It’s September 1st, and that means it’s time to start thinking about a whole new season for marketing. Staying in sync with your audience’s day-to-day – whether that’s seasonal themes or holidays or major cultural events – lets you reach them as people and have more authentic conversations.

But it’s not always that simple to tie into a holiday in a meaningful way. Follow these 4 simple rules and you’ll be on the right track.

1. Find an authentic reason to share

One of the worst things a brand can do around a holiday is insert themselves where they’re not welcome.

For any company, B2B or B2C, tapping into a holiday is all about relevance. Is there a good reason for your brand to enter the conversation?

Here’s what a good reason looks like:

  • Your brand has a direct connection to the holiday – this is like General Electric marketing around Earth Day. It’s a natural link to think about how we use energy to how we take care of the planet – so this would be a great fit for GE.
  • Your brand has an indirect connection to the holiday – this is a way for brands to connect with ideas and aspects of their brand personality they want to showcase. So a quirky software development company could market around Hug Your Cat Day, or a sleek enterprise solution could tie into Innovation Day.
  • Your audience has a connection to the holiday – this is where knowing your audience comes in handy. A company that knows their audience loves dogs should definitely do something for National Dog Day in August – and almost any brand can market around Halloween or Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t love those holidays?!

If you don’t meet any of those three criteria, stay on the safe side and skip this one.

2. Give yourself enough lead time (but not too much)

Marketing campaigns can take time to pull together – so give yourself enough time to find the right holiday and plan for promotion before, during, and after the date. We usually plan for a blog post two to three weeks before, along with social promotion; a second blog on the holiday itself; and a recap post afterward. Test out a few different timelines and see what works for your audience.

For some companies, promoting too soon doesn’t seem to work. In a recent study of B2C holiday email campaigns, YesMail found that marketers that sent back-to-school emails in the month of July saw less engagement than average; but marketers that sent those emails in the month of August and into the first week of September saw a significant uptick in engagement.

3. Create content your audience cares about

Marketing around a holiday or season is a great opportunity to try out some new, different and a little bit unique. It might not be worth the time investment (and it could feel a little random) to write a Valentine-themed white paper, maybe a relationship-themed quiz would be perfect for your audience.

DemandGen did just that – their “Sales & Marketing Relationship” assessment was right on-brand and relevant to their audience, for whom sales and marketing alignment is a huge issue. The results speak for themselves: DemandGen achieved a 53% click-through on the content, with 45% of users converting into leads.

Part of why this content works is that it’s bite-sized. Sometimes your audience isn’t looking for a full content meal: they just want a snack.

To decide what type of content to create, ask yourself what information you want to gather or share. Are you offering industry best-practices or assessing a user’s knowledge?

Here are a few ideas for fall:

  • “Back-to-school” industry best practices quiz
  • Halloween trivia quiz
  • Best industry Halloween costume contest
  • Scariest workplace scenario bracket
  • Favorite Thanksgiving foods poll

Different content types lend themselves to collecting or sharing different kinds of information. By that same token, certain holidays are a perfect fit for certain content types – brackets around March Madness, polls around New Year’s resolutions, or quizzes around big national holidays like July 4th.

You don’t need to create a pile of new content to run a holiday campaign. Small touches with a little bit of fun holiday flair go a long way, and can be quick to create.

Conclusion

Fall is coming up quick, and your marketing campaigns need to keep up! Use seasonal themes to build a stronger relationship with your audience, tying in your longer form assets and having a little bit of fun.

Want to learn more about building a great Fall campaign? Download our Worksheet!