How Can I Use Content Planning Tools Effectively for Seasonal Campaigns?

seasonalWhen most of us hear “seasonal marketing campaigns” we think about hackneyed marketing slogans like “jump into savings” or “ho ho ho holiday specials” – yikes! One reason for these regrettable marketing campaigns? Time, specifically a lack thereof. Rushing out a seasonal content marketing campaign at the last minute is a recipe for disaster. Like any great marketing campaign, seasonal campaigns take time to develop. You need to allow sufficient time not only for content ideation and creation within your agency, but also for your client to review, revise and approve the content. And if legal compliance is required, you’ll need to add on one to two additional weeks to pass through all the red tape.

Don’t settle for trite or cheesy seasonal marketing campaigns. The right planning tools make it easier to develop smart content marketing campaigns for each of your clients:

Start with buyer personas. Every industry has peak seasons that fluctuate throughout the year. These seasonal fluctuations are partially dictated by your client’s target audience. Clearly defined buyer personas will help you develop better content for your client in accordance with the seasons and determine which holidays or events are most critical so you can build your schedule around these.

Take the long view. The right content planning tools make it easy to work backwards from a specific event or seasonal period. For example, if you’re planning a major campaign for the fall, mark the campaign’s kick-off date on the calendar and then start working backwards. What’s the final deadline for content approval? When will you need to start pitching ideas? How long will it take to produce the approved content by the holiday deadline? Adding a few seasonal articles into your client’s regular rotation of evergreen content won’t be as time consuming on the production end as creating an interactive video, for example.

Pitch ideas early. Slapping together a last-minute campaign limits time for this creative development. Instead, get started early and take the time you need to develop real connections and genuine insight. Struggling to get started? Take a page from AirBnB’s impressive collection of branded content, including print magazine Pineapple that the company calls “a tangible collection of our community’s stories and inspirations.” Last year Contently spotlighted AirBnB’s seasonal and timely content collections including “Where to Stay for the TCS New York City Marathon” and “A Host of Haunted Homes.” Think about how your client’s products or services naturally align with the seasons or upcoming events.

Stay on top of your timetable. I add reminders to my content calendar for key deadlines, such as “final date to approve ideas” or “final date to submit article for publication”. Summer-themed content, for example, has a pretty wide span for publication (mid-May through early August) so there’s a lot more wiggle room for client revision and publication changes. A piece that’s specifically for July 4th, however, will have a shorter lead-up time and publication window. Other seasonal events merit content well in advance of the event itself. Tax advice, for example, should be published long before April 15th so folks can actually put your client’s advice to use. Take these windows into account when developing your clients’ content calendars.

Erin M loves adding stamps to her passport, photography, scuba diving, hiking and cooking. She has snorkeled with whale sharks, won over 10 Pollie Awards (the “Oscars” of political advertising), and volunteered as an English teacher for indigenous students in Ecuador.


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