How to Plan Your Content Marketing Strategy Around Seasonality
The key to executing excellent seasonal content campaigns for a local audience is preparation. Follow contributor Ann Smarty’s advice, use these handy tools, and never again will you be creating last-minute content while doing the last-minute gift shopping.
Would you be willing to capture more leads and sales with your local content marketing strategy? Would you like to be able to plan your content strategy years ahead and then re-use the same plan next year?
Seasonality can help with both.
When it comes to content marketing, seasonality means planning your content strategy towards a certain date, date range or a predictable trend.
For example, if you operate a local skiing shop, these would be your seasonal triggers you’d want to prepare your content marketing for:
- A planned beginning of the season
- A planned end of the season (deals!)
- Obviously, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (think: “Gift ideas for skiing enthusiasts in your family”)
- Local events around Thanksgiving and Christmas
- President week activities for around your area
- A yearly local winter festival
- Yearly skiing conferences or expos (especially those you travel to)
- Your business annual anniversaries or milestones (xx years in business, xx sales, xx successful customers, etc.)
- Labor Day (start planning your winter!)
- Father’s / Mother’s Days, July, 4… (slow season, so everything would do here)
Speaking of which, this article actually got me planning a family trip to one of these destinations!
[Who said there’s no seasonal marketing for a skiing business in summer?!]
6 Steps to Plan Your Content Marketing Strategy Around Seasonality
1. Create Your Calendar
The first step is obviously to identify all the seasonal trends, holidays and yearly events you want to target in your content. If you’ve been in the business (or even in the area) for at least a year, all you need at this point is to get together with your team and create a rough list:
- You can use a shared Google Spreadsheet calendar, which also comes with some holidays already added there.
- Alternatively you can integrate Google Calendar into your WordPress dashboard (here are a few ways to do that).
There’s no need to come up with 50 key points you want to build content around, because you’ll just end up overwhelmed. I suggest planning at least two content pieces a month for your high season and at least one content asset a month for your slower season.
Google Trends will be a great help in terms of identifying the exact timing. For example, people start talking about Thanksgiving October 14-15 every year, which must be a good time to start publishing and promoting your Thanksgiving-themed content:
As you can see below, people start talking about [snow] at the beginning of November in New York, which is probably the start of the high season for a skiing business located there.
Once you have your rough list of holidays and dates, map them out on your calendar using a tool like ContentCal. Creating campaigns there takes seconds and your team will see it approaching when they use their shared dashboard:
Clicking the ribbon inside the calendar takes you to the campaign brief, which you and your whole team can keep updated with related ideas, hashtags, etc.:
ContentCal is an easy way to keep everyone updated on what’s coming and get things planned months (and even years!) ahead.
2. Research Your Keywords
In most cases, you want your content – whether it is seasonal or evergreen – to rank. This is where keyword research comes in handy. The ideal scenario is that you will find a query that somehow bridges the gap between your business (your products, special offers, etc.) and the target event/holiday.
To help you brainstorm, here’s a handy filter you can apply when researching keywords using a freemium tool like Serpstat or Kparser. Simply run your core term and use filters to research seasonality:
Kparser can be absolutely free unless you need Search Volume and CPC data for each keyword. With a little bit of copy-pasting you can generate those numbers for your chosen keywords for free using free SEO tools like searchvolume.io and on the cheap with Keywords Everywhere:
[Keywords Everywhere is the browser plugin showing search volume, competition and CPC on a variety of platforms including Google Search where it also includes related keywords and “People Also Search For”]
It is also a good idea to use local question research when brainstorming seasonal content.
3. Create and Schedule Your Content
As soon as you identify your keywords and, consequently, your content ideas, you can start working on your own article. Again, the idea behind the piece you’re reading is to show how you can get most of the work done months ahead (e.g. during your slowest season), so creating and scheduling content beforehand is a big part of it.
Text Optimizer is my go-to content writing tool, as it allows me and my writers to get a better idea of what search users want to find when they are typing a certain query into Google.
Text Optimizer applies semantic analysis to extract related concepts and entities from Google’s search snippets that get generated for your target query. Pick 20-25 terms to include in your content as you are writing it to make it better-optimized and more in-depth:
Text Optimizer refines its suggestions based on your location:
The tool also helps you build whole sentences around the concept you chose to include:
4. Create Visual Assets
There’s no single perfect format for your content, so determine your content diversification tactics when planning your campaigns.
Start creating visual and video assets to go with that content for more visual appeal and marketing opportunities.
I use PlaceIt to quickly put together visual content assets for both evergreen and seasonal content. PlaceIt offers customizable templates for seasonal videos, video intros, and more:
I think this might be the biggest collection of animated templates that you can easily customize and publish.
5. Schedule On-Site Promotion
So your written and scheduled content will go live just in time for it to catch the rising wave of the seasonal interest. You don’t have to manually publish it.
But how do you automate increased visibility across your site? How do you avoid forgetting to customize your whole site to attract more attention and get it optimized for the season?
I’ve been wracking my brains about it until I discovered Finteza, that allows website owners to manage their own advertising program. I have been using this functionality to schedule seasonal banners to my newly published content. It works as follows:
- You identify advertising zones on your site (where you want you banners to appear) and place Finteza’s code on each spot
- You create a new campaign for each of your scheduled content assets and generate banners using Finteza’s built-in tool. You can schedule each campaign to appear on a certain day at a certain time as well as set the date when the banners will disappear.
For any locally-oriented campaigns, you can also set the location of site visitors who will be able to see the banners. This comes in very handy when running hyper-local promotions:
Finteza will also provide detailed analytics on each of your campaign performance, clicks, traffic sources, etc. helping you identify what has worked particularly well and how to build on this success next year. It will also help you avoid ineffective campaigns and get more focused, going forward:
Another tool that I keep running on my site to help with seasonal content engagement is Alter, which adds a smart marketing bot on my site that gets to know the page visitors and helps them keep engaged.
Alter is an AI-run marketing bot that is there to guide your users around the site 24/7.
It can improve your seasonal content conversions, but it’s also essential to set up an effective customer relationship management routine to nurture those leads as they come in. Here’s a good list of CRM software to choose from as well.
6. Schedule Social Media Promotions
Finally, you can go ahead and have your team schedule tweets and Facebook posts to promote your seasonal content when it’s live. ContentCal can come in handy here, too: it can schedule tweets, Facebook and Linkedin posts and even Instagram updates months ahead of time. You can also add multiple team members and moderators to diversify your feed while still maintaining consistent quality.
Encourage your team members to keep an eye on the campaign briefs to include:
- Noted hashtags
- Pre-created visual assets
- Mentioned brands and influencers
Takeaways: Planning Your Local Content Marketing Around Seasonality
Targeting seasonality is a great way to increase content marketing engagement. It doesn’t mean you should always be involved in creating and promoting seasonal content. You can plan and schedule most of the work ahead of time (e.g. during your quietest season) and handle incoming leads when it goes live.
- Create a list of local events and global holidays you can time your content to
- Use Google Trends to identify the best timing
- Create campaign briefs using ContentCal
- Research keywords using Kparser
- Create and optimize content using TextOptimizer
- Create seasonal promo videos using PlaceIt
- Schedule on-site promotions using Finteza and Alter
- Promote using all your available channels including social media (don’t forget your hashtags!), Google My Business posts, email blasts, etc.
Next year you’ll be able to re-use most of your calendar, create even more engaging content (based on your accumulated data and experience), save time on hashtag research and even update some of your old content for it to work again!
Don’t overdo it with the latter tactic, though: Google doesn’t like sites to re-publish the same content with the new date again and again. You do need to create more articles or introduce substantial edits to your existing content.
Are you using seasonality to create a better-organized, more effective content marketing strategy for your local business? Let’s discuss in the comments below?