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Irrelevant, Unnatural Content Makes any Holiday Awkward

By Lisa GulasyFeb 14, 2014

sumall pizza my heart valentineAllow me to kick off your Valentine’s Day with a sugary dose of awkward…

A few years ago, my good friend and I were both in committed relationships. Our little foursome was a tight-knit group, so as the days to Valentine’s grew fewer, we decided all of us would celebrate together. Sounds sweet, right?

Here’s the hitch: We had a friend who often tagged along on our group outings. And while we enjoyed her company when grabbing the everyday bite to eat or catching the occasional movie, we really wanted our Valentine’s dinner to be a romantic double date. So we were vague when discussing our Valentine’s plans, hoping the less we shared, the less excluded she’d feel.

The problem was, because we weren’t forthcoming with the details, our friend assumed the night out would be just like any other, which is why she showed up at our door dressed in her best, eagerly anticipating the evening ahead. It was and continues to be my most awkward—not to mention crowded—Valentine’s Day.

Why Are You Telling Me This?

This memory has popped into my mind a lot in recent days, but not simply because Valentine’s Day is upon us. You see, marketers and brands alike have been publishing Valentine’s Day-esc content all week. Many have done a nice job integrating the Valentine’s theme into their blogs, email campaigns and more. (The article “Rethink Your Branding to Create Crazy Love from Customers” on MarketingProfs comes to mind.)

Others, however, seem to have done little more than list generic Valentine’s Day keywords like cupid, romance and hearts, and then desperately brainstorm ways in which they could relate said keywords to anything about their industries. (I know this because I tried doing it for this blog. (“Conversation hearts and content marketing…there has to be something there!”) 

You want to be festive and timely—I get it. But here’s the thing: If the story isn’t coming together naturally, if the content just doesn’t flow, all you’re really doing is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and that’s going to come across as awkward for your audience.

The birth of Prince George (a.k.a. The Royal Baby) in July 2013 is a good example of this. Trying to capitalize on Oreo’s wildly successful Super Bowl XLVII tweet, brands pre-cooked congratulatory messages for the new parents, most of which fell flat. Unsurprisingly, the worst offenders were unrelated brands like Magnum Ice Cream and Delta Air Lines. (Because nothing says newborn baby like an ice cream bar and a Red-eye.)

Should I Avoid Timely Holiday-Themed Content Altogether?

Tying your content marketing efforts to timely events is a good strategy. Heck, I did it back around Halloween. I did it for Guy Fawkes Day, too. The key is that your content—no matter if it’s a social media post, blog, email, infographic or video—needs to be relevant to your industry and strategy and be of the same quality as your other content.

In regards to Valentine’s Day, certain brands like flower, candy and wine companies have a clear advantage. But even if your industry doesn’t lend itself to this holiday, there are other less awkward ways to work the holiday into your content marketing. For example, Gini Dietrich suggests telling a Valentine’s Day love story by highlighting a few of your favorite customers or simply telling your customers why you love them.

What's the Bottom Line?

Putting out timely, holiday-themed content is an excellent way to grab attention. Just make sure it’s for the right reasons. While it may be too late to heed my advice now, remember, St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner!

What are your thoughts on publishing holiday-themed content? Share them in the comments!

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Photo Credit: Sumall

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