Holidays

Holiday Marketing: A Stress-Free Way To Make Better Content

One of the questions I’m frequently asked by clients is what they should post on social media and send in emails. And, at first, it seems like a no-brainer, right? Cause-focused organizations have plenty to talk about! Awesome work, touching stories, saving the world….

But I get it. Sometimes you just need something different to talk about. Or maybe you want something a little more light-hearted. Or maybe you want to show off the personality of the brand rather than the mission.

In these cases, I always turn to holiday marketing. Not just “THE holidays” like Thanksgiving and Christmas, though they are relevant, too. But holidays in general. The mission-driven ones like Giving Tuesday, the formally-observed ones like Memorial Day, the fun-to-observe ones like Valentine’s Day, and even the wacky ones like National Hug Day.

They can all serve a purpose—and provide some content for your email and social channels. Intern Jessica Brannigan will explain just how easy it can be, AND give you a holiday marketing calendar and guide to get you started!

Holiday Marketing: A Stress-Free Way to Make Better Content

Holidays are a time for friends, family or a population to come together. Your online viewers, your customers, and even your employees are talking about holidays. Holidays are meant for exploration, explanation, and feeling. They’re also a wonderful source of inspiration and ready-made content.

Conversations surround events such as Christmas, Small Business Saturday, and Strawberry Ice Cream Day. But even when the dialogue is already started, nonprofits and social enterprises may still find it hard to create posts online. Holiday marketing, however, can be the solution that allows you to be more active online, as well as engage current and promising fans. 

Start trending, go viral

The truth is, you should be using holidays in your marketing. Holidays can be an excuse to celebrate, or a time to explore tough issues. As a nonprofit or social enterprise, seize the opportunity to expand your consumers’ sentiment... they could one day become customers or donors. Use it as an excuse to let them to know you are concerned with history and current events. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a prime time to bring up concerns on equality. The same is true for International Women’s Day. 

When something is trending online, it is almost impossible not to see it. Why go to your calendar to check the date when you can go on Instagram! You will know it’s the Fourth of July by the number of firework pictures posted, and all of those pastel dresses and ties will tell you that it’s Easter.

On National Donut Day it seems the whole world is taking advantage of every donut shop’s special offers. (Because who doesn’t love a sale on donuts?) But what would happen if one donut shop chose not to post on Nation Donut Day? Did you just shudder at that thought?

Explore and express your brand

Insert your organization into the online holiday chat. Take this opportunity to show off your creative or compassionate side. People want to know there are human beings behind those logos and websites.

Find holidays that fit with your brand and voice. Post about those first, and then find a few more abstract holidays that you believe will allow you to shine! 

Major holidays are a chance for an organization to let the world know that they see what is going on in the world and care enough to have a say in the matter. November is not just the time to start those year-end campaigns. It is a chance to let your customers know you’re thankful for them. Acknowledging the world around you can go a long way in the minds and hearts of your customer and donor base.

Holidays can also be a time to take a stand on an issue. The “Me Too” and End It movements are two great examples. Though you may not be directly involved with either of these, show your audience you care by choosing a corresponding holiday to express your thoughts about them. Perhaps chose International Women’s Day on March 8th, or Social Justice Day on February 20th. 

Not all holidays are joyous, unfortunately. Tragedies, whether related to your mission or not, are a time to show you can stay strong for those around you. Show them you are always there to lend a hand to the broken. There are plenty of ways to do this. For example, after the Las Vegas shooting, Signify retweeted and posted ways to give blood on our social media. After a natural disaster, one can post links credible donation organizations. It can be that simple.

Do you need to participate in all holidays? Certainly not! Who has the time? But you don’t want to miss the important ones, and if relevant, you definitely do not want to throw away the chance to be funny during National Humor Month (April)!

Identify what content to create

Now that you understand the importance of holiday marketing, you’re probably thinking, “Okay… now where do I start?”

Let’s talk about tips and tricks to doing this holiday thing right. Create a solid foundation and start building!

How to represent your organization.

Your nonprofit or social enterprise has a voice in this world. It has a look and a feel that your customers recognize. When it comes to posting online, you must be able to connect back to your brand. When starting something new, like holiday marketing, it can be easy to stray. You want your customers to see your content and not be confused about where its coming from or who wrote it.

So, before you start writing posts, make sure you have a solid understanding about how you want to present your company, what your consumers are interested in seeing, and how they want to see it.  

Will you only choose holidays that specifically align with your company’s mission? Will you choose more light-hearted or thought-provoking holidays? What is your most popular medium to reach people? Is it through email, Instagram, blog post, or podcast? Make it a point to better understand why people are visiting you.

After trying the holiday marketing tactic, evaluate your success. You want to know if your customers actually enjoy the increase in holiday-themed posts, emails or discounts. You can look to find if your sales were boosted by this method, if you can add more emails to your list, if more people engaged with your content or followed you, or if you simply find it easier to post on a regular basis. However you view success, go ahead and measure your results! 

This is an opportunity for creation… but don’t overdo it. 

This is your chance to get creative! Keep to your brand’s colors, fonts, and imagery, so that people know it’s still you, but don’t be afraid to experiment a little either. Make people want to keep following you in hopes of seeing more stimulating content.

Keep your message simple, though. You will lose your audience if it takes you 10 minutes on your Instagram story just to tell your audience Happy New Year. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Have good visuals and know how to match your tone to what your followers want to see. 

Once you finally grab their attention, use it to your advantage. Be mindful of any calls to action that should be included. Is it a good opportunity to ask for a donation, make a purchase, collect an email or read a blog post? From time-to-time you may want to create a message that goes beyond a one-and-done statement.

Plan your marketing strategy ahead of time. 

Keep that creative momentum going and prepare posts in advance. If you write multiple pieces around the same time, your tone will flow, your campaigns will coincide, and you will be ready to post when the time comes. Stress free!

Make a list of the holidays you want your nonprofit or social enterprise to be involved in. Useful holidays are just a Google search away. Several resources for holidays and conversations include Days of the Year, this Signify blog post and TimeandDate.com.

After you have your list, create an easy system for managing it. Add holidays with alerts or reminders onto your organization’s calendar or use a note-taking system such as Evernote to systematize thoughts and ideas.

Want some more inspiration, or example holidays to get you started? We’ve created a Holiday Marketing Calendar and Guide for you below!

The holiday has passed… now what?

If it’s a holiday you’ve built a campaign around, be sure to send a thanks or update your list with wins or results. Make them part of the process, not just part of the ask. This will keep them wanting even more of you, and leave them on a positive note.

If you miss a holiday, stay on top of things! Immediately add it to your calendar and tackle it next year. That’s the great thing about a holiday—it always comes back around!



Jessica Brannigan

I’m Jessica Brannigan. I’m an upcoming senior at the University of Georgia majoring in public relations and minoring in studio art. I am working towards a career in content creation or graphic design!

I am a fan of the mantra “act confident and no one will question you,” and I strive to use this to make a difference in the world.

LinkedIn | Portfolio



PIN THIS POST FOR LATER

Nonprofits and social enterprises sometimes find it hard to create posts online. Holiday marketing can be the solution that allows you to be more active online.

Kristi Porter, founder of Signify

I’m Kristi Porter, and I help cause-focused organizations understand and execute effective marketing campaigns so they can move from stressed to strategic. Your resources may be limited, but your potential isn’t. Whether you’re a nonprofit, social enterprise, or small business who wants to give back, I’ll show you how to have a bigger impact.

Birthday Gifts for All

This Friday is my birthday! (Cue the confetti!) And one of the best ways to spend a birthday is by sharing it with others—even digitally. I also love giving gifts and freebies away. So, I thought it would be fun to combine those two things this year! 

Here's how you can win gifts for my birthday!

Through Sunday night, September 17th, at 11:59 p.m. EST, you have the ability to win (socially-conscious) gifts for my birthday!

Everyone on my email list has the chance to win. And I have multiple lists that you can sign up for which, by the way, will help your nonprofit or social enterprise with your marketing and communications efforts—already a win, win! You'll receive one entry for each list. So, the more lists you're on, the more entries you have! AND for every person you refer to my list, you'll get FIVE bonus entries! Just shoot me an email (kristi@signify.solutions) to let me know the person was referred by you. So, not only do you increase your chances of winning an awesome prize, but you'll be a part of your friend improving their organization's marketing efforts. Look how (inadvertently) sweet you are!

To recap:

Sign up via one of these lists . . . 

For each list your email appears on, you'll receive one entry. (Yes, this includes lists you're currently on!)

Refer someone to a list, and you'll receive FIVE bonus entries when they sign up. And don't forget to send me an email (kristi@signify.solutions) to let me know that found me with your help.

Let's get to it! What can you win?

First prize in my birthday gifts drawing

First prize:

Approximate retail value is $90.

 

 

Second prize for my birthday gifts drawing.

Second prize:

Approximate retail value is $40.

 

Third prize for my birthday gifts giveaway.

Third prize:

Approximate retail value is $25.

 

 

And, guess what, EVERYONE'S A WINNER! Each person on the list will receive an email with a digital gift as my thank you for being part of the Signify community.

 

Don't forget, you have until Sunday, September 17th, at 11:59 p.m. EST to enter! Winners will be chosen and notified on Monday, September 18th. 

Good luck!

CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS:

KRISTI OF CONTENT IN COLOR (1st prize)

OLIVIA OF HELP ATHENS HOMELESS (2nd prize)

ANDY OF REMERGE (3rd prize)



PIN THIS POST FOR LATER:

Here's how you can win (socially-conscious) gifts for my birthday!

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing, and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.


Celebrating International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day! So, I thought that one of the best ways I could celebrate would be to highlight women-run organizations that I love, and would love for you to be aware of. And, in keeping with the spirit of this blog, I'll let you know what I like most about their marketing and communications as well.

Highlighting women-run organizations that I love.

Here are 10 that I've chosen, but there are so many more that I could've listed! There are many women out there doing inspiring, and much needed, work. Be sure to check these gals out, and support them in some way, even by just following them on social media or telling a friend.

NONPROFIT

1. Be the Bridge: This budding organization utilizes resources and conversations to further racial reconciliation. They believe that the Church must become a bigger answer to this issue, and are equipping people to host racially diverse small groups that create open lines of communication.

What I like most about their marketing and communications is how grassroots-oriented it is, which fits with their business model. People who are a part of their online and in-person groups have a voice, which creates not only fans, but advocates for the work.

2. TrueNorth Freedom Project: TrueNorth helps individuals, families and ministries navigate our sex-saturated culture through resources and conversations. By learning how to talk about sexual issues with grace and compassion, relationships will be strengthened, kids will be better prepared for the challenges, and the Church will become more effective in leading many to true freedom in Christ.

What I like most about their marketing and communications is their approach. They tackle a very difficult societal issue, but always take the stance of grace over shame, and that always shines through.

3. A21 Campaign: They are fueled by a radical hope—that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. They are the abolitionists of the 21st century, and work with you to free slaves and disrupt the demand.  

What I like most about their marketing and communications is that they frequently share survivor stories which makes the need real and urgent.

4. Refuge Coffee Co.: They relentlessly pursues the goal to provide employment and job-training opportunities to resettled refugees, to create a unique, welcoming gathering place in Clarkston, and to tell a more beautiful refugee story to Atlanta.

What I like most about their marketing and communications is that they tell a lot of stories, including the staff and volunteers, neighbors and those who frequent the establishment. Their mission involves being active and present in the community, and that is apparent in all aspects.

5. Thistle Farms: Thistle Farms is a sanctuary for healing for women survivors of abuse, addiction, trafficking and prostitution. They are a community of survivors, advocates, employees, interns, volunteers, and friends from all across the world. They are young and old, women and men. They want to change a culture that still allows human beings to be bought and sold. They believe that in the end, love is the strongest force for change in the world.

What I love most about their marketing and communications is how diverse they've become in their model, which allows them to constantly talk about what they're up to, and a great deal of cross-promotion. Currently, they have Magdalene House, a bath and body care product line, Thistle Stop Cafe, Shared Trade Global Marketplace, The Studios Workshop and the National Education and Training Center.

Honorable mention to: The Mend ProjectWellspring Living, Malala Fund

FOR-PROFIT

1. Dr. Bombay's: One of my favorite spots in Atlanta, this darling little tea shop in the Candler Park neighborhood funds “life scholarships” for girls in India with their Learning Tea program. With these funds, girls can go to college, have a safe place to live, and have all their basic needs provided for. (And her chai is my absolute favorite!) I've actually seen their work in India first-hand.

What I love most about their marketing and communications is how "local" it is. They are good neighbors. Many of their ingredients and offerings come from local or small businesses, and they also place event posters in other area parter businesses as a regular part of their promotions. And the atmosphere is so quirky and unique that it makes a great place for people to take and share photos!

2. Yellow Conference: They are a conference for creative, entrepreneurial women who want to change the world. Bonus that it takes place in Southern California!

What I like most about their marketing and communications is their heart for their community, both in-person and online. They are supportive and encouraging, and always looking for ways to help their fans be better in life, in their jobs, and in the world.

3. So Worth Loving: They are a community of passionate and original individuals who exist to embrace your past and empower your future. They believe no matter your history, past mistakes, religion, career choice, or relationship status, you are worthy of love. And they believe that fashion is the most iconic way to make a statement.

What I love most about their marketing and communications is that they always keep it simple. And it's highly effective! They share the stories of their fans, promote the idea of self-worth, and sell clothing that reminds people that they are worth loving.

4. Business Boutique: This is a fairly new conference that speaks to Christian, women entrepreneurs. They focus on all three aspects of a business: Dreaming, starting and building. 

What I love most about their marketing and communications is the practicality. I left their event feeling informed and resourced in moving forward in my business. And the podcast is a way to continue to soak up the knowledge.

5. The Skimm: A short, daily email telling you all about the day's top political news.

What I love most about their marketing and communications is that its fun! Otherwise, I wouldn't read it, to be honest. I have a hard time connecting with politics and news because it is usually so depressing or mean. They give you the highlights in a compelling way.

Honorable mention to: Joyn, Fashionable, Huffington Post, Raven + Lily

What do you think? Who would you have included? Tell me below!

And happy International Women's Day! #BeBoldForChange



PIN THIS POST FOR LATER: 

Highlighting women-run organizations that I love

Kristi Porter, founder at www.signify.solutions

I'm Kristi Porter, and I started Signify to provide writing, consulting and strategy services to nonprofits and for-profit organizations with a social mission, primarily through copywriting, marketing and business communications. I believe that cause-focused organizations like yours are the future of business. You're proof that companies can both make money and do good. And I'm here to help you get noticed and grow. When you succeed, we all win.