What can we learn from Santa about content marketing?

It’s that time of year again when we can’t avoid consuming Christmas content everywhere we turn. For some it’s all a bit too much and many feel like they have the festive season quite literally shoved down their throats. However, there’s no denying that most do eventually get into the Christmas spirit and there’s certainly no way it can go unnoticed. We specialise in helping our clients stay ‘front of mind’ with their audiences so we couldn’t help but wonder whether we could learn a thing or two from the Christmas icon that is Santa Claus when it comes to being memorable, engaging and visible.

Funny-Christmas-Cartoons-33Get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet

He may be magical, but Santa can’t be everywhere all the time. That’s why he uses a worldwide troupe of doppelgangers to act on his behalf, elves to do the leg-work and reindeers to take him on his impossible journey. Very much like your employees, Santa has to make sure that everyone working for him is on the same page so that they embody his spirit when engaging with his audiences ‘out in the field’. There may be some dodgy Santas out there who, like script-driven call centre staff, don’t do a good job of creating the illusion that you’re speaking to the top dog himself – but others manage to fool children into thinking they’re the real deal. What’s the difference? They don’t seem like actors. They’re so bought into the magic of Christmas that they ‘become’ Santa. They don’t just spout key messages; they have the right tone of voice, style, approach and language because they really understand and believe in the brand. This is hugely powerful in generating audience buy-in and loyalty to the belief in Santa (at least up until a certain age!)

Listen and respond to your audience

Santa’s job isn’t to tell you what you want for Christmas – he asks his audiences what they would like. He personally reads every child’s letter from around the world and spends the whole of November and December sitting in grottos across the globe day-in-day-out meeting children face to face and asking them exactly what they want from him. Some make unrealistic demands but making the effort to listen and talk to them means that he can manage their expectations early on and explain that they can’t have the moon on a stick but he’ll do his best to get them what they’re looking for within realistic limits. When was the last time you made your audiences feel that special?

all i want for christmas

Throw in the odd surprise

While it’s important to listen to your audiences by delivering the content they want as opposed to the content you want to give them, it’s also good to mix things up to keep them interested. Santa does his best to make sure he’s not too predictable by throwing in the odd surprise gift. Whether it’s a satsuma or a thought-provoking book, he makes sure that even if it’s not exactly what the child asked for, it’ll enrich their life in an unexpected way.

Encourage sharing

Santa may be all about gifts but he’s also all about fairness and he certainly doesn’t advocate greed. He works to ensure that there is as much joy in giving as there is in receiving and makes the Christmas experience one that we all want to share in. How can we create content that resonates so well with our audiences that they immediately want to pass it on to others?

Build up the excitement

Santa and the elves don’t just suddenly make an appearance on Christmas Eve, like most businesses, they plan ahead for their big launch and they make sure that everyone knows it’s coming. Santa builds maximum buzz and excitement around the delivery of his content and ensures that it is timed perfectly so that it will have the biggest impact on Christmas morning. Don’t leave your audiences hanging by promising something and not delivering when they’re expecting it. And don’t miss a trick by forgetting to keep them updated on what’s coming up.

…But don’t try to be all things to all men

The magic of Santa sounds too good to be true and, unfortunately, that’s because it is. When it comes to content marketing, trying to please everyone is impossible and could mean that you end up getting lost in all the noise. There’s no longer such a thing as mass marketing to a mass audience – people now demand personalised content that feels tailored to them. Even Santa’s audience is pretty niche when you look at who actually believes in him. It’s more important to make sure that you put all your efforts into engaging those who do believe in your brand, than wasting time trying to convert the scrooges.

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