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Don’t be a content marketing turkey this Thanksgiving

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Let it be written: For every holiday, no matter size, season or popularity, there is an angle marketing professionals can and will take. From the Fourth of July to Festivus, America’s hardworking content marketers will do what they can to tie holidays to campaigns. Thanksgiving is no exception.

While not all marketing campaigns are created equal, pros can find many a lesson to be learned from past Turkey Day campaigns. Consider the following:

Provide value

The more sentimental among us may view Thanksgiving through the prism of family, friends and gratitude. The rest of us see it as a chance stuff our faces, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, enjoy some football and gear up for Black Friday.

It’s that last tack many marketers take. A peek around the web is bound to show you various Thanksgiving dinner giveaways, like this local Twitter giveaway from a plumbing company. What better way to capture leads than to get people to sign up for a feast with all the fixings?

While content marketers may not be able to hand out Butterballs to every person that clicks on a blog post, they can certainly do their best to provide value to website visitors.

Are you providing actionable insights? Answering questions? Offering perspective regarding important industry events? If the answer is no, this Thanksgiving may be the perfect time to dedicate yourself to overhauling the content you’re producing.

Optimizing content for SEO is one thing, but actually providing people a reason to read, view or watch content is equally important to marketing success.

Repurpose and adapt content

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign was unveiled to great success in the U.S. in 2014. The idea behind the marketing effort – offering Coke products with personalized names in addition to broad terms like “BFF” – was to engage directly with consumers and encourage them to purchase products on behalf of friends and family in addition to themselves.

Coke doubled up on the marketing genius by adapting the campaign to suit holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving. Create seating arrangements with drinkable place cards? Yes, please.

Meanwhile, kosher food giant Manischewitz decided to bring Thanksgiving into the Hebrew fold through its Thanksgivukah campaign.

Existing marketing campaigns can be successfully adapted to fit with seasonal trends and industry updates through careful recalibration.

While it may require some pruning, don’t be afraid to repurpose content when appropriate. By updating existing content, you can quickly and easily leverage trending news or events.

Meanwhile, aligning your marketing with holidays, even when it may not be an obvious match, can give your content the visibility boost it needs.

Go against the grain

Speaking of traveling off the beaten path, some of the most effective marketing campaigns are those that stand out from the crowd. Take the example of REI, which specializes in outdoor and fitness gear.

In 2015, REI encouraged Americans to forego the retail tradition of Black Friday. Not only did the company announce its stores would be closed the day after Thanksgiving, its #optoutside campaign coaxed consumers to forget shopping in favor of enjoying the great outdoors. This proved to be so popular REI is doing it again this year.

It’s important to pick your battles, but sometimes going against the grain is the best way to establish yourself as a thought leader. If others in your industry are producing content you feel is short-sighted, boring or just plain wrong, it pays to leverage your experience and expertise to produce content with a different take. At the very least, this shows website visitors you’re not willing to just go with the flow.

That being said, if you decide to break away from the pack, make sure you have the data and/or reasoning to back it up.

Eric Wendt
Eric Wendt is a writer and editor at Brafton. He discovered his love of words after realizing he was terrible at math. If he's not updating his Tumblr with poetry he's too embarrassed to share, there's a good chance he's out in search of the perfect pale ale.

Thoughts?