The Importance of Christmas Content
Original and engaging onsite content will enable your brand to rank for your priority keywords and phrases during the competitive festive period.
Through the creation and optimisation of targeted, relevant content, you can achieve greater visibility in search engine natural result pages (SERPS) for the keywords you are targeting. This will lead to an increase in traffic to the website, as the higher the site ranks for certain key terms, the higher the anticipated Click Through Rate (CTR) to the site.
Having original, shareable content onsite will also help to raise brand awareness by encouraging visitors to the site to share your content with their friends and networks.
The effectiveness of onsite content is strengthened when supported by a tailored offsite content strategy. Publishing content on third party websites will drive more traffic to the website, attracting new audiences.
Types of Content
Once your Christmas keywords have been decided, divide them into three categories: awareness, consideration and conversion. Ideally we would expect a significant proportion of these to be conversion key words (directing traffic to product landing pages).
However, it’s crucial to remember that you reach the widest proportion of consumers at the awareness stage of the purchase process, and the smallest number at conversion. Therefore onsite content that directs potential customers down the conversion funnel is important. Remember – 79% of time spent online is spent not searching. So becoming a hub of interesting content that is driven by what readers like to consume (not necessarily what relates most closely to your brand) is key to maximising your online presence.
Examine Hitwise and other seasonal trend planners, for example we see ‘gifts for him’ search volume tends to increase from early November, whereas ‘gifts for her’ does not steeply pick up until December. So if resource is tight, getting gift guides for boyfriends and husbands up sooner is more in line with search trends.
To ensure that your ecommerce site is ready for the Christmas rush, start planning your Christmas campaigns early (July/August) and build your onsite content around the key products that you want to push over the Christmas period.
Your onsite content strategy should include the creation of bespoke landing pages dedicated to Christmas. These landing pages should be ready to go live by the end of September to ensure that your content is well established in time for the busy Christmas period and that your website will rank highly for the keywords and terms that you are targeting. For this reason, it is important to start preparing your Christmas content well in advance and following a targeted strategy to ensure your content best meets search demand.
A post-Christmas audit is important for understanding what content has worked well in the past. By analysing what you did onsite last year and the results that you achieved from any content created, you can begin to understand how your target market engages with content and your website over Christmas and what types of content had the biggest influence over purchase decisions and conversion rates. You can then use this insight to inform the strategy for next Christmas.
Always put your target audience at the forefront of your Christmas content planning and consider what content they are searching for and what questions they are asking. Creating relevant content onsite that will be useful, entertaining or meaningful to your audience is key to driving engagement.
Typical onsite content you could create include Gift Guides, Look books, Styling tips or How to guides such as ‘How to tie a bowtie’ – particularly useful for men over the Christmas party season.
Good offsite content is centred on the search terms to protect or improve during the Christmas period. As ecommerce sites begin to prioritize their Christmas pages, rankings become more competitive, therefore a cohesive offsite strategy needs to be implemented from September/October to enhance the visibility of targets and protect the visibility of key traffic and revenue driving pages.
Integration of Onsite and Offsite Content
- Offsite is notoriously difficult to measure the return on
- By having an on-site component we are able to strengthen the call-to-action of every campaign, sending traffic to the e-commerce site.
- It also enables us to better suit the work we do to the awareness-consideration-conversion journey:
- Awareness: general Christmas shopping guides (offsite)
- Consideration: specific shopping guides (e.g. ‘the girl who loves tech’) (offsite and on-site)
- Conversion: product pages (on-site)
Key Dates Calendar
AUGUST – Christmas editorial strategy and key web-site pages to promote. Competitor analysis: who else will be stocking the same/similar products, and what can be gained from their on-page strategy?
SEPTEMBER – Joined up strategy for on/offsite, social and traditional PR, outlining the responsibilities for each and they key themes and tone of voice.
OCTOBER – Outreach to Publishers, beginning events, content creation starts. Develop a contingency plan to deploy in December if search ranking starts to dramatically change when competitors up their game. (This shouldn’t be necessary, providing your search strategy protects your priority products, but is definitely good to have in advance).
NOVEMBER – Big push for offsite content to go live, while December content will have impact for search, we need to remember how competitive this period is.
Additionally, Cyber Monday falls on 1st December so ideally all your premium content needs to be live before this date, to maximise people shopping around the last pay-day before Christmas.
Think about the possibility of involving your brand ambassadors and Christmas Publishers in your sales strategy – many will already be talking about sales of their own volition, and you could capitalize on this with early previews tailored to their interests.
DECEMBER – Use Brandwatch/GA to understand how your content is landing, and where messages aren’t hitting correctly. Be prepared to act fast and use contingency budget to address any dramatic changes in search visibility.