I read something intriguing the other day. According to social media, the 7th most wanted holiday gift is - nothing. Our industry colleagues at Prime Visibility analyzed millions of conversations and posts on Twitter, Facebook and forum communities to identify the top 10 most wanted holiday gifts. Not surprisingly, numbers 1 and 2 are cash and gift cards. Number 3 is an iPhone, also not surprising. Number 4 is a bit more interesting; it's drones. But number 7 - nothing - now that is a real show stopper.
That made me think. Apparently, a lot of folks out there think they already have everything they want. Or perhaps they're just worn out by all of the holiday jingle jangle and just want it over with already. In any case, it leaves us content marketers in somewhat of a bind. What do we market if people want nothing?
I thought about this a while and then it came to me. Perhaps what people are actually saying is that they don't want more stuff. Maybe they're seeking something more than a new pair of shoes (number 4) or an Xbox 360 (8). Something like conviviality from celebrating together, or hope after a tough year. Maybe people want to give instead of get, or just relax and let the festive lights and joy of the season wash over them. What they really want is something meaningful.
Give the People What They Want
We can respond to this want by creating content based on the values of our companies. All of us went into business for a reason. At bottom, we wanted to offer quality products and services that pleased people and made their lives better. Those values are what distinguish our brands, and showcasing them is especially powerful in the local space, where community counts and reputation matters most of all.
If you've got a content strategy, you've got a head start on communicating your company's values. They're embedded in the mission, goals and measurement indicators you use to assess performance. They're probably featured on your website, under the tab called something like "About Us" or "Our Story." Take our site at Advice Interactive Group, for example. We're all about supporting our local community. It's a core value of ours, and you can see that on the page about the causes we're proud to serve. This is effective content that can easily be repurposed into a good holiday blog post on community service.
More Great Examples of Caring and Giving
Another good example comes from one of our clients, The Good Contractor List. Here, the keywords that jump out are "honest," "hope" and "good." (And if you miss the point of those words, the halo in their logo is another clue!) The whole point of this business is to help consumers find and hire honest contractors who will do good work for a fair price. Beyond that, in the "Our Story" section you'll also see that the founder offers a free eBook where he shares his deep belief that "it's never too late to be used for good." This eBook is an excellent example of content that focuses on core values.
Blue Ridge Log Cabins, another client of ours, is committed to caring for the planet and using Earth's resources wisely. This content on the company's Green Initiative explains its unique approach to building a home that reflects "green" standards, as well as human standards of comfort and style. Being "green" is a core value that informs this business and contributes to making a reality of the aspirational company slogan - "Building the Dream."
Teaming up with a charity and donating a portion of each sale to that charity is a great way to give back during the holidays. Tree Classics has a particularly good approach with the philanthropic campaign they have adopted this festive season. When making a purchase with Tree Classics, you can personally choose which charity will benefit from a donation every time a purchase is made on their website. Getting customers involved like this encourages giving and also raises awareness for the charities. You can find out more about the current Tree Classics campaign here.
The values that lie at the heart of Advice Interactive Group, The Good Contractor List, Blue Ridge Log Cabins and Tree Classics drive our success and can be a powerful generator of new business, as well as referrals. The winter holiday season is prime time for us - and you - to highlight the motivations and messages that form the foundation of a great brand promise.