Halloween is over, and it seems the skies have opened: holiday content is all around us. Users are ready for the attack of newsletters, blogs, social media posts, and TV ads at every corner; so they perceive it as nothing but one big blind spot, and therefore, ignore it.
People feel excited and crave even more emotions during this season. Marketers try hard to generate holiday content that would trigger those emotions. They focus on its visual components — no wonder: most of us love with eyes — but forget about a tiny detail influencing our minds and decision making.
When suitable and tailor-made, words do wonders. They help you create a campaign that actually delights customers and promotes your brand instead of drowning it in holiday "noise." Here are five ways for you to apply the power of words to your holiday content and differentiate yourself from others this year.
1. Identify Top Touchpoints
Segment your audience once again, learn where you can reach them best right now, personalize your holiday message, and repurpose content accordingly to address each community intelligently.
Depending on your business, touch points will vary. Here goes the list:
Rules of web writing will help to choose the right words:
- Add information scent and surplus value to your content
- Think of a lip-smacking format (given that you have 5 seconds to hook the audience, use short words and sentences)
- Use power words, i.e. those appealing to fears and desires; avoid wordiness and a passive voice
- Write the way your readers speak: use clear words to communicate your holiday message; get rid of common writing mistakes
- Be consistent with your brand's tone of voice
2. Turn to Basic Instincts
Let's face it: people are selfish, and they crave content that would prove their awesomeness and satisfy their needs. Turn to their basic instincts when writing your holiday content — and they'll respond.
There are 5 distinct needs:
Even if you think your brand has no direct relation to them, make sure to play with the words of your holiday content so it would address some.
Satisfy their need for food with "tasty" words.
Create the illusion of presence to deal with their need for action: consider content assets like quizzes, browser games, slides, or any other interactive elements.
Help your audience find answers, solve problems, and understand themselves better to satisfy the need for reflection: share "tips," "strategies," "secrets," or "hacks."
Show them it's easy to be creative, and your content will hit the holiday season. Most people want to be different from others, but they are lazy to put any effort into it. With that being said, the "Do it yourself" and "even if you aren't an expert" mantras are your best friends here.
Don't forget to sprinkle in some colorful language. Varying your language will make your content intriguing, inviting and overall more clickable. But you must always remember that relevance is key. Your creativity must be in line with your brand and audience needs. Use catchy words and play upon the topics that evoke an emotional response such as (humor, surprise, joy) where appropriate, but be careful to not go overboard.
3. Tell a Story
Users evaluate your brand by feelings, not facts. The only way to make your audience feel is through activating brain areas responsible for an experience. The only tool able to do that effectively is through storytelling.
70% of information is retained through stories. With that in mind, make sure to apply storytelling principles to your holiday campaigns:
- Combine marketing and fiction.
- Write a story that will reflect your brand's nature and the way you want people to perceive it.
- Turn customers into protagonists. (Hero's Journey it is.)
- Be bold, make your holiday story unexpected, but yet relevant to your brand.
- Add a human element, reflect human values.
You can tell a story in different formats: video, photo, short texts on social media, interviews, long reads in your blog, etc. The key is creativity and attention to detail. Appeal to emotions to engage people — and they will remember your brand.
Emotions for Thanksgiving: gratitude for family, friends, traditions. And then goes Black Friday with its fear of missing, action, feeling of difference, and "get more with minimum effort."
4. Choose the Right Words
It's the art of neuro copywriting, and that's how it works:
- Odd numbers get a better response than even numbers
- Emotionally charged and rarely matched beneficial adjectives make your message stand out
- Active verbs fuel your writing and add action to it
- No weak adverbs, please
- Three is a magic number to stimulate the affirmative response
To give it even more power, knock it out of the park: consider phonosemantics when crafting your holiday message. Depending on phonemes you choose, the message will cause different associations and emotions from the audience.
Writing techniques like repetition and rhyme, contrast and metaphors, transitional phrases and sensory words will help to evoke desired emotions from readers.
5. Watch Your Mouth
Your marketing message should be easier to read than ignore. For that, make it punchy:
- Stick to words everybody knows
- Long words are bad words
- Long sentences are bad sentences
- Get to the point: it's about them, not you
- Give the answer to a "So what?" question
For that, avoid cliches; forget marketing buzzwords; say no to templates.
Visual content rules; we all know that, and marketers actively use it: more, brighter, faster. It turns every holiday season into a crazy competition for attention like there is no tomorrow. Users don't understand which way to look, so it's your time to help them: plan your holiday marketing campaigns early (most start in September, but July seems even better) and consider not only emotional visuals but emotional writing as well.
Everything of genius is in the details:
- Sell your brand and its lifestyle rather than products
- Wow users, engage, evoke their emotions so they would remember you when the time comes to buy
- Think outside the box. What can you do differently to stand out?
And get back to basics. “In the beginning was the Word,” as they say, right? Your holiday content is a great way to remind your audience what's in your business, beyond marketing.
Lesley Vos is a web writer and content architect at Bid4Papers blog, also contributing to publications on digital marketing, social media, and self-development. You could see her works at @Moz, @SMExaminer, @CoSchedule, and other niche websites. Feel free to reach out to Lesley via Twitter @LesleyVos.
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