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Producing Holiday Content That Performs

Episode Overview

A successful holiday season is a process that starts far in advance for SEOs. This week Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ Director of Services, walks us through the five steps to executing a successful holiday campaign.

In today’s episode, Tyson walks us through his holiday-specific content production process.

Topics discussed:

  • When to start working on holiday content production
  • How to work around your cross-functional partners’ timelines
  • Prioritization of holiday vs non-holiday content production

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Episode Transcript

Benjamin: Welcome to Holiday Seasonality Week on The Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro and this week we’re going to publish an episode every day covering the topic of how you can get ready for the holidays. Joining us again for Holiday Seasonality Week is Tyson Stockton, who is Searchmetrics is director of services.

So far this week we’ve talked about doing your strategic research to get ready for the holiday and how to build your holiday seasonality roadmap so it’s effective and you get buy-in from your team. And today we’re going to talk about actually producing your holiday specific content.

But before we hear from Tyson, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data driven decisions. And we’re happy to invite you, our loyal podcast listeners, to an upcoming AMA webinar workshop where Tyson Stockton, our director of services, will be answering all of your questions about seasonality. So come prepared with your website, your data, and any questions you have related to optimizing your content for the holiday season and Tyson will answer your questions on our Webinar in real time. To join our seasonal AMA Webinar go to searchmetrics.com/webinar.

Here’s the third installment of Holiday Seasonality Week with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics is director of services.

Tyson, welcome back to Holiday Seasonality Week on The Voices of Search podcast.

Tyson: Thanks Ben. Ready for a round three here.

Benjamin: Yeah, round three we’re onto the main course here, right? We’ve had our apéritifs, we’ve had our appetizers. We’re onto the main course, which is actually starting to build your content for the holidays. 

Just to recap some things we’ve talked about so far is you know how to do your research, how to understand and evaluate your previous business history related to the holidays. Look at your competitive sets and seeing where there’s other opportunities. And then yesterday we talked about building your roadmap and strategy and why it’s really important to start early and define executive sponsorship to help you get the assets and time you need to be successful, to be able to iterate and optimize during the actual holiday season. Today we’re going to talk about our content production and what you need to do to produce effective holiday pages.

So talk to me about how you think about making holiday specific pages. Are you just putting, you know, Santa Claus and reindeers as keywords and every page? Are you putting graphics of presence everywhere? What’s the secret?

Tyson: I mean that plus like, you know, adding snow to just about everything. You know, even if you’re in a warm climate that on a page is definitely going to be a plus.

Benjamin: Palm trees with lights on them. That’s, you know, the Corona strategy, right?

Tyson: Yeah. I mean maybe, maybe if they’re Florida, Hawaii that can work. Minnesota could be a stretch, but you know, it’s a lifestyle, so.

Benjamin: So kidding aside. Talk to me about what you’re doing for your content and you know, how are you not only getting your buy-in from your executive team, but also the operators to start working on that content production when you need it to happen?

Tyson: Yeah, and we touched in the previous episode on kind of, you know, building the allies that you have for these efforts. I think at this stage it comes down a little more tactical now of hey, we got the resources, we get people to actually start picking up the task or the tickets and we’re actually starting to get to kind of a pre-production/production phase. I would think about this as far as, one, from kind of like a graphics and content perspective on page elements. I think it’s similar to have a couple of iterations and I’d recommend to have a couple of iterations planned. And this is going to be kind of similar to B strategy for linking where you’re going to get away with you know more prominent links closer to the event or during the event then you will prior.

The same thing can be viewed for like content and maybe it’s like creative assets and if you don’t already have it now having something like check back in November 2019 for our Black Friday sale items or something. So it’s like the page is still live but it’s maybe not fully populated and then having a couple of iterations. Of course you have creative of, “Hey Black Friday’s coming soon.” To, you know, “Here’s our Black Friday sale.” And then even having something post if people trickle into the page and you want to get them to other kind of live sale events. That’s going to be something that you want to have scoped out in planned from a graphics perspective.

Then you also want to think about that informs of content. I think it is good idea to also have a couple iterations of content on the page. This one part, it helps send a signal to Google that the page is important and you’re working on it and you’re making changes and improving it. So if you’re starting kind of early on and maybe the contents a little on the thinner side, but you know you’re pretty far in advance. Then when you get a little bit closer to the event, having a couple more iterations, maybe speaking a little bit more of what the offers are, what are some unique selling propositions that your business has versus others. But having those iterations of content is going to just really help kind of solidify and show search engines and this page is changing, we’re adding to it. It’s not like an old page that was forgotten from last year and it is relevant fresh content.

Benjamin: Yeah. I think the things that stick out to me at what you’re saying is you’re basically working on the things that you can control that are far out in advance, right? If you have control of modifying some of your templates for holiday, by all means fire away. Go ahead and do it. If you own the content production team and you can have them start writing your holiday content, you can get some of that published in advance and give Google a signal. If you don’t, let’s say the graphic design team is something that you have to ask resources for or they’re an external resource, you know, you got to get on the roadmap in advance and their probably not ready for holiday in July. So you have to just make sure that they’re aware and then work around their schedule.

Tyson: Yeah, and one other thing that I would add into kind of deciding the type or the amount of content that you’re investing on these pages is understanding a little bit of the intent of the keywords that you’re targeting to it. So if you’re targeting something that’s very broad and generic and keeping on the same topic of Black Friday, Black Friday is just like that as a search term is going to have a little bit of mixed kind of results. You’re going to get aggregate sites that are pulling the other sales from different websites. You’re going to get a couple of kind of one off, like these are our web Black Fridays sales. But understanding where in the funnel, and kind of like where in the buyer’s journey are attacking and then matching content to that. So I’d probably have a little bit more informational content on a very top top funnel term like Black Friday.

But then if I’m getting down to something like Black Friday running shoe sales, you know, that’s going to be something that’s like a little less heavier, less likely to have the informational need as you would on one of those more general terms where you’re seeing mixed intense of types of URLs ranking.

Benjamin: So tell me what you mean by mixed intent.

Tyson: Yeah, so it makes intent what I mean by this, and this is something that we’ve seen kind of evolving in the last, let’s say year to two years, is on top funnel terms. You’re getting both like real estate and the serp to informational websites as well as kind of transactional websites. And if we take this out of the kind of holiday conversation, and maybe we take a term like MacBook, you’re going to get some people that are interested in learning more about MacBooks. So pages that do reviews on the actual computer is going to rank and it’s going to have first page kind of presence as well as the category pages of different MacBooks that maybe a more standard ecommerce site would sell.

So when you’re looking at terms understanding the percentage of the serp that is informational and transactional is helpful because that can give you a clue of different types of content or information that can be helpful to be competitive in that space. So a rough kind of rule of thumb is the higher in the funnel your search term is the more informational presence you’re going to see in the actual serp. So if it’s something very, very generic like holiday sale it’s probably going to have a lot more informational, kind of like almost guide like articles versus more traditional just categories sale items.

Benjamin: So, when you think about your content production for the holidays, you mentioned focusing on the things that you can control first, right? If you have the ability to modify your templates, your navigation, your content, go ahead and start doing that production. The earlier you’re able to publish your content, the better, but you’re likely going to have to rely on other people that are in your team to either do your content production, do your graphic design, publish your pages. Every organization is going to be different, but mostly when you’re doing your content production, you need to understand why you’re producing that content and what it’s designed to do. So understand whether you are building content that is to drive awareness, top of funnel content, whether you’re trying to drive something to, you know, a promotional page or a conversion page.

Tyson, other last words on putting together your content production efforts for the holiday?

Tyson: I think sharing as much of kind of what you just mentioned to the other stakeholders is really key and oftentimes is overlooked. But giving the writers that explanation of what the strategy is for the page, what are the keywords that you’re targeting for the page? Making sure that the writers and whether it’s like content side, or creative assets, making sure that you’re sharing that same line of sight on the objectives and the goals of the page is really critical and ultimately of what kind of output you get from those additional partners.

Benjamin: Okay, great advice and that wraps up this episode of The Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Tyson Stockton, Searchmetrics’ director of services.

We’d love to continue the conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Tyson, you can find the link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can send him a tweet. His handle is Tyson_Stockton, T-Y-S-O-N underscore S-T-O-C-K-T-O-N. And if you have general marketing questions, or if you’d like to talk to me about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes, or you can send me a tweet at Ben J. Shap B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P.

If you’re interested in joining our upcoming Holiday AMA, where Tyson Stockton will walk you through how to solve your holiday seasonality problems go to searchmetrics.com/webinar.

If you liked this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back in your feed tomorrow morning to discuss launching your holiday campaigns. 

Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed this podcast and you’re feeling generous, we’d love for you to leave us a review in the Apple iTunes store or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Okay, that’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.