According to a recent Nielsen report, almost half (49%) of Americans have already started their holiday shopping -- and 61% getting started today, Cyber Monday). But that still leaves a lot of people looking around for gifts, and with so much of that window-shopping occurring in the digital realm, holiday content could be a big winner for your enterprise.

To make holiday content work, you can't force it. If your product or service doesn't have a natural connection to gift-giving, year-end or the winter months, maybe don't try it. But chances are, you can find a legit hook for some holiday content promoting your B2B or B2C business.

Even though it's a little late in the game, you still have some time to pull together a few pieces of holiday content. Here's how.

First, determine a goal for the project. What are the business goals you want to achieve? What do you want content consumers to think feel or do after they engage with your stuff? We've compiled a list of 9 questions to ask before launching a seasonal content project to help you make a smart decision.

If you can't clearly articulate the business goal and customer experience, skip the holiday content this year and start working on the project next summer, when you have a long enough runway to do it right.

Otherwise, here's how you can fast-track a holiday content project.

9 Steps to Create Holiday Content Fast

  1. Review key audiences and identify major problems or challenges they want to solve this time of year. Learn how to get beyond the buyer persona.
  2. Brainstorm topics to meet those audience needs, then pare the list down to the most relevant ones and the ones you have the most authority on. For example, we researched and wrote a seasonal B2B article for on working with a skeleton crew during the holidays and summer vacation time. Pro Tip: If you've got a great idea that's not squarely in your wheelhouse, consider partnering with a colleague or other business to produce co-branded content or a guest post.
  3. Analyze digital marketing channel metrics to see where your content will be seen by the most people, or where it can potentially bring more traffic to a lower-performing platform. See our process for choosing channels.
  4. Determine the best format for each idea and channel. Gift guides and how-to and explainers articles are always in demand, but they're not the only formats available to you. A quiz, short video, slide show or Instagram or SnapChat story could be the best way to present the idea. Pro Tip: Factor in the resources necessary to produce written and visual content. For instance,  you may not need a professional videographer, but you do need a steady hand and a good mic.
  5. Figure out if your staff can produce the holiday content. It's not always a matter of talent. Sometimes December workflow is already compromised by year-end reports  and time off, so you may want to engage creative pros to handle design, photography/videography and brand journalism. Check out our tips for working with agencies and freelancers.
  6. Streamline the approval process to reduce reviews and edits and accelerate time to publish. Take a look at our suggested review and approval process.
  7. Promote the crap out of it. Don't just load up your holiday content and hit send, promote it through-out the season with slightly different messages each time. Research hashtags and cross-promote posts between your social channels, website, email marketing and in-store/in-office. Pro Tip: Invite employees to promote the content on their personal accounts, and ask partners to share via their channels (of course, you should be willing to do the same.
  8. Aggregate, curate & resurface. Consider a holiday content landing page that can greet site visitors and be promoted elsewhere. This helps you meet more customer needs in one place and increases time on site. Get in the curation game by promoting content that tackles your customer needs and interests from a different point of view, or covers topics you can't as social shares or Related Content links on your original content. Finally, look for content in your own archives that can be refreshed and repromoted.
  9. Monitor engagement and other metrics. Regularly review your content's performance against the stated business and customer goals every few days. Tweak your tactics as necessary, and identify trends that can help you design a stronger program next year.

Good luck!

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