holiday content marketing ideas

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday (well, almost) in the rearview mirror, small businesses everywhere are thinking about publishing content that has a holiday tie-in. Retailers have it made, but the tie-in isn’t so obvious for B2Bs.

Sure, if you sell commercial roofing systems you could talk about winter roof prep and remind customers that they don’t want to be the business whose poorly maintained roof dumped Santa ignominiously on his backside, right in the middle of the shop floor. Or, if you sell office supplies, you could write about the etiquette for sending holiday greeting cards to customers and clients. But what if you sell….I don’t know…

  • Floor wax? No, wait…you could write about how Christmas is a great time to wax the floors because so many employees take time off…
  • The soap that goes in the bathroom dispensers? No, not that either, because you could write about how people are extra-cautious with germs this time of year because they don’t want to be sick over Christmas…
  • Car batteries? No, that example doesn’t work, because cold weather can really do a number on automotive batteries…

Never mind…I’m sure there’s an example out there that even a world-class marketing team would struggle to connect to the holiday season. And that’s when it’s time to stop thinking about your product and start thinking about the people who buy it. And there’s one thing about Christmas that is common to the vast majority of adults in the U.S.: kids.

According to Gallup, more than 90% of American adults say they either have kids already or want to have them someday. More than half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 40 have kids, as do 86% of those over age 45. So if you write content that speaks to parents trying to survive the countdown to Christmas, there’s a good chance that it will resonate with the majority of your customers.

What are parents busy doing and thinking about this time of year? Well, I’m an older mom with younger kids (my youngest is 10, while some people I went to high school with are grandparents), I bet it’s pretty universal:

  • Trying to keep the schedule straight
  • If you have kids in more than one school — and those schools don’t coordinate their holiday programs — making sure each child has someone in attendance
  • Reminding yourself to make sure that your kids’ dressy shoes — you know, the ones they haven’t worn since Cousin Suzy’s wedding in February — still fit
  • Finding out what everybody really wants for Christmas (which isn’t always the same as what they say they want — especially if they’re in the Santa-testing stage)
  • Making sure that all of the kids appear to have an equitable array of gifts (because, even though large gaps in age = large gaps in price tags, the kids still expect to have the same number of gifts)
  • Stocking up on caffeinated beverages so that you can stay awake until after the kids are in bed on Christmas Eve
  • Making your Christmas grocery list and weighing whether you can buy everything before the kids are out of school for the break without giving everyone food poisoning
  • Coming up with 50 explanations for, “No, you won’t be getting a pony for Christmas” — or, in my daughter’s case, a pig
  • Trying to find that stack of return addresses you cut out from the envelopes of the cards you received last year
  • Trying to remember where you hid the gifts you’ve been stocking up on since August
  • Bemoaning the fact that, once your kids start asking very specific logistical questions, the whole Santa thing stops being fun and starts feeling like lying
  • Trying to decide whether to honor your daughter’s request to wear her first pair of heels on Christmas (and surreptitiously checking the weather, hoping to see ice in the forecast)
  • Spending 14 hours on Pinterest looking for new things to do with that dang elf
  • Wondering how risky it is to change the ringtone you use for your boss to the theme song from The Grinch

Obviously, you want to be sensitive, since there are people for whom parenting is painful. You would never want to mock people who don’t have kids, for example, even if it’s in good humor. But the point I’m trying to make is that, no matter what business you’re in, who your customers are, or what holiday they celebrate (or don’t), there are some things about parenting through this time of year that are almost comically universal.

These are the things that make a great tie-in for holiday content…the things that have your audience nodding their heads and smiling as they read. The things that leave them thinking, “Yeah, that’s exactly what it’s like!” or “Oops…I knew there was something I forgot to put on my to-do list!”

Even if your Christmas-inspired content doesn’t lead directly to a sale, that recognition of shared experiences strengthens relationships. It reminds customers that there’s an actual person on the other side of that sales brochure or invoice. It makes you seem more authentic (as long as it really is…you can’t get away with making this stuff up).

The bottom line is that shared parenting experiences can make people like you — and, at the end of the day, customers are more likely to buy from people they like.

Feel free to use any of the ideas from this list, but it’s even better if you come up with your own. The point is that the holiday season is a great time to shift focus from what you sell to who you are — and who your customers are.

For many American adults, parenthood is a defining experience that shapes their identity. But it’s not the only one. What are some other ways in which you can channel the Christmas spirit into content that touches your audience’s hearts in a way they’ll remember long after the tinsel and gift wrap are packed away for another year?