This time last year, it was SNOWING outside my window in Atlanta, Georgia—we’re not getting that treatment now, but brrrr … it’s time to talk about how to write holiday marketing copy.
If you’re like me, this time of year, you want to wear ALL the cozy socks, curl up with a good cup of holiday-flavored coffee, turn on Christmas tree lights, and turn up some Amy Grant circa 1990s albums.
(Surely I’m not the only Tennesee Christmas fan in the house?!)
Today, I want to talk to you about holiday marketing copy.
Because while it’s Christmas/Hanukkah now … that bleeds into New Year’s … which bleeds into Valentine’s Day … bleeds into St. Patrick’s Day and Easter … bleeds into National Margarita Day (kidding not really).
And I want to make sure you’re set with seasonal marketing words to come alongside the holiday-themed emails, Instagram photos, Facebook ads, and more you’re as you get ready to use to finish up this year’s run as a creative small business.
BUT … here’s the kicker: (a) I don’t want you to just add to the noise of the marketing landscape that happens during a holiday and (b) I don’t want you to sound like a cheeseball.
I taught a mini-training on how to write holiday marketing copy on my friend Natalie Franke’s Instagram account recently, and got some great feedback—so I wanted to make sure I shared the 3 steps with you, too!
In this post, you’ll learn:
- 3 steps to writing holiday-themed copy
- How I organize inspiration for future holidays
- The ratio of holiday words to regular words I suggest you use in your copy
Let’s go! Don’t forget to grab your freebie brand voice guide—it will help you sync holiday copy with what your brand sounds like.
Step 1: Get clear on your message’s recipe.
Get clear on the message you’re trying to communicate before doing ANYTHING.
A lot of times—at least, for me as a teacher’s daughter—I love holidays for holidays’ sake, and need to make sure I’m crystal clear on the POINT of any marketing I’m putting out during the holidays … because I get a tish excited.
Holiday times tend be noisy enough as it is, so make sure that there are purpose and reason behind the post or email you’re sending out.
I’m asking you to think through this because sometimes we get so excited about the chance to be merry-merry in our words that we forget the whole POINT of the message we’re sharing.
Before you start thinking about decking your marketing with lyrics and bells and tinsel, consider your intention with your copy.
Is your goal to encourage?
Is it to inspire?
Is it to educate?
Is it to drive to your blog?
Is it to actually drive to sales? (ex. bring people in your store, send them to your shop, get them to book a session)
I teach my students that each word on your website needs to serve a purpose. It needs to cut laser-like through the noise and the clutter, making your message and copy strong and clear.Each word on your website needs to serve a purpose Click To Tweet
You may need a copywriting formula to help give you a paint-by-number prompt to organizing your message. Click here to swipe 19 copywriting formulas you can use to sell.
No one likes the weird dish at the fam holiday gatherings that we’re not *really* sure what it is, and likewise, putting out an unclear message for your email newsletter or social media post can be confusing.
We need to make sure your message can stand alone, without the support of holiday-themed words.
So, make sure you’re clear on the message recipe you’re getting out.
Step 2: Gather your ingredients
This is the fun part. Now, that you know the WHAT you’re getting across (your message), let’s talk about the HOW: the cute phrases, witty one-liners, heart-warming words or stories, and seasonal flair you’re peppering in.
Start a holiday swipe file of festive words to use in your business, whatever that looks like for you. I have a Copy Bank Kit AW Shop download where I hand over my Trello/Evernote board swipe file system for keeping copy inspiration organized, but for you, it may look as simple as a Dropbox folder with screenshots from the J. Crew email that made you grin or a Gmail folder where you deposit emails with subject lines that you instantly clicked.
Some of my favorite places to look for holiday copywriting inspiration are magazine websites.
Make a little list of some of some non-industry publications (examples for would be, like, Real Simple, UrbanDaddy, and Eater), and poke around on their websites.
Here’s a little how-to recording of how I hunt for holiday and seasonal copy to pocket for my swipe file.
Another idea is to look at lyrics from songs … this could easily get super cheesy, but sometimes there’s some good stuff out there!
After you pull some copy swipes, host them somewhere in a copy bank, whether it’s a Trello board, Evernote file, or folder of screenshots.
Step 3: Combine your message from Step 1 with a few of the seasonal words you found in Step 2.
Alright, let’s put it together! Take what you figured the scaffolding of your message to be—the POINT of it—and add in a *small* pinch of the holiday words you found through your research in step 2.
Here’s an example:
It’s Black Friday & I need to drive to my shop for sales
Home Alone quote from Kevin McAlister
Do a once over to make sure it’s consistent with your brand voice (and here’s my free brand voice guide if you need to snag it). For example, you wouldn’t want to use eerie copy around Halloween if your voice is more witty … you’d go with a little more spooky feel. Likewise, if you have a more elegant, serious brand voice, you’d probably want to veer away from anything to cutesy Christmas.
Here’s the key though: don’t over do it!
A little goes a loooong way, so here’s my rule of thumb: use 1 holiday/seasonal word for every 20 other words.
I hope that helps, friend! Okay … now to go pour more hot chocolate mix into my coffee before I reheat it—it’s allowed this time of year.
Haven’t ever found your brand voice before? No worries—I gotcha. Click below to take my quiz and get on your way to figuring it out!