When businesses hear the term “seasonal”, one of the first things that come to mind is the Holidays.
But that’s not always the case. In fact, as long as it’s a relevant event – like local summer concerts – that’s important to a lot of people, it can be considered as seasonal. Why wait for December to rake in the profits? There’s Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving (to name just a few). Digital marketers and business owners can benefit from seasonal marketing all year round as long as they know how to time their strategies right.
But where should you start? And what about niche industries like construction and healthcare? How can they pull off amazing content without appearing promotional? Here are six seasonal content marketing tips that any business can implement this 2016.
#1 Begin SEO Efforts At Least Six Months in Advance
One of the main reasons why many content marketing efforts fail is because digital experts forget to tie in search engine optimization in their strategies. Although it’s become crucial to promote brands on social media, it doesn’t mean that people don’t use search engines anymore. With over 3.5 billion searches every day, Google has become more important than ever – it’s just that today’s online users are on different platforms (i.e. on their mobile).
One of the most important things you will do for your SEO is keyword research. Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush to create a list of relevant terms for your campaign. You may also check out Google Trends or Google itself (see “related searches”) for applicable keywords to add to your list.
When optimizing for search, remember that results take a while to be noticeable. If you can afford it, do SEO from six to four months ahead.
Check your on-page elements such as: H-tags, meta descriptions, sitemap, and page titles so that search engines can properly crawl and index your content.
Next, make sure your website loads fast and seamlessly on different platforms.
If you’re a local business, verify that all your information across different online channels (like review sites) are up-to-date and correct.
Prepare your onsite blog to contain seasonal content for visitors.
Don’t hesitate to consult an SEO expert if you’re not sure where to begin. Plenty of agencies offer free consultations nowadays, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of those offers.
#2 Create an Editorial Calendar
Whether you’re a novice or an expert on content marketing, having an editorial calendar will make all the difference. Here you can keep track of what content to publish, when it should go live, and where it needs to be promoted. This is especially useful during huge events such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas, when stress levels run high so people tend to mix up crucial information.
Veteran content marketers suggest preparing content at least four to two months in advance for any seasonal campaign. Creating them too early might make people forget your pieces too soon; while publishing them during the peak of the hype will bury them under all other content. Timing is essential: so use your editorial calendar to the fullest.
#3 Prep Your Ads
Decide early on if you want to use PPC to boost the effectiveness of your seasonal marketing project. These may be implemented about two months before the real event.
Although you can run ads throughout the year, seasonal campaigns differ because there needs to be a sense of urgency. Businesses that can benefit most from PPC are those in retail, travel, and dining. But if leveraged properly, even those in construction, legal, and medical sectors can gain plenty of exposure from paid ads.
#4 Start Making Visuals
Did you know that colored visuals boost people’s eagerness to read content by 80 percent? That’s enough reason for you to take your images seriously.
Editing stock photos isn’t enough: photos need to be exclusive to your purpose, of high-quality, and has their own personality. If you can’t afford to hire a pro photographer, ask your staff for help. Is there anyone in your team who loves photography or practices the hobby? Take a look at their samples and decide if it could be a good fit for the vision you have in mind.
Compile amazing photos into different categories (such as for social media, blogs, PPC, etc.) so it’s easier for you to pull them out once the campaign begins.
#5 Prepare Your Social Media Prowess
Content might be King – but marketing is its Queen.
Prepping your social media strategy – and your social media accounts – should also start months in advance. However, this will depend on the following factors:
The type of campaign
The length of the campaign
The results you want
For instance: Holiday social media marketing campaigns tend to be a huge thing, that’s why marketers prepare for it about four to six months ahead. Businesses expect to make big profits from sales during this time as well, that’s why strategies during this season are more detailed, in-depth, and leave less room for improvisation (when you’re aiming for income, the last thing you want is to test drive an unproven method).
But for shorter campaigns, such as small local events or special holidays, perhaps you and your team might want to take this opportunity to experiment with new techniques. Also, take note of a) your number of followers, and b) how you will engage with negative feedback. There are trolls out there: and people will be watching your every move.
If you’re still unconvinced about whether or not to invest on seasonal content marketing, think about future marketing efforts: with seasonal content, you don’t need to keep re-creating stuff for annual happenings. Simply optimize your pages again, review your past strategies, and update. Plus, if you were able to do proper SEO, your seasonal content will remain relevant and continue to show up on search results – long after your campaign is over (as long as someone searches for it).
For maximum results, don’t forget to reach out to Influencers in your industry. These people could be bloggers, PR personnel, or businesses like you. Partnerships are always a good idea if you want to widen your market reach. But do remember to contact them months ahead! Don’t just pop an email asking them if they want to work with you a month before the event.
You don’t need to be in an exciting enterprise in order to execute an amazing seasonal content marketing strategy. You just need a tactical plan, a bit of creativity, and a lot of patience.
About the Author:
SEO consultant Al Gomez is the man behind SEOExpertPage.com and Dlinkers, a company dedicated to complete digital marketing services. With more than nine years of experience, he enjoys supporting smartpreneurs like himself achieve online success.