No content marketing calendar would be complete without seasonal content. Discover how to use seasonal content for the first day of summer, back-to-school time, Halloween, or the winter holidays to engage and entice your target audience.

The goal isn’t just to recognize a holiday or seasonal event. Instead, contribute to the conversation and make yourself useful to potential customers. What value can you provide that other brands can’t? This question should always be on your mind as you prepare your seasonal marketing materials. It’s easy to upload an image of a shamrock and wish your customer a happy St. Patrick’s Day, but that’s not likely to differentiate your brand or help you drive sales. Instead, provide content that’s informative and entertaining. Here’s how.

Promote Your Products

When sales are your top priority, a product guide is a must. Over the years, companies like Macy’s and Office Depot have released gift guides in conjunction with the winter holidays.

When you’re designing a product guide, whether it’s full of gift ideas or items consumers can buy for themselves, start by identifying your audience and selecting a theme.

  • Are you targeting Gen X parents, or unmarried millennials? Cooks, or fashionistas? Pick your product, craft your copy, and choose graphics that address your audience’s unique needs.
  • The more precise you get with your keywords, the better your content will fare on both search engines and social media.

Keep in mind that product guides aren’t only an option for colossal brands. They also aren’t limited to the winter months.

  • Running a restaurant or boutique? Create a gift guide like Eataly‘s, which focuses on Italian products, or Connecticut-based small business Kirby and Company’s, which is comprised of jewelry and home decor.
  • Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or even holidays like Memorial Day can be a good fit for a product guide. When you’re marketing your products in the context of the Fourth of July, for example, use a guide to promote a summer clothing collection, food items, iced coffee, or accessories for entertaining barbecue guests.
  • If it’s a fit for your brand, try a style guide. This type of content is particularly useful for prom season, spring break, the arrival of fall, and holiday party season.
  • To expand your reach, deploy your product guide to past and prospective customers via email. Additionally, use paid search and social media marketing.

Entertain Your Audience

Many holidays represent an opportunity to infuse your marketing content with humor and whimsy. If you succeed at entertaining your audience, you can forge a lasting connection. That connection can then lead to outcomes like positive word of mouth and even repeat sales.

  • Take a cue from Google’s themed logos — known as Google Doodles — which have celebrated everything from Father’s Day and Teacher’s Day to Australia Day. Some, like one for Valentine’s Day 2017, even incorporate games that users can play on a desktop or mobile device.
  • Leverage video’s ability to engage both desktop and mobile users. Prior to Easter 2016, Carlsberg beer created an experiential marketing campaign that involved a pop-up bar made almost entirely of chocolate. Part of the “If Carlsberg did” campaign, the bar was featured in an online video that was posted to YouTube.
  • Post your content to social media. Including hashtags related to either the holiday or your broader marketing campaign will help you expand your reach and generate more views.

Make Your Content Interactive

Google Doodles and over-the-top brand experiences are just the tip of the iceberg of interactive digital content. With holidays to inspire them, brands can build quizzes, create contests, and employ user-generated content to spark the interest of prospective customers.

  • Add a question or two to your social media post to make it more interactive. Asking your followers to share their opinions and experiences can increase their affinity to your brand.
  • Repurpose your seasonal interactive content. Jansport, maker of backpacks, can promote its Perfect Backpack Finder tool during back-to-school season, but the content also lives on the brand’s website year round.

Go Beyond the Standard Holidays

In addition to popular seasonal events, brands can benefit from incorporating lesser-known daily and monthly holidays into their content calendars. This trend has taken off in recent years. Brands have embraced so-called holidays like National Pizza Day (February 9), Go Barefoot Day (June 1), and Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).

  • Pick a holiday that’s relevant to your brand. This year, Tex-Mex restaurant chain Chuy’s celebrate National Margarita Day (February 22) with a funny loop video promoting its drink specials.
  • Share appealing photos, then invite your audience to do the same. According to social media management company LYFE Marketing, the best strategies for engaging social media users include featuring an image in your post, and asking your followers to share feedback or reviews within the comments section. In 2017, Pet Valu celebrated National Cat Day (October 29) by posting a photo of a child with a cat and encouraging its Facebook followers share photos of their own. Pet Valu received more than 65 user-generated images.
  • Don’t assume you have to stick with regional or even North American holidays. In addition to featuring sweet treats for Valentine’s Day, Japan Candy Box, a Japanese candy and snacks subscription service, promoted strawberry mochi on Instagram when it was strawberry season in Japan. The post received more than 600 likes.

There’s no limit to the seasonal themes available to marketers or the ways in which brands can apply them. Tap into your creativity, and take a second look at your content calendar. Holidays and special occasions are the ideal solution for filling the gaps.

Top image via fantom_rd.

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