Tis the season to do content: use the Christmas lull to grab an audience

Q) What are all the people who unwrap smartphones and iPads on Christmas Day going to read on their shiny new devices when the news organisations are in holiday mode?

A) Your interesting, inspiring, useful content.

The two-week break over Christmas and New Year is one of the few times of the year when people actually have time to read and watch, and it coincides with the period when newspapers and broadcasters generally have very little news to report and fewer journalists around to find stories.

Even the most prolific professional Tweeters seem to go into semi-hibernation from December 23 to January 3, leaving the usually noisy and crowded social media stage open for new performers. Step forward, your business.

A number of clever companies and organisations have already worked this out. The first page of Google’s search results for ‘business year in review’ naturally includes round-ups from the likes of the Wall Street Journal, but the top spot is taken by a Year in Review video address from Garth Saloner, the dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Spotify’s review of how much and what music its customers streamed this year is also very highly ranked – and other businesses take note, news organisations writing about what Spotify’s review shows also number among the highest-ranked articles. If your content is good enough and well promoted, there are reporters with websites and news bulletins to be filled over the Christmas holidays, waiting to pick it up.

As well as reviewing how their sites have been used, social media companies such as Facebook and LinkedIn are putting together personal reviews of the year for users, compiling significant posts and most-shared pictures and comments for each person, presumably to encourage them to do more of the same next year.

Among more traditional businesses, construction equipment maker Caterpillar’s year in review also makes it onto the first page of Google’s search results.

Of course Christmas/New Year content is not limited to reviewing the year past and forecasting the one to come, but it can be a good place to start. Taking a leaf from the examples above, as a business, charity or educational organisation, you can use your own website and social media channels to promote either what your customers have been doing in the last year and plans for 2015, or what the organisation itself has been doing.

Digital publishing gives you plenty of space for eye-catching photographs of your products in action or in the hands of famous people. As the Stanford Business School example shows, video addresses from leaders in your organisation can attract a lot interest: a CEO describing his top five moments in 2014 and what he expects in 2015 could win a lot of viewers and mainstream media pick-up.

Every business and organization should now be thinking like a publisher and populating its website and social media channels with interesting content year-round. But the breather in the news cycle between Christmas and New Year provides an extra opportunity to grab eyeballs while the media beast is relatively quiet.

Apart from anything else, think of the gratitude of the newcomers to Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for something interesting to look at which prevented them having to join another game of Monopoly or staved off a major festive family falling-out…

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