It’s only the first week of September and the sun is still shining, but before you know it the leaves will start falling, the air will get crisper, the nights will come quicker and the holiday season will be nipping at our heels. Now is the time to start getting your ducks in a row and begin planning your content marketing strategy for the holidays on the horizon. Keep reading for a one stop guide on how to prepare your content strategy for Holiday Season 2016.
What is Content Marketing?
It seems like every other article on marketing is about how to improve content marketing or secrets to successful content marketing, but what exactly is content marketing? Content marketing is any and all correspondence you create and distribute to inform, teach and engage with your audience with the end goal of building relationships and driving them to your products or services.
Content marketing is about more than finding funny memes and creating random blog posts; it is curating specific pieces that will interest your audience while also relating it back to what you can offer them. For example, if your business revolves around clothing and fashion, you wouldn’t share an article on cars. When your audience comes to your pages, whether social media, website or blog, that’s not what they want to see and it has nothing to do with your business. Keep your information relevant and you will see your numbers grow.
Content Marketing Statistics
Now that you have a better and more thorough understanding of what content marketing is, we can dive into why you should use it to increase your brand’s awareness and marketing effectiveness. These statistics from Forbes are evidence on the power and the continued growth of content marketing across all industries.
- Companies with more than 1,000 employees are less likely to blog than small businesses and entrepreneurs, and nearly half of all marketers say that this form of content marketing is the most important part of their strategy. The marketers that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a return on their efforts.
- The most popular content marketing strategies beyond blogging are social media, illustrations and pictures, newsletters and videos.
- Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with 94% of consumer based businesses using it. Behind Facebook is Twitter (82%), YouTube (77%) and LinkedIn (76%). While it’s the most popular, Facebook is also shown to be the most effective social platform, followed by YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.
- 71% of marketers report using visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy.
- Businesses catering directly to consumers tend to use infographics more than any other content strategy with over half, 63%, of those marketers saying they see a positive response from their use.
- There are 10% more marketers who have employed a content strategy this year over last year, and businesses have allocated more money to their marketing budgets to fund content strategy.
- The main content marketing goals for B2C businesses in 2016 have been to increase sales (83%), customer retention and loyalty (81%), and engagement (81%).
These statistics are proof that you should be increasing your content marketing strategies to meet the needs of your customers while gaining a return on your investment.
4 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
While you want to incorporate content marketing into your strategy, easily avoidable mistakes can wreak havoc on your efforts. We’ve already discussed how you should avoid using content not meeting the needs of your audience and doesn’t revolve around what your business specializes in, but there is a lot more you should steer clear of if you want to be successful.
- Not Setting Goals. This is about as important as making sure that you generate relevant content. Your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). Think about what you hope to achieve with your content and when you want to see those results. Where do you want to use content and how much content you need to meet your needs? You can’t be successful if you don’t know what you want out of it.
- Not Being Patient. You won’t see results overnight. It can take weeks or months to see any kind of return on your time and effort, so this is one reason why you want to get started on your holiday strategies now. Don’t give up; if you set SMART goals and follow through with content relevant to your audience and business you will be rewarded.
- Not Setting a Schedule. Create an editorial calendar to schedule out when you will post your content. An important part of success in this area is consistency. If you plan when to write and publish your blog posts, newsletters, emails and social media updates you will set yourself up for success.
- Not Being Personable. People like to interact with people, not machines or corporate robots. Give your content a human touch, and be sure to match your voice with your audience. That doesn’t mean throwing grammar out the window, but try to sound more relaxed and friendly.
These are just a few easily avoidable mistakes you need to make sure you dodge when putting together a content marketing strategy for the holidays. PR Daily also has a full list of 20 mistakes content marketers often forget and how to evade them.
Helpful Content Marketing Metrics
You’ve put together your strategy and began implementing it, making sure that you have avoided the mistakes listed above. Now what? Remember those goals you set? Now you need to see if you are reaching those goals and what needs to be changed if you’re not. Thankfully, here is a list of some of the important areas to measure to see where your content marketing strategy is doing well and where it needs improvement.
There are multiple metrics where you can focus your content measurements on, from consumption to retention to engagement. See below for some important areas you should focus your measurements on and why they are important.
Engagement. This metric is what it sounds like – a measurement of people engaging with your brand; here are some questions to ask:
- How is your audience engaging with your material?
- Comments on your social media – how many are you getting?
These are signs of how well you audience relates to what you are posting and if they are finding it useful. If you’re noticing there has been a drop in your comments or time spent on posts, look at what you’ve recently changed; it could signal your audience doesn’t engage with it the same way as before.
Cost. How much does it cost you to produce new content? This is more than just the dollar amount for the advertising space or the digital elements. It is also relevant to the time it takes to write and publish your pieces and the cost of paying someone to produce those items. You can learn a lot from these items. If you spend a lot of time writing and publishing, it may be more cost effective to .
Leads/Sales: What is the monetary return that you have seen from your content marketing? Have you gained new leads, clients or customers with the information you have posted on your social media or blog? Keep track of these numbers to see where you are getting the most monetary gain from your content.
While you should look at all the individual metrics separately, you will not have the full picture until you look at them all together and note how they interlock with one another. Just focusing on one element will not give you everything you need to know about how your strategy is performing.
4 Holiday Content Marketing Tips
Now that you’re armed with the tools you need to put together a successful content marketing strategy, here are some helpful ideas to keep in mind while you start putting it together.
- Plant the seed early. Now is the perfect time to start casually mentioning the approaching holiday season. Planting the seed early will start getting followers thinking about the next few months.
- Provide holiday survival tips. The holidays can be hectic; find out how your product or service can help your target consumers survive through the upcoming months. They will thank you for it!
- Hold a contest. Contests are a great way to engage with your customers. Giving the contest a festive theme will relate it to the season while keeping your brand top of mind with your audience.
- Create a holiday product or service. The holidays are a perfect time to introduce a limited time product to drive traffic to your site. Being able to access an item for a specific, short term period time creates excitement and urgency in your customers.
These are just a few ideas; there are countless other ways you can incorporate the holidays into your content marketing strategy. Check out these other great articles from Three Girls Media to learn more about content marketing and how you can use it for your business, no matter the time of year.
- Incorporating your Followers
- Adding Holiday Cheer to your Content Marketing Strategy
- Three Content Marketing Lessons from Planting Flowers
Before you know it the holidays will come and go, but following the helpful advice in this article your content marketing strategy will be set for success. Happy planning!