Tis the season for sharing! I thought I’d start off this lovely transition into winter by sharing some easy to implement content marketing strategies for getting your audience to take notice of your promotions (and, frankly, your ads) in this season of oversaturation. I know you’re all busy as hell, so let’s just jump right in.

The key to creating engaging content year-round is being authentic. If you’re not staying true to your brand (which is, if you did it correctly, also true to YOU), then getting people to listen is going to be difficult. And that’s true for both dedicated followers and new readers. People are inundated with media, and most of them are quick to spot bullshit. So just don’t do it if it feels fake, forced, or selfish.

Now, for seasonal content all the same rules apply, but you’ve got to be more nimble and entertaining than usual. People are distracted with their personal and professional lives. The last two months of the year and the first month of the new year fly by. If you want to cut through the noise and reach your audience you need to either: A.) publish the content that they’re looking for, so they come to you or B.) reach out and touch them directly.

 How to Create Powerful Seasonal Content:

  1. Get outside the box and be yourself
  2. Plan ahead so your tips, tricks, advice, or stories can be put to use
  3. Lace your content with the theme of giving

Quit Hiding Your Personality and Get Outside the Box
Is your audience sarcastic, funny, have a flair for the dramatics or always seeing the silver lining? Then play that up in your seasonal content. The holidays are a time to be yourself and share that realness with your audience. You’ve spent all year being professional, politically correct, and generally boring. Now’s the time to inject a bit of personality into your marketing. Keep your message on brand, but add a bit of flair.

Show that your business is living in the season just like all your customers, competitors, partners, and associates. Maybe you crack a timely joke or two, maybe you publish an ad with a different, jollier tone. Or, pull back the curtain and start talking about what matters most whether it’s why you started your business, your company mission or a side project that’s super meaningful to you. Let us see your heart.

After all, the holidays are a time of reflection. Stay aware of where your mind travels in the coming weeks and constantly ask yourself – would someone else find this useful, is anyone thinking these same thoughts, is there a bit of humanity here that I can weave into my business story and use to connect with consumers? Identify those pieces of you, even if they aren’t what you would normally publish, and share them. Unless they are downright offensive or totally irrelevant, let people see you (or your business) in a more intimate and authentic way.

Plan Ahead so People Can Actually Use Your Content
If you’re publishing seasonal content, you need to make sure to send it out with enough time that people can use it. On the other side of the coin, you don’t want to send it too early and miss the momentum of the universe at large.

I try to publish articles and share links the same way I imagine retailers push sales. While people are just starting to think about activities involving my services (or products, in the retailer’s case) but before they feel rushed.

Point and case – I am publishing this article the week before Thanksgiving. That means you have time to implement these tips before Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, and if you’re quick even before Thanksgiving. But there’s still a sense of urgency. The holiday season is almost upon us and that month between turkey day and Santa’s arrival is going to fly by – you know it, and I know it. So get going!

Weave the Theme of Giving into Your Seasonal Content
I get it, a lot of you can’t afford to “give” much away in the form of material items or discounts. That’s not what I am talking about, in fact, I often dissuade clients from offering discounts on products and services. Bundle packages or promotions – OK. Discounting your work, not so much. It sends the wrong message, but that’s a blog for another day.

What I mean by infusing your content with the theme of giving is share what you can in the form of knowledge, kindness, warm wishes, etc. Sharing personal insights, stories, and how you’ve overcome obstacles (or cool free tools and things you’ve found this year) is an excellent way to “give” without dipping into your bottom line (which is especially important for startups and freelancers, like me).

For example, I signed up for Buffer and Feedly (and no, those are not affiliate links) in 2015 after more than six months of playing with the free versions. I was actively using the scheduling features for about two months; then I stopped altogether. This fall I started using it again, and I am SO PLEASED with the results. Every time I spend 10 minutes loading curated articles into my Feedly to share (via Buffer), I am rewarded with more likes and connections on my social media pages. It hardly takes any time, but I have been able to connect with other like-minded people using these tools. It’s awesome.

The point is, you don’t have to offer tangible things. If you want to and can afford to, great. But as the adage goes “it’s the thought that counts” you can share nontangible yet meaningful information, ideas, support or guidance, the list is nearly endless.

Whatever you have to give, give it freely now. We’re conditioned to question gifts from strangers (and sometimes even people we know). However, this time of the year most of us let our guard down and are more receptive and willing to accept gifts of all kinds. Leverage that to authentically connect with people (and subtly promote your company by building goodwill).

Pro Tip: Use emotional power words throughout your seasonal content. Ideally, you’re going to use a few all the time, but as mentioned above, people are more receptive during the holidays, so now is the perfect time to use words that reach out and touch them. Here’s a list of power words to get your feet wet. Above all else, use language that is true to you. The content (and any power words you use) should always resonate with you and your brand.

Your Turn
How are you connecting with your audience and what are you giving away this year? Share your thoughts and a link if you’ve got one.