Is your content marketing strategy ready for the holidays?  It may seem premature to begin planning for the holiday season in August, but now is the perfect time to get your content marketing strategy in order.

According to a recent survey, 62% of surveyed retail marketers reported that an early start on content and promotions was the most helpful holiday resource last year.  The same study also found that one-third of retailers who began preparing their strategies before September reported having a very successful 2016 compared to 22% who began preparing in September or later.

Clearly, the key to content marketing success is preparation.  With the holiday season right around the corner, here are few do’s and don’ts to help you craft a successful holiday content marketing strategy:

Do:  Personalize Your Emails

Are you still sending the same content to everyone on your email list?  If so, then it’s time to start personalizing your emails before the holiday season begins.

Using personalization to make your emails more relevant can result in a 2.5x higher click-through rate and generate 6x more sales.  To put it simply, you are leaving money on the table if you aren’t personalizing your email campaigns.

Don’t:  Have Dull Subject Lines

Inboxes are crowded at all times of the year, but they are especially full during the holidays.  Most marketers ramp up their sending frequency to capture more sales, which makes it more difficult for your emails to stand out.

Boring email subject lines won’t get consumers to read your content.  To cut through the clutter, you should start brainstorming attention-grabbing subject lines that your subscribers can’t help but click.  P.S.—it helps to know a few psychological principles that encourage more clicks.

Do:  Try Out Interactive Holiday Content

According to recent research by CMI, nearly half of marketers surveyed said that they currently use interactive content and 79 percent of them planned to use more interactive content in the future.  Why are marketers suddenly so interested in interactive content?

It’s simple.  With so much content being produced each day, your content needs to be unique and interesting.  By creating interactive content, you can break through the noise and differentiate yourself from you competitors.

Don’t:  Be Afraid to Get Creative

Interactive content is supposed to be fun and engaging.  For example, Buzzfeed’s weird quizzes are insanely popular and get tons of shares. 

This year, take a tip from Buzzfeed and get creative with your own holiday quizzes.  Use a tool such as BuzzSumo to discover trending topics and think about how you might tie them into a fun, seasonal quiz.  With a unique quiz, you can generate more buzz around your brand that may just lead to acquiring more leads during the holidays.

Do:  Leverage the Proper Tools

If you aren’t utilizing the best marketing tools, your holiday content marketing campaigns are dead in the water.  You can bet that your top competitors are taking advantage of robust marketing tools to make the most of their campaigns.  To remain competitive, you will need to leverage the right tools as well.

From creation to content distribution platforms, there are many tools that can streamline your content marketing efforts for the busy holiday season.  Don’t forget to read the case studies to get a better sense of how these tools are being used!

Don’t:  Let These Tools Do All the Work

Marketing tools can help business owners automate the mindless tasks that eat up too much of their valuable time.  However, be sure to avoid automating too much during the holiday season.

When you rely too much on automated marketing tools, you might miss opportunities to grow a personal connection with your audience. In turn, you might end up annoying them with irrelevant content. 

To find the right balance, keep a close watch on your data.  Acting upon your data in real-time is essential and presents a big opportunity to delight your customers—both new and old. 

Do:  Be Extra Generous

‘Tis the season, as they say!  There is something about the holidays that gets everyone in the mood to be a little more generous.  And we will tell you a little secret:  being generous can pay off big-time for your organization.

This year, begin searching for ways to give back to your community.  People love hearing about companies that do good and these companies are often rewarded in higher sales.  

Don’t:  Be Deceitful

Content marketing is most effective when it is authentic.  No one enjoys being tricked into reading content that isn’t relevant to them, or purchasing a product that doesn’t solve their problem.

If you promise to provide specific content to your audience, then it’s important that you make good on that promise.  Being transparent is essential, particularly during the holidays when shoppers need reassurance from your brand before they buy.

Do:  Create Seasonal Guides

There is always that one family member or friend who is notoriously hard to shop for.  If you have ever read a gift buying guide to help you find the perfect gift, then you know how valuable these guides can be to consumers.

This year, plan to create multiple guides for different holidays.  For example, “12 Spooky Halloween Costumes for Teens” or “20 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Men.” 

If you sell a product, you can even work it into your guide.  Just remember that it needs to fit with your guide’s theme and shouldn’t be overly promotional.

Don’t:  Neglect Mobile

Holiday shoppers are on the go and rely heavily on their mobile devices to research potential gifts.  If your gift guide doesn’t load properly on mobile, they aren’t going to bother reading it.

If you haven’t already, optimize your content for mobile devices.  This includes increasing page speed, making content easy to scroll, and using a responsive design.  If you have a physical store, then don’t forget to optimize your mobile content for local search.


Once the holiday season starts, it is go, go, go for digital marketers.  You won’t have time to get creative with your content if you start working on your holiday marketing campaigns too late.

To get ahead of the competition this year, you need to begin planning your holiday content marketing strategy early.   By planning for the holidays in advance, you can position your organization for greater opportunities to connect with your audience and provide them with an exceptional user experience.