“Create evergreen content.” We have all heard this sentiment so many times, and we’ve probably read those exact words even more often. Create content that never goes out of date.

Content that’s fresh, useful and compelling all year round. But guess what? This column isn’t about evergreen content. Like the song says, to everything there is a season, and sometimes that’s the case for content too. As the winter holidays approach, this is a good time to talk about seasonal content and why it’s about more than dropping the word “Christmas” or “Holidays” in your copy a few hundred times.

There are basically two kinds of seasonal content: time-based (winter, summer, month-by-month) and event-based (Christmas, National Pancake Day, Thanksgiving). Obviously, sometimes these are tied together, but that doesn’t make them the same thing.

Trend Watching

Begin by diving into some trends research. Design your content around multiple waves. A very simple example would be a sporting goods store hoping to promote the World Series. Baseball, as a general term, is popular during the summer. Toward the ends of summer, wild card races start gaining traction, followed by post-season playoffs, and finally, the World Series.

By overlapping these four trends, you can clearly see how you would want to build your baseball-season content calendar. Be creative! Look at the associated keywords for each trend and consider how you could work a fresh, seasonally-related angle on what might seem like an otherwise stale subject.

Look for related keywords – snow, skiing, coats for winter – to build your content. Keeping on top of the news is a great way to get this kind of inspiration.

Timing Is Everything

You want to hit just before the peak of any given seasonal spike so you’re among the leaders, not following the pack. But don’t jump in too early or you won’t catch the wave of interest.

How soon you want to start publishing your content depends on how steep the rise in interest is. Some topics have gradual spikes, meaning you can begin earlier. Some are very abrupt, so you should position yourself close to the event date. On average, it’s best to publish about two weeks ahead for maximum visibility.

It’s often a very good idea to do “soft” pieces first, to get your current audience thinking about — and sharing — your content. It’s the content equivalent of clearing your throat to catch a room’s attention. Don’t unleash your biggest and best ideas without making sure people are listening.

Anticipation Vs. Procrastination

Many companies are in areas where some times of the year are busier than others. Theatre productions ramp up their productivity right before premiering a new show, retailers look forward to various holiday sales, and even search marketers have busy conference seasons. These are the times when it’s important to anticipate the content you will need and prepare for it.

Identify the slower parts of your year, when you’re looking around for ways to prep for the busy season, and start writing then. Chances are, on April 14th, there’s no one at H&R Block with time enough to think, let alone to write an article on how to file an extension. Writing tax advice articles in November means all that’s required later is pushing the content live.

Pro tip: Because seasonal content is, by definition, only of temporary interest, social media campaigns that can move quickly and capitalize on rising trends are ideal for promotion.

Turn, Turn, Turn

Though you may not be able to take advantage of your content year-round, you can make your content perennially popular by not  adding time bombs. Time bombs in your content are references to current events, popular celebrities, or other non-repeating trends that will quickly make any piece sound dated.

The World Series and the Oscars come around once a year, but the specific people associated with those events change. While your thoughtful and well-researched article about how the Red Sox are going to crush the Yankees and go on to win the World Series would have looked prophetic in September 2004, by December that was old news, and in 2012, it’s ancient history.

This doesn’t mean you can never reference current events. Sometimes jumping on a big news story is a great idea. But look for ways to create content that will continue to be useful time and time again. If done right, you’ll be able to gain traffic, followers, and sales from the same piece of content year after year.

How do you come up with ideas for seasonal content? What’s the best way you’ve found to spot recurring trends? Sound off in the comments!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Content Marketing | Content Marketing | Content Marketing Column

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About The Author: is the Co-Founder and CMO of BlueGlass Interactive, an Internet marketing agency specializing in data-driven content marketing strategies.



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  • Sonja Stein

    Good points. I like the idea about posting 2 weeks before the event, hopefully before your competitors. Speaking of seasonal content… do you have any advice for companies that have seasonal lows? For example, an outdoor furniture company who loses a lot of traffic at the end of the summer. Is there a way to tailor your content strategy for this?

  • http://twitter.com/khansahab Sana Khan

    These are great points. From personal experience I believe that catching on to event and seasonal trends early is a smart move. Then again, one needs to know where the spikes are and not do things too early or too late. It’s all in the timing.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “You want to hit just before the peak of any given seasonal spike so
    you’re among the leaders, not following the pack. But don’t jump in too
    early or you won’t catch the wave of interest.”

    Great point. You might not always nail the timing the first time around, so it might be worth creating several pieces of content for each season in case you jump the gun. Obviously if you’re too late you’ll be playing catchup, so I’d rather err on the side of early.

  • http://www.altaresources.com/ Cory Grassell

    I love the idea of piggybacking of what’s hot. So when writing a white paper, for example, it’d be a great idea to leverage a recent trend or example that made headlines. It provides relevance and also humanizes the content.

  • Megan Colby

    I have my google reader set up for certain industry keywords. That way I know when an article or news story is published about my industry and I can jump on sharing with followers.

    As far as seasonal content, getting ahead of the game is key. I try to be about 3 months ahead of schedule on the marketing calendar so I’m not scrambling at the last second.

  • http://twitter.com/chriswinfield Chris Winfield

    “I have my google reader set up for certain industry keywords.”

    This is a great thing to do Megan! You can also setup Tweetdeck columns to monitor exact phrases for Twitter. And use tools like Topsy to get a good overview on a daily basis as well.

    Thanks for the addition!

  • http://twitter.com/chriswinfield Chris Winfield

    “it’d be a great idea to leverage a recent trend or example that made headlines”

    Exactly. As long as it’s not forced or a huge stretch, it can be really effective and help provide context and latch on to a hot trend.

    Thanks Cory!

  • http://twitter.com/chriswinfield Chris Winfield

    Fantastic point Nick. Ideally it would be built into your editorial calendar at the beginning of the year.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/chriswinfield Chris Winfield

    “It’s all in the timing.”

    Exactly! If a company is writing and promoting content about Christmas at the end of June, there probably isn’t going to be a lot of interest :)

  • http://twitter.com/chriswinfield Chris Winfield

    Hi Sonja — apologies on the delay in responding!

    With regards to your questions, I would answer them with some questions for you (don’t you just hate when people do that? :) ).

    What does that outdoor furniture company currently do with their marketing strategy at the end of the summer? How does their business sustain itself throughout the year (until it starts to get warm again)?

    The reason I am asking those questions is that it will give good insight into what they can do to supplement that with their content marketing efforts.

 

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