Late planning your Christmas content? Top tips to get it right

by Colm Hebblethwaite

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2020 is turning out to be an unusual year, to say the least, and many companies have had to modify their plans and adapt their strategies as a result. So if you are starting your Christmas content planning a little later than usual this year, rest assured that you are not the only one. But don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to do it right and get great results.

Nail down your review and approval process at the start

As a specialist content writing agency, we often find that it’s the review and approval process that holds up content, not the creation of it. It may not be the most exciting part of campaign creation, but having a clear understanding of exactly who is doing what and who is accountable for the different elements of your comms is vital. This is what creates momentum as your initial ideas turn to drafts, and guards against your project stalling as you wait for people to deliver feedback. Setting out roles and responsibilities before you start also lets people carve out enough time to dedicate to your project. Workloads always become more manic towards the end of the year as everyone tries to get everything finished before the team heads off for the holidays. Anticipating this, and planning for it, can save you a lot of headaches later on.

Review last year’s content…with a pinch of salt

Reviewing the work you’ve done before is important for good content planning. You need to know what worked and how your initial goals lined up with the results you achieved, both from an internal and external point of view. But you are going to need to add a generous pinch of context to the process this year.  This year’s holiday season is going to look quite different from previous years. While there is still joy and fun to be had, there is also going to be some uncertainty hanging over proceedings. So it’s unlikely that what worked well for you last year is going to hit the right note this year. It is hard to pin down exactly what kind of content will resonate with people this Christmas, but there has been a huge amount of overly-emotional messaging already this year and people may want a break. Equally, trying to be too chirpy could lead to people thinking you are trying to gloss over tough times.

Focus on the message

The current social and economic backdrop makes finding the right message more important than ever. What do you have to say that reflects where you are as a business, but also where you are aiming for? In a sea of snowflakes, snowmen and jingling bells, an authentic statement can stand out. It can be tempting to rush through this stage and focus on delivery when you are tight for time. But this is a recipe for a confused end product that, at best, doesn’t quite deliver, and at worst, completely misses the mark.

Optimise your support content

Once you have your message, you need to think about some simple and effective wins you can start getting in the bag. As a content writing agency, you may think our instinct is to suggest a whole boatful of new blogs, articles and social posts to get your message out there, but you can often do more with less. For example, old articles and blogs can be goldmines of great and unloved content. Consider sprucing them up and tailoring them to suit your new Christmas message. Then you can create new bits of content that build on this base for maximum effect.

Have a plan B (and C…and D too)

As unsettling as it is to admit, collectively we still don’t know what this holiday season is going to look like. Local lockdowns, restrictions on the number of people you can see, travel bans and the threat of a second wave might quickly lay your carefully constructed content planning to waste. If your messaging revolves around Christmas parties full of friends and laughter, it is not going to go down well if people are not able to attend these kind of events. Scenario planning and having a few alternatives up your sleeve will make a late pivot a lot less painful. One of the huge benefits of digital marketing is that you can change assets and deliver quickly, but only if you are agile enough. Involving your legal, compliance and product teams early on in the process means you won’t have to wait as long for the approval of assets if a late change in direction is needed.

Let’s get going

As we move from a strange summer into what is likely to be one of the weirdest winters in recent memory, it’s important to remember what makes Christmas so great. No matter what happens throughout the preceding 12 months, the entire country pauses for a week to focus on the things that truly matter. Even a global pandemic is unlikely to change that. There is still plenty of time to plan and craft great Christmas content, and we can help you optimise your processes and boost your capabilities. We are a specialist content agency after all, and we can embed our expert writers and strategists into your marketing team to make sure you’re making the most of your content this year.

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