It’s Marketing 101. “Know your audience.” You’ve done your homework, created buyer personas, and know exactly where they hang out and how to talk to them.

Year after year, businesses throw all that hard work out the window in the name of “tradition.”

Okay, that might be a bit extreme, but the fact is that now more than ever, your potential customers are looking at your holiday messaging with an eye towards inclusivity. So what does that mean?

Just because something’s worked for years doesn’t mean it’s reflective of the sentiment today. Go through your previous years’ campaigns with a fine-toothed comb. Have you been a bit myopic in your approach?

What feelings are you trying to evoke? What imagery are you using? Are these representative of all the people who would invest in your product?

Here’s what you can do:

Read this in-depth article on inclusivity during the holidays. Following the steps outlined there, begin thinking about your holiday messaging and how it will resonate with your specific audience(s).

What changes can you make to your holiday content to be more inclusive? And how will these guidelines impact the holiday content you create from here on out?

4. Holiday content gifts: It’s the value that counts

With all the sales, special offers, and general year-end craziness, it’s easy to become singularly focused on promotion with your content during the holiday season. But you wouldn’t promote like crazy any other time of the year, so what makes the holidays any different?

The content you share during the holidays can help deepen your relationship with your existing and potential customers. Maintaining a consistent, even balance between promotional and value-driven content will build on the trust you’ve established with your audience throughout the year.

Think about how you already add value to your content and ask yourself how you can expand upon that with holiday messaging.

Here’s what you can do:

Come up with at least three value-driven pieces of content for your holiday content campaign.

5. The personal touch that makes all the difference 

You use the rest of the year to build and foster relationships with your potential and existing customers through your content marketing. The holiday season is a terrific time to peel back the curtain and show your audience who you are!

Roll up your sleeves and get creative. Ask your employees to write letters to Santa or share what they’re grateful for this season. Share pictures of your team decorating the offices or behind-the-scenes videos from your holiday celebrations.

And a heartfelt message from the CEO can go a long way to building that deep personal connection a customer feels to your company.

Here’s what you can do:

Come up with at least three pieces of personal holiday content showcasing your team, company holiday traditions, and favorite recipes. You name it! Really have fun here. These personal messages don’t have to be super-polished, so let your imagination run wild!

6. Joy to the world: Keep it light during the holidays

The holidays evoke a lot of emotions, most of them warm and fuzzy. So there’s a lot of temptation to play into that with your content during the holiday season.

And while there’s nothing wrong with heartwarming content, it’s important to remember that the holiday season can be difficult for many people. Adding fun and humor into the mix is a great way to endear yourself to your audience (with the added bonus of being infinitely shareable).

Want a holiday humor double-whammy? Capitalize on nostalgia.

Google did this to great effect in 2018 with its “Home Alone Again” campaign.  This well-known Christmas movie is modernized to reflect modern technology, which showcases the company’s product while creating a memorable (and shareable!) piece of content.

You don’t have to create a big-budget short film to impact your holiday content. Work in tandem with the personal content we discussed above. These fun and funny pieces of content can work best when they’re raw and unpolished.

So what holiday classics or traditions do you think could use some lampooning? What will resonate strongly with your audience? And what is feasible with your resources at hand?

Here’s what you can do:

Brainstorm at least three pieces of humorous holiday content (bonus points if they incorporate nostalgia!). Song parodies, awkward family photos, silly video sketches …the sky’s the limit!

7. Gratitude is always on-trend

The end of the year is a sentimental time. And the theme of gratitude extends well beyond Thanksgiving itself, weaving its way through all the season’s holidays. So while it may seem cliché to give thanks for your potential and existing customers, that’s no reason not to!

Holiday content trends may come and go, but showing gratitude for your customers and community will never go out of style. People always love to hear they’re appreciated or have made an impact. How will you show your gratitude and appreciation through your content?

Taking it a step further, you may wish to do an entire gratitude campaign. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, you really can’t be TOO thankful. The only word of caution here is that your displays of appreciation must be authentic.

So get personal! Some examples include:

  • creating hand-written notes or letters
  • filming heartfelt video messages from your team
  • providing a special offer or discount code for your loyal customers
  • shouting out your customers or members of your audience on social
  • hosting a giveaway

Here’s what you can do:

Come up with at least three pieces of content showing gratitude for your customers, or outline what a gratitude campaign might look like for your business.

8. Don’t just give thanks. Give back 

Despite the obvious commercialism of the holidays, it is also the time of year when people focus on others. It’s the season of giving, not the season of keeping.

If you’re not very vocal about your charitable outreach throughout the rest of the year, now is a perfect time to incorporate it into your content. Does your business partner with an organization (either local or national) to do good in the community? For example, HVAC company Day and Night, located in Phoenix, AZ, gave back by donating A/C units to the Arizona Humane Society.

How does your company give back? And why is it important to you? If you don’t have an ongoing partnership with a charitable cause or organization, there’s no better time than the holidays to get involved. But, as we mentioned, in regard to gratitude, it must be authentic.

Which causes are aligned with the core values of your business? Are there organizations that are important to the members of your team? In what ways can you make an impact, first during the holidays and then beyond?

Here’s what you can do:

Either ideate three pieces of content around your company’s charitable outreach during the holidays or identify a cause or organization with whom you can authentically align in the short and long term.

9. Spotify does it. Why not you? The year in review

Sure, lots of brands do a year in review. Maybe you’re already doing one. Or maybe you internally groan every time another one lands in your inbox.

But the year in review is a fantastic opportunity to connect with your customers in a meaningful way. You might want to reconsider if this isn’t part of your holiday content plan.

So how can you make sure yours is resonating with your audience? Here are some pointers:

  1. Make it about them. Just like the gratitude content we’ve explored, your year in the review should make your customers and audience feel appreciated. People want to feel like they’re part of something or that they’ve contributed in some way.
  2. Get visual. Even if you’ve got a lot to say, break it up with GIFs, photos, or infographics. Blog posts with images get more views, and imagery is more likely to keep your audience engaged when reading a long-form email. And people love to share infographics.
  3. Know what story you’re trying to tell. As with all good marketing, you want to make sure you’re telling a compelling story. Take your audience on a journey that they’re excited to be part of. Set up where you’re headed in the next year, and invite folks to come along!

Here’s what you can do:

Brainstorm your year in review. Ask yourself these questions and see what types of content you can create from the answers.

  • What are some highlights from the last year that you’d like to share?
  • How can you make your content focused on the customer?
  • How will you make it interesting and fun?

10. Don’t make your audience find you—find them

Like the rest of the year, a diversified content strategy is the best way to ensure you reach the biggest possible audience. The people you reach with your content will have different interests, so they’ll likely spend time on different platforms.

When you think about your content creation, you should plan to repurpose your pieces of content for maximum impact.

Just because something makes a great blog article doesn’t mean it can’t work on Instagram. A wealth of content across platforms helps you rank higher in SEO (which makes it easier for your ideal customer to find you!). But not just any content. Quality, unique, and brand-consistent content.

This is the content strategy you should employ all year long, and that advice remains true during the holidays.

The good news is that you can easily turn one piece of content into multiple. A video for YouTube can become several for Instagram, an email can become a blog post (or an infographic), and a pillar post can become an ebook. And that’s just for starters!

Identify where you’re likely to capture the attention of your potential customers and plan your content accordingly.

Here’s what you can do:

Revisit the content ideas you’ve created so far and see how they can be repurposed for different content platforms. How can you turn one piece of content into three? (Or more!)

11. Consistency is key, even during the holidays

Other than your product or service, the most important component of your marketing is your brand. Your voice. You use the overall package (or gift wrap, if you prefer) to present your product or service to the world.

And, of course, your brand doesn’t happen by accident. It’s developed over time through testing and thorough research. But once it’s decided, you stick with it, right? Because your brand is critical to ensuring your customers’ trust.

You’ve spent all that time and energy (and probably a couple of dollars) to establish your brand in the eyes of your audience. So even though the holidays present an opportunity to reach your audience in a fun, new way, a consistent brand presence is very important.

But what does that mean?

The content you create during the holidays should feel the same as the content you create throughout the year. A disconnect will feel jarring to your audience and erode that trust you’ve worked so hard to build.

Is there anything more iconic than the red Starbucks cups? As a holiday campaign, it works because it still feels like Starbucks: simple and classic.

Here’s what you can do:

Spend some time thinking about how you want your holiday messaging to look and feel.

  • What are some of the key tenets of your brand?
  • How can you weave those through your holiday content?
  • What are some of the colors and images you can use to spread holiday cheer while maintaining your brand voice?

12. Make your list, check it twice: Putting it all together 

Here it is, the home stretch! If you’ve been following along, you should have a ton of content ideas to safely get you through the holiday season. You know how you want your holiday content to look and feel. It’s time to start plugging these into your content calendar.

Starting with the end of the year and working backward, create a rotation for your heartwarming, personal, humorous, and promotional content. Remember to add value more than you sell.

Here’s what you can do:

Plug your content ideas into your holiday content calendar. Then commit to the date by which this content will be written, created, and delivered. If you’re struggling to ideate content, Download our FREE “10 Proven Content Ideation Techniques Expert Marketers Use” and brainstorm some awesome holiday content ideas.

Wrapping it up

There’s no better time than the holidays to bring the world a little closer together. Here at ClearVoice, we are passionate about helping brands create better content because we believe helping people engage better with one another is a path to creating a better world. We hope you’ll continue to refer to this holiday content creation guide as you build out your marketing strategy for the 2022 holiday season.

And with all this new holiday content brewing, you might not be thinking about the other content needs of your business right now. Or maybe the idea of a holiday content haul has you reaching for the egg nog. If that holiday to-do list is looking a little daunting, we hope you’ll talk to us about how we can help.

When you create a custom content plan with ClearVoice, your dedicated team continues to ideate and create content for you so you can focus on whatever else needs your attention. Ready to cross-content creation off your wish list? Talk to a ClearVoice Content Specialist today!

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About the author

Erin Zapcic