Looking back on the years it is incredible to see how far my life – and work – have come. I couldn’t have conceived of the hardships I would face, the struggles I would go through, the triumphs and successes, the moves and changes. The industry I have dedicated myself to have shifted so dramatically over the past decade that it has become a whole new living, breathing force.
But looking at then versus now, do you know what has not changed a bit? The importance of content in any marketing strategy. Think about it, is content any less important today than it was ten years ago? Fifteen? If anything, it has become a more critical issue with the expansion of what constitutes as content on the web.
What was once a term reserved for email lists and gaudy, glittering web pages has opened to a broad array of videos, podcasts, slideshows, social media posts, infographics, comics… pretty much anything you can imagine now has its place in content marketing. It is incredible to see what we have all created.
Let’s see what the stats have to say on the matter:
- A study by Kapost have found that content marketing generates three times the leads per dollar when compared to paid searches.
- Updating old blog content can boost results up to 74%, according to Orbit Media Studios.
- Demand Metric has found that not only is content marketing significantly less expensive than outbound marketing, but it bring in three times the leads.
- Small businesses have 126% more lead increase than small businesses who don’t have or regularly update a blog, says Impact.
Content is pretty much still the head honcho in these parts. So how do you start making yours more successful, especially in a world permeated with competing pieces to draw away your viewers? It is time you learned about the beauty of seasonal trends.
Making Your Content Pop By Following Seasonality
There is, of course, something to be said for evergreen content. I would say that most of your work should strive to have long-lasting value for your audience because you will get more from it in the long term. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be investing time and energy into more timely content.
Seasonality is a great booster for your visibility. Plenty of businesses use this tactic to drive interest at strategic points. From there, they use other, more lasting content to keep them hooked. Think of your overall content marketing strategy as an aquarium, long term housing for your fish. Seasonal trends are getting a hold of those majestic creatures to begin with. These include:
- Holidays – Christmas, Halloween, national or international holidays, locally based special days… holiday trends are a great way to take advantage of seasonal interests.
- Common annual times – There are some cycles that happen every year. For example, back to school is a seasonal trend. So is flu season, or the months where everyone heads to the beach.
- Annual events – Is there a conference that holds significance in your industry? Does your audience watch red carpet events, like the Oscars or Emmy’s? Is some kind of major tech event coming up?
These are referred to as predictable trends because you can plan for them as far as one year ahead.
Unpredictable trends are usually associated with current events. These are not seasonal but they do have their place in content strategies. If you are quick to catch them, something that is circulating in the news or public consciousness can easily be used as a launching point for new traffic.
Getting Your Timing Right
This is the hardest part of seasonality. With predictable trends that have an annual basis, the major benefit is the ability to look back at past years and see through tools like Google Trends when it was that the interest started to peak. By looking year-by-year for, say, the last five years, you will be able to ascertain an average to work from.
Aim for launching your campaign right as the trend traditionally starts to rise. That helps you catch it just as it starts to gather interest and you can ride the wave through its peak. For most seasonal trends, this starts a couple weeks to a couple months before the event itself.
For biggest trends, you may want to wait for the final peak. Otherwise you may be tempted to publish months before it:
Don’t get discouraged if this doesn’t always pan out. It is more luck than art, so sometimes you will make the cut and sometimes you won’t. At the very least, it shows you stay current and relevant with what is trending on the web, or in your industry. Even if you’re not the one posting the freshest content about it. Just make sure what you do post is really good.
Focus your attention on predictable seasonal trends and make them as evergreen as possible based on the fact that it still has an inherent time stamp: Remember you may be able to re-use your content next year’s season!
On the other hand, too much of anything is never healthy. Sometimes a one-time piece (one that you don’t intend to ever re-use in the future) can be your most successful one. So add these to the mix too. Covering trends or sharing resolutions at the end of each year seems to never get old. This awesome article covering trends and timing it for the New Year by Primal is a great example.
Unpredictable trends are trickier. You have to be constantly vigilant and learn to recognize when a topic is just starting to gain traction. If you can hop onto the bandwagon before it becomes one you are going to be right there at the front, helping to steer it.
Types of Seasonality-Based Content
This style of content could be literally anything. Yet, there are some types that are making more of a splash and continue to be the go-to’s for many brands. They include:
- Gift guides
- Health guides
- Advent calendars
- Sales watches
- Compilation or round up posts
Here are a few specific ideas that may help you brainstorm further:
- Reach out to local businesses and come up with a collaborative meetup to bring people together! Publish a series of interviews from that meetup telling local business stories! Use sites like Dir Journal and Biz Journals to find those businesses to collaborate with.
- For eCommerce sites: Identify real experts on a particular topic, especially those experts that you don’t see invited often. These may include teachers and local journalists. Use the collective mastermind to create a huge guide timing it for an upcoming seasonal trend. Here’s how to find those real experts.
- Check out event speakers in advance, and arrange “Meet the expert” series a few weeks prior to the conference. These can be interviews, “About expert” videos, etc. Using the official event hashtag, you’ll see lots of social media exposure from conference attendees and experts themselves.
- Reach out to other bloggers in your industry and put together a product “bundle”, i.e. a collection of related products, sold/given away together. Check out BC Stack for this idea implemented well. If you are able to connect a lot of industry experts and get them work on a single seasonal product, you’ll position your brand as a niche hub which will benefit you in the long run, even if you fail to create an immediate ROI.
If you plan collaborative content assets as part of your seasonality-based editorial calendar, start working on them months ahead. Allocate at least a week for research, at least two weeks for outreach (including follow-ups) and at least two more weeks to put content together, format, etc.
Include Seasonality in Your Editorial Calendar
The huge advantage of using seasonality in your content marketing is your ability to plan ahead, as far as one year ahead. You can even schedule those content assets for them to go live when you are away (traveling, enjoying family time, etc.) This way you can ensure your content marketing consistency.
- Seasonality can be used to help you get inspired
- Seasonality fuels and directs your content marketing
- Seasonality lets you take advantage of popular hashtags and interest peak to increase the exposure of your content
- Seasonality helps you plan far ahead (and hence keep yourself organized)
I use Coschedule to plan my editorial calendar and I always make sure to label seasonal content ideas to be able to find them easier when working on the following year.
I also plan my seasonality-based visuals far ahead and make sure to schedule my key seasonal social media updates to my business accounts in advance. You can use Coschedule to do that too.
Keep It Seasonal
Your content strategy is the biggest weapon at your disposal, so make the most of it! Seasonality gives you an excellent blueprint for making timely, yet somewhat evergreen, content that can generate a boost of interest during the season itself, then sustain it through the year.
Just keep in mind the importance of timing and you will be taking advantage of this ace up your sleeve every year.
Have a tip for finding or taking advantage of seasonal trends? Let us know in the comments!