Ahhh, the Christmas season. The time of office parties and late-night shopping and mince pies…and cancelled meetings and delayed marketing and “I’ll do it in 2018!”
Here are a few simple tips for ensuring that your marketing doesn’t disappear entirely over the festive period.
1. Pre-schedule emails.
Write a few emails and schedule them to go out over December and January. That way, things are carrying on while you’re doing that late-night shopping, or relaxing by the fire.
2. Schedule social media posts.
Do keep an eye on these and be aware of current events – some companies have sent pre-scheduled social posts on the day of some natural disaster or attack, and it made them look callous and uncaring. Be alert.
3. Read that business book you’ve been meaning to read.
I recommend business books constantly. Here are a few I’ve mentioned this year, which you can add to your holiday reading list, and actually start them (or even finish them!):
- Oversubscribed by Daniel Priestly
- Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
- They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan
- Known by Mark Schaefer
- The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds
- Zombie Loyalists by Peter Shankman
- The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde (this is for all of you who love my sketchnotes. Your kids will probably love this book, too)
4. Start writing.
It doesn’t take long to start a blog post. (It takes longer to finish it, edit it, choose imagery, publish it, and share it!)
You can use Christmas to start as many blog posts as you like. You don’t even have to finish them. Simply write the first sentence or two. (You will probably be surprised at how easy it comes once you get started, and write more than you think.)
Then, in 2018, you’ll have all these blogs that you simply finish off and publish, putting you ahead of the game!
5. Commit to that big project.
Everyone has one – a project you’ve been meaning to start all throughout 2017, and now the year is coming to an end, and you may as well wait til next year to start. This could be a new website, outsourcing your social media, hiring a marketing intern, building an app, rebranding…
Actually, now is the perfect time to start discussions with the developer or designer or whoever. Review the website or information. Have a quick call to discuss your needs. Get the quote. Review the budget. Commit to the first deposit.
Set things in motion, and you’ll be grateful in 2018 that you did. You’ll be ahead of the game when everyone else is scrambling to get started.
6. Book a 2018 planning day in early January.
I’ve already booked and paid for mine. Chris Marr from the Content Marketing Academy puts on a full day “2018 Planning Day” for CMA members – on the 5th of January. Yes, it’s early. Yes, it’s when everyone is barely straggling back to work and isn’t quite in full work mode yet. Yes, it’s only a few days after I get back from America and I’ll be hitting jet lag.
I know from experience that if you have something booked, paid for, and in the diary, there’s a much higher chance of me actually showing up. I considered simply waiting until the 3rd or 4th January to decide, but I realised that if I did that, Netflix would always win.
I would strongly recommend having someone else there at your planning day – a coach, consultant, mentor, someone outwith your firm. If you block the day out in your calendar and it’s only you who is going, you’ll let yourself off because you’re tired or you have work to do or you can always do it next week instead. The same thing will probably happen if it’s someone else in the firm – they’ll agree with you, and be relieved that they can get back to all their client work.
If you can’t do it in January (some of the UK accountancy firms really do struggle at that time), book it for February. Agree to it, pay for it, and commit to it now, in December. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Ask yourself whether Christmas is the excuse to put something off, or if you simply don’t want to do it.
The timing is never right. You can convince yourself that no one replies to phone calls Monday morning. Friday afternoons are out. Easter holidays. Summer. Anytime in the evening. Weekends. Pretty soon you can get away with doing nothing, ever, because the timing isn’t perfect.
The timing will never be perfect. You can be realistic (your website developers may be unlikely to start a new project on the 22nd of December, for example), but ask yourself whether you’re putting this off because you really don’t want to do it at all.
December is the time to be very honest with yourself. “Yes, I really do want to do that – I simply don’t know how, or where to begin”. Or, “Actually, I’m carrying on with that because it’s been on my list for ages. It’s not really relevant anymore.”
If you’re not sure, ask someone. Drop me an email and ask me. If you really do want to do this marketing thing, take the little steps now, before Christmas. It’s amazing how long the little steps take before you actually get to the project itself!
Remember there is no shame in taking a proper rest over Christmas. That’s what I’ll be doing. Sitting by a fire, playing board games with the nieces and nephews, going for hikes with my sisters, shopping.
The above items are all things you can do throughout the entire month of December, right up to the break. I tend to take a proper break at Christmas, shut the PF “offices”, turn off Slack, and simply enjoy resting. Other people find that a great time to start writing or reading or recording videos or starting projects.
Wherever and however you want to fit it in, do that. But don’t let Christmas be another excuse for avoiding marketing. Keep it going, even in small ways. Those small actions will have a big result in 2018!