With Halloween dead and buried, marketers’ minds turn to The Holidays. But before you surrender your brain to frantic sales, daily revenue targets, and eggnog, let’s quickly think about Thanksgiving. Far from being The Day Before Black Friday, it’s got a lot to offer. Gratitude, for one. Plenty of gluttony. And lessons for content marketers. Being a good Thanksgiving host isn’t so different from being a content guru. Here are five lessons marketers can take away from Turkey Day.
LESSON 1: Start planning early
If it’s Thanksgiving Day when you first look at recipes, you may as well just get drunk on spiked pumpkin lattés and call it a day. An effort this big requires forethought. You can’t run around town to find a disposable roasting pan while also basting your bird and watching the Snoopy balloon dive bomb the Dora the Explorer float. In fact, the Food Network recommends a full month for menu planning.
Creating the right mix of videos, ebooks, blogs, and bylines, like your dinner menu, takes more time than you think. Think ahead about what you’ll serve customers and when you’ll serve it. Here’s a great list of tools to get started.
LESSON 2: The more people the merrier
I’ve been to Thanksgivings with 3 people and with 20 people. The big ones are more fun. There are interesting conversations, tasty new dishes, and enough noise that your host won’t notice when you accidentally smash a treasured keepsake with an errant football.
This is the case when you’re the host, too. Why? More people bring more food. (Think of the Wampanoag natives during the first Thanksgiving.) Invite 20 guests and you probably only need to make the turkey and one or two side dishes. The rest gets delegated…like your content should. The more people who contribute, the more content you’ll have and the less of it you’ll actually have to create yourself.
LESSON 3: The sides make the meal
Raise your hand if you think the turkey is the best part of the meal. I see no hands.
The turkey is the centerpiece. It’s the most labor-intensive and time-consuming dish. But even when it’s good (hint: rotisserie. Do it.), it’s boring. The stuffings, veggies, sweet potato and apple casserole, etc… that’s where dinner is won or lost.
You need your tentpole content “turkeys” like ebooks and reports. They’re evergreen and they drive leads. But does anyone actually like producing or reading them? They’re dense and unwieldy. Where you can shine is in smaller, more creative infographics, videos, and innovative collateral. I don’t remember any ebook I’ve read but I’m still envious of the “Cards Against Marketing” playing card deck I saw at eTail this year.
LESSON 4: Have vegetarians and vegans at your table
I have no love for Tofurkey. But if it weren’t for my meat-free friends, my veggie dishes would be boring and repetitive. Vegetarians have introduced me to creative and delicious recipes I otherwise would have ignored.
If someone wants to create a piece of content for you that sounds weird and offbeat, let them. At worst, you don’t make it again. At best it becomes one of your signature dishes.
LESSON 5: Use what you have around
The first Thanksgiving happened thanks to nature’s — and the Wampanoags’ — largesse. But the Pilgrims’ table looked very different from ours. In: venison, corn mush, and lots of shellfish. Out: potatoes, cranberry sauce (colonists had little to no sugar left), and pumpkin pie (no butter, wheat flour, or baking ovens).
The point? You have plenty of content resources available if you know where to look. Your competitors may have case studies you covet…but they don’t have your analytics guy for weekly data insights. Play to your strengths.
Ridiculous travel delays, weekday daytime NFL games, content marketing insights…all this and pie, too. Thanksgiving really does have it all. I hope yours is great!