How to plan a last-minute holiday content calendar

That creeping sensation you may be feeling isn’t just because it’s the spookiest month of the year, but because October means it’s almost November and that means the holidays are breathing down your neck.

Do you have a holiday content calendar ready to go, planned and approved? If you don’t, there’s no need to panic. Smaller teams don’t always have time to get everything planned out months in advance and even the most well-oiled machine can have something come up that means original plans have to be scrapped and something new has to be put together fast.

With that in mind, here’s our advice for how to plan a last-minute holiday content calendar.

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First: Brainstorm without judgement

The way you get your ideas out and down doesn’t matter: Use Google Docs, use a notepad, a recording app on your phone, or pace around a small room with a whiteboard and jot down notes there.

Pull ideas from other campaigns, especially tapping into bigger brands with more resources for inspiration (but never outright copy them).

Do a little research to see if there is a need you can serve in your industry/for your audience/fans/followers while being entertaining or tapping into a festive holiday spirit. If that doesn’t work for your brand, consider tapping into emotional or cause marketing in an appropriate way. For the latter, find a cause that makes sense for your brand or that some or all of your employees are passionate about, and tell that story. Emotional and cause marketing both feel more appropriate around the holidays.

Try to brainstorm with a team, if possible, or at least set aside some time for the team to bring together all of your ideas in order to narrow them down.

Next: Narrow your ideas down

Use the ideas that are best suited to both the particular holidays you’re working around and your brand. What holidays do most of your customers and target audience celebrate? How can you tap into those holidays in a way that fits with your brand voice and values but that isn’t cliché or overdone?

Narrow down further based on your brand’s goals: What are your goals this quarter? What bigger goals did you establish at the beginning of the year? What goals do you have for next year? Be sure your content plans reinforce some, if not all, of these goals.

Don’t be afraid to just keep things simple though, planning out content to celebrate what your brand has accomplished this year- think highlighting employees or other big milestones- and thanking your loyal customers, fans and followers.

Your target audience is more likely to engage and become a loyal customer if they see that you’re loyal too.

Finally: Measure

This way you’ll have a record of which holiday content worked best for your brand this year, so you’ll know what to plan more of next year. Building year-over-year trends will be the best way of all to keep track of your audience and their engagement levels with the content you produce.

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Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash