Planning is essential for content creators and brands all year round. But when it comes to influencers, certain seasons need special consideration. With the holidays coming up, there are many routes influencers can take when it comes to planning their content calendars around seasonal initiatives. This article will explain these approaches as well as touch on ways to seamlessly balance sponsored content and authentic storytelling around the holidays.
As you begin to flesh out your plan for holiday content, it's crucial to remember that your followers will be inundated with promotions, sponsored, and product-driven posts. While shopping is the motivating factor behind many of these posts, it's essential to go the distance and give your followers an experience. Given the nature of current events, below are a few ways to balance sales and storytelling:
1. Sponsored Content vs. Regularly Scheduled Programming As an influencer, sponsored content will take precedence around this time. However, that doesn't mean influencers have to phase out their usual content too. Depending on your industry, consider building creative around a particular theme, color palette, or medium. That way, there will be a coherent element that ties together advertised and organic content. It's important to maintain some level of consistency as you switch between these two kinds of content, so you don't alienate your followers who want to see more than #ad. For reference, Brooklyn-based fashion blogger LaTonya Yvette (@latonyayvette) does a stellar job at rolling out sponsored and organic content in a way that is timely, on-brand, and refreshingly personal.
2. The Art of Gifts + GivingThere is no shortage of gift guides around the holidays, and as an influencer, this provides you with the opportunity to edit, curate, and champion brands that you love. In addition to showcasing these products, there is also an opportunity to include an element of "giving back". From curating sustainable fashion shopping guides to product edits centered around a cause or charity, this approach allows influencers to humanize their approach to holiday content. It also enables influencers to use their platform for good. For example, look at Lauren Conrad. While she's known to most as an entertainment personality, Lauren has used her fame as a way to give back via her ethical shopping platform, The Little Market, which empowers artisan makers worldwide. More to the point, Lauren uses her personal platform to promote certain products available for purchase (@laurenconrad) proving that there are many ways to give during the holiday season.
3. Events + Real-Time Posting Opportunities Once planning more time-sensitive content, influencers have the chance to get creative in how they tie-up the loose ends within their content calendar. From in-store shopping events to panels to holiday dinners, influencers have options to tap into the real-time opportunities for posting. This approach can also open doors for more brand collaborations with the opportunities to take over a brand's Instagram Stories for a day, participate in Facebook Live, or post moments from these special gatherings in real-time and invite your followers into the conversations. This in-the-moment approach allows influencers to do what they do best while also infusing authenticity that many crave during this promotion-heavy time.
Now that we've outlined a few different approaches to planning and posting holiday content, we'll dive a bit deeper into ways to roll these posts out so that 1) they are engaging and 2) they don't bombard your followers with JUST promoted content. As a follow-up to the points addressed in our recent article, "6 Tips to Prepare Content for the Holidays as a Blogger", it's important to have the technical aspects of your content calendar mapped out.
1. Pre-Planning As an influencer, it's important to be timely in outreach to brands around sponsored post opportunities and partnerships. Consider putting together a calendar with benchmarks of specific brands you want to reach out to at different times. Shape your outreach plan accordingly - especially depending on your ask and the requirements of the potential collaboration. Doing this will also ultimately help you prioritize what matters to you and your followers during this time.
2.Consistency Consistency is critical no matter what season, but it is especially helpful to harness and maintain your unique point of view during the holidays so you can easily break through the noise. We've touched on a few key elements in this article already (including a theme, color palette, or medium) but this also extends to copy/voice and frequency (i.e., if you are used to posting X content a certain amount of times per week).
3.Flexibility The start of the holiday season is usually the busiest time of the year for both influencers and brands. With that being said, there will inevitably be some changes when it comes to creative, posting schedules, and other factors. It's also important to consider what's going on in the world and posting in a way that is sensitive to certain events. As an influencer it will be up to you to decipher what that looks like (and what matters to you and your followers) but all in all, allowing a little room for flexibility is necessary as you continue to build out your calendar.
In short, there's A LOT to consider as an influencer when posting content around this time. Fortunately, PLANOLY's many features will help inform the planning process (start with Discover, Drafts, and Instagram Stories' planning) as well as provide a timely analysis of what is performing and what to consider as you plan (in thanks to our features like Analyze, and Comments). Happy holidays!