Planning for seasonality has long been an aspect of many a marketing plan, taking into consideration Christmas, Easter and summer trends to plan how we distribute our messages. However, with the addition of online to the marketing mix, we must begin to think about how we can distribute our message much more granularly.
Why would you have an Easter sale, for example? Is an Easter sale just an excuse to add your voice to the mix for the sake of it – even when Easter has absolutely nothing to do with your brand? When planning your content marketing strategy, taking seasonality into account can be extremely important. We recommend beginning by identifying the holidays and events throughout the year that matter to you and your audience and adapting your marketing strategy accordingly.
It is also important to think about what your competitors are doing. There is nothing wrong with looking over the other side of the fence! If something worked well for a competitor, why not look at how this may benefit you? At 4Ps Marketing, we continually monitor competitor strategies to harness the elements that may be insightful for our clients. Also, what is your audience looking for? With the introduction of Hummingbird and the growing relevancy of search query-based content, it’s important to consider what the user is looking for both in the SERPs and when they visit your website.
For example, we want to avoid saying: “It’s mother’s day! Let’s write an article on how mums are awesome!” Instead, we must look at how this might benefit the overarching business goal. If we are looking to push yoga in the winter months, then why not promote a campaign or competition to encourage mums to get fit, or work with bloggers to design a 12 week yoga-2-fit challenge?
Companies often say to us that they do not believe that their product is interesting enough to get people talking about it. This is not an excuse for little or poor content! Customers will always be willing to talk about a product when they have enjoyed a good service and the product has met their expectations. Marketing managers must find ways to engage with them on a meaningful level through creative seasonal content.
Mark Warner & the Sochi Games
Our client, family holiday provider Mark Warner, looked to capitalise on the popularity of the Sochi games by sending a range of journalists from national, local and trade publications out to learn to ski. The journalists were tweeting in real time and the follow up articles appeared online, as well as in the newspapers. Mark Warner now have six family blogger ambassadors working with them throughout the year. They have a huge reach within the family blogger community, so are perfectly poised to help seed content out.
Polly Ashman, Brand & Communications Manager at Mark Warner, thinks that companies shouldn’t be afraid to partner with other brands as it is a great way to share content and reach different audiences. On this particular campaign, Mark Warner partnered with the Snow Centre, sending a blogger’s children off to have lessons. They also worked with Skiplex (a treadmill type ski machine), which has venues in Basingstoke and Reading where they held a family weekend in February.
They also collaborated with Profeet, the ski boot company, who gave us some great tips on finding the best ski boots and what to look out for when you are hiring kit for the first time.
Mark Warner also insured that their sales team were briefed on their beginner ski content so they could advice new skiers and direct them to certain areas of the website.
And the results of the campaign? Dedicated beginner ski weeks were up 20% and Ski School bookings up 15% YOY.
Brands are publishers
When planning for seasonal content it is important to look at both topical content and evergreen content (content that lasts throughout the year) and plan accordingly. This will help to cement your position as an authority, as well as provide a deep association with your audience. By planning for evergreen content in advance, we are able to identify events and market changes that we are then able to communicate with customers in an intimate way.
However, as mentioned above, we are not always able to plan as far in advance, especially when looking at topical content. It is important to have flexibility within your communications and distributions strategy to enable you to respond to topical events and unexpected headlines.
There are many brands doing great stuff distributing their content through multiple media channels. However, many brands are still yet to master this at a localised level. It is important to ensure that content is produced in a localised way as this will enable the brand to connect with its customers in a more personal way. For example, Mountain Warehouse provided 100 pairs of wellies to the flood victim support network for all those who have been hit by this year’s floods. Although there was not a direct return for the brand, the gesture was well received by both the network and the flood victims, meaning that those residents now see Mountain Warehouse as a brand who really cares.
We can now monitor our localised and brand content through effective data monitoring tools. We have recently incorporated more advanced segments such as the weather into our analytics platform. This enables us to look at how our localised content and landing pages perform in different areas of the country alongside the external environment. When measuring this content we can also see how users are interacting with our website in real-time.
If you are planning a local event, why not look to see how users are interacting with your content online and see which supporting pieces of content are contributing to sign ups? Equally, if you are looking at pushing the sales of snow boots this year, then why not see what the weather was like last year for real insight.
4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how SEO, content and PR are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in consumer behaviour and commerce, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and technology across all inbound channels.