Even if you waited 'til the last minute
by Brittany Taylor
published November 22, 2017
updated May 30, 2018
¶ If I see another “10 things I’m grateful for this year” article, I’m going to scream into the gigantic bowl of cranberries parked on my dining room table.
It’s not that I don’t like gratitude; gratitude is great. I’m all for humility and marking the season of thanks by, you know, giving it. What I don’t like is this stream of posts with the same title, the same theme, and the same homogeneous list of things we professionals are thankful for.
This is why:
When you publish a cookie-cutter list, you fade into the background. There’s nothing about “10 things I’m grateful for this year” that makes you stand out. You could twist it—think: “10 things I survived this year that made me stronger” or “10 pieces of humble pie I swallowed this year—and what I learned from them”—but following the standard theme is pretty darn “blah.”
It looks like you’re publishing according to a quota rather than quality or creativity. You see Thanksgiving circled on the calendar and think, “Oh! Gotta post something Thanksgiving-themed!” It feels gratuitous rather than thoughtful. With so much content on the ‘net, we don’t need another meaningless list.
What do we need? More of you, but with a holiday twist. Here’s how to get it right, even at the very last minute.
31 Christmas-themed blog post prompts to get you started writing holiday content
Enough of the Grinch-y gripes. It’s my favorite time of the year, guys. “Jingle Bells” is on the radio. Cinnamon brooms are in the produce aisle. And Elves on Shelves are destroying homes across America. Sigh. Isn’t it beautiful?
Let’s get down to business. If you’re determined to write a holiday-themed blog post, first you need to decide what kind it will be. There are three types of holiday blog posts:
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¶ We’re going to take a closer look at each type of blog post as well as the best practices for writing them. Onward!
Holiday tutorials can, for many business owners, become cornerstone brand content. They’re the sorts of posts that remain strong features year after year. The longer they’re live, the more SEO juju they have, setting you up for better and better holiday seasons in terms of web traffic.
The thing is, there are a lot of holiday tutorials living on the internet right now. For your post to become truly special, you need to make it better than 90 percent of the blog posts that have already been published. Researching what’s out there now is essential as you begin to write. The more aware you are of your competition, the more empowered you’ll be to raise the bar.
I love a good gift guide. The problem is that most gift guides are trash. They’re too short and they’re too predictable. Buying pencils for a writer? Yawn. Jack Daniels for a guy? Obvious.
Crafting a gift guide that people actually use to shape their giving takes time, focus, and extraordinary attention to detail. You need to be consistent in the way you present and format your items and the purchase information.
Your gift guide also needs to be at least one of two things: epic or niche. “100 gifts for girly-girls” is more intriguing than “10 gifts for girls.” More examples: “37 gifts for Ravenclaw bosses” and “21 white elephant swap gift ideas for coworkers."
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Not to sway your brainstorming, but clever holiday-inspired blog posts are my favorite. A good inspired-by blog post salutes its source of inspo and follows through on the spirit of the idea. Think: tongue-in-cheek rather than on-the-nose.
I love a play on words, which is what makes these posts shine. Go funny, go raunchy, go niche, go dorky, go expected-with-a-twist. Whatever pun you pick, make it a running joke throughout your post. Let it carry over to your formatting. For example, a Rudolph-themed headline could include eight sub-headlines for each of Santa’s other reindeer.
Have a seasonal sense of ZOMG? Learn from my mistakes. Here's how to make the holidays work for you, your social life, and your business.
My name is Brittany, but my friends and clients call me "Britt." Online small business owners hire me to create content strategies and write their blog posts, email newsletters, and social media updates. I work with bosses around the world from the marshes of Charleston, S.C.