The malls have rolled out the decorations and the memes have started to be shared online, reminding us that there are this many days (and only this many weekends!) until Christmas. For some of us, this will bring joy and excitement. For others, possibly some dismay as to how another year has rolled by so quickly.
Although it’s tempting to pretend the silly season isn’t creeping up quite so quickly, this time of year holds great potential when it comes to your communications – and we don’t just mean sending your annual Christmas card to Aunt Mabel (although you should possibly get onto that soon too!)
The end of the year is the perfect time to not only recap on the fantastic year you’ve had and pay tribute to the clients, partners and staff who have supported you, it’s also a time to be organised – after all, you want to be able to relax and enjoy your time off without stressing about work during your break. So, while your mind might be frantically starting to assemble some of the things you need on your ‘to-do’ list before the jolly man pays us all a visit, take some time to consider our top tips for tackling your end of year communications.
Plan in advance
You’ve worked hard all year to keep your communications regular, relevant, and consistent – and that doesn’t need to change now! You may be shutting up shop for a couple of weeks, but that’s no reason to go to ground. Technology abounds with scheduling tools so you can populate your social media with pre-planned posts, set your blog content to publish in your absence and have your newsletters scheduled to send automatically. It means a bit more work now, but it’s worth it to not let the balls drop over the holidays.
As well as pre-planning and scheduling content, you may have other tools that your clients or customers engage with, so make sure everything is in place for these to run smoothly before you shut up shop. It’s all about giving you piece of mind and ensuring they still have the best experience. Another great idea is to refresh your FAQs for the time of year, adding the answers to commonly asked questions in a way that’s easy to find and access. This will minimise the amount that people need to try to reach you directly over that period and let them know what they can expect.
The content that works
It’s tempting to think that people don’t want to hear from you at this time of the year, but that’s usually not the case. In fact, in many ways, this is when they’ve got more time to devote to your content than before! However, bear in mind that you’re getting people while they are likely more relaxed, which means you want to keep your content fun, fresh, and relevant to the season and mood of your audience, so they’re more receptive.
No matter how you communicate normally, at this time of the year lighter-hearted content is generally a good way to go. Holiday wishes, or something more personal like your reflections on the year, or staff profiles that share what different members of your team are most looking forward to over the break are all great options. Consider a Christmas gift guide featuring some of your products, or compile your top tips for the beach, for example. Get your team together to brainstorm ideas, and while you should still find a way to reflect your brand and key messaging, what matters most now is simply staying top of mind clients over the holidays and as people start the new year.
Give out some gratitude
Another excellent idea for communicating at this time of the year is sending your clients or suppliers a little piece of appreciation – after all, they are the reason your business is thriving. A Christmas card or small gift goes a long way or, for very special clients, find a meaningful way to say thanks. Think outside the box of your standard Christmas card and see if you can have a bit of fun with your brand, or find a way to surprise and delight them; try a personalised present or poem, a video or slideshow to recap the year, or a game that gets people engaged. You could even host clients for a special drink or lunch to show your appreciation and further strengthen your relationship. It’s worth the time it takes to truly leave an impression.
Keep people in the loop
It’s fine to go off the grid in the holidays – in fact, we all need to occasionally – but make sure you’ve proactively communicated this. Clearly spell out your holiday dates to clients and key contacts to avoid bad feelings when they are unable to reach you. Set an out-of-office that communicates when you are back and, where possible, add an alternative contact for the time you are away. Do this a wee bit ahead of when you’re actually going on leave too, if possible – it can be amazing what extra work comes flooding in when you’ve said that you’re unavailable soon!
We get that this can be a busy time already without adding extra communications to your workload – so if you need any help creating clever content that speaks to your audience and tells your story, just get in touch!