UPDATE: This content ideas post was originally published on 9 November 2018 and updated on 29 October 2019 and again on 23 November 2020.
The holidays are right around the corner and that means the eCommerce industry is about to see a flurry of activity. You can attract more of this activity to your retail shop (online and off) if you invest in quality holiday-themed content. Here we present our easy two-step content creation plan, along with content ideas to jumpstart your creative process.
Content can be blog posts, videos, infographics, Instagram posts — anything you publish on the web.
Lots of busy shoppers will be looking for advice, gifts, recipes, activities and other holiday tips online — especially now that we will likely spend much of the 2020 holidays at home. If you create seasonal content that draws people in, you’re more likely to connect with new customers.
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Bring more shoppers in with our two-step plan
Content marketing is the practice of creating blogs, videos and social posts that people will find interesting. It's a proven marketing technique that draws potential buyers to your website by answering their questions. So:
- A textile merchant might publish a blog post on how to select the comfiest winter throws — because their customers are almost certainly searching for such advice right now.
- A chocolatier could share an infographic on the message that various types of chocolate send when given as a gift (e.g. raspberry truffles for your true love, white chocolate for Nana).
- A personal trainer might share a Facebook post on their New Year's gift packages, including details on how they keep their clienta safe.
Let's take a look at our two-step content plan, then share some more holiday content ideas.
Related: How to manage a business Instagram
1. Find holiday keywords
Before you start posting to Facebook and Instagram, you need to find the right keywords for your industry. These are the words or phrases people are typing into search engines when looking for products or services like yours.
Keyword usage is bound to change with the seasons, as more people look for gifts and holiday-themed content online. Most Google searches have four words or more, so don’t shy away from targeting longer search queries.
Keyword phrases like “gift ideas for girlfriend” or “secret santa gift ideas” would be worth checking out.
Use keyword research tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner or Ahrefs Keywords Explorer to see which terms are trending in your industry over the next month. Select five to 10 keywords and decide what type of content you’ll use each for this season.
2. Cater to the shopper, not the user
To create content that brings more people to your eCommerce store, think about who you’re talking to. Remember that you’re trying to appeal to the people shopping for those who might enjoy your products and services — not the end-users themselves.
If your store sells home improvement tools, you might write a post on “Best Gifts for DIY Dad"
This kind of post appeals to wives, daughters and sons shopping for a loved one. So, instead of going into the specifics of a new drill, you should write for people who might not have much experience with your products.
There are bound to be plenty of other eCommerce stores pumping out similar content, so it’s best to be as specific as possible. You really have to create a detailed picture of the people who would enjoy your products and services. Instead of “Best Gifts for Dad” as a title, go with something like:
- “Best Gifts for Dads Who Spend Too Much Time in the Garage”
- “Best Gifts for DIY Mechanics”
Add a little humor and try to make your posts stand out from the competition.
Spread cheer with these content ideas
The holidays are always a busy time and people are looking for shortcuts. Here are a few holiday content ideas:
- Gift lists featuring your products or services (e.g. for mom, dad, brother, girlfriend, etc.)
- Shop local posts that highlight annual traditions and local vendors who sell products that complement yours
- A holiday video showing the "elves" at your place preparing for the holidays
- New Facebook follower contest, with every new follower entered into a prize drawing
- A favorite "recipe" that makes creative use of your products (e.g. recipe for a cozy night in front of the fire)
- Share pictures of your followers using your products on Facebook
- A charity partnership whereby a food bank or shelter receives a donation for every product purchased
- Social media campaign that invites housebound players to complete a series of challenges to win a prize
We'll likely be staying in more than usual this year, so anything you can do to cheer, entertain or provide a sense of community connection will likely be a big hit.
The holiday countdown
Who doesn’t love an original holiday countdown? This is an age-old tradition around the holidays and it’s a shame more holiday marketers don’t use this to their advantage.
The original 12 Days of Christmas countdown has been used by retailers for years.
Holiday countdowns lay the groundwork for your content strategy. Whether your countdown is five or 25 days long, you can post something new every day leading up to the holiday itself. Countdowns get your readers excited about your content as they look forward to each new installment. When they read your latest post or watch today’s video, they’ll remember that they’re one step closer to the big celebration.
Customize your countdown so that it’s related to your industry. Each day, you could share:
- A holiday-themed activity.
- A festive recipe.
- Pictures of your decorated office or shop.
- Favorite quotes from holiday movies.
Read this post for more ideas and details on how to promote your countdown on social media.
Look toward the year ahead
Christmas and other end-of-the-year holidays like Hanukkah and Kwanza also tie into New Year’s. Most people won’t use your gifts until after the holidays are over, so focus on the year ahead. You can tie your products and services to some common New Year’s resolutions like:
- Losing weight.
- Saving money.
- Finding that dream job.
- Taking more trips.
- Spending more time with loved ones.
When trying to help people find the perfect gift, show your readers what a person can do with your products or services. This style of content paints a meaningful picture of how your products can help people accomplish their goals.
Customers who have a positive emotional response to a particular brand are 7 times more likely to make another purchase.
Your readers want to buy their loved ones something special that will last the test of time, so show them how your products can fulfill a deeper need or higher goal.
Don’t forget the holiday backlinks
Once you have some creative posts, videos and/or social campaigns in the bag, you can start reaching out to other websites for potential backlinks, still one of the best ways to elevate your search ranking.
Having great holiday-themed content is important, but if it doesn’t show up near the top of Google’s search results, hardly anyone is going to see it. That’s why you need to have other websites link back to your online store, giving it a boost in the search rankings.
Link-building can move your site up in rankings, putting it in front of more people.
Lots of businesses will be vying for some holiday traffic, which means this is a great time to reach out with link-building offers. Look for websites related to your business such as:
- Industry news sites
- Online stores that complement your products and services (not direct competitors)
- Educational websites related to your products and services
- Gift-giving and holiday-themed websites
Approach these websites with an email or message titled “Holiday link-building opportunity” or something similar. Ask them for a link back to your website and mention that you’d be happy to do the same for them.
Use these holiday-themed content ideas to attract a crowd
Effective holiday content marketing is all about getting people excited about your products and services. Remember that you need to create high-quality content if you want people to find your website on search engines like Google. Also keep in mind:
- You might need to adjust your writing style and tone to attract gift-givers.
- You’ll need to spend some time looking for holiday-themed keywords and backlinks.
Most people will be shopping for someone they know, not looking for gifts for themselves. Get creative with your content and try to drown out some of the competition. We’ve seen countless pieces like “Great Gift Ideas for Dads” in the past, so take your content in a new direction.
Get to know your readers and write compelling holiday content that puts your eCommerce store on the map. Content marketing works!