Something is better than nothing
I’ve been sending annual holiday letters since 1995. That was the year we packed it up and left Washington, D.C. to head back home to Texas with our 18-month-old daughter in tow.
An almost broken tradition
The big move compelled me to create the letter and update everyone on our lives. And from then on, it became a yearly tradition.
Most years, the letter arrived in mailboxes before the first of December.
It almost didn’t happen last holiday season. In late November, I posted a message in Facebook apologizing that I would not be sending out my annual letter/card. People understood. No one wants someone to go nuts trying to make something happen. It’s not worth sacrificing a person’s sanity.
Just when I thought I had moved on, I came across a few great deals on photo cards in mid-December.
I gave in.
The cards went out after Christmas. I had never been this late in 20 years of sending annual holiday wishes and updates.
Something is better than nothing.
This can happen in your content marketing and email marketing efforts. You get so overwhelmed with work and other things that your email newsletter, blog post or other regularly scheduled content marketing effort goes on the back burner.
It happens. Nobody’s perfect.
Clients, prospects, readers and fans all will forgive you for missing a deadline or issue.
Unless, of course, they’re paying for this service. That’s another story.
I found a way to compromise. I picked out a few pictures, added a one-liner greeting and signed the card from my family. No letter. They had to wonder what happened to us throughout the year.
They didn’t hear about my youngest becoming a Life Scout. They didn’t hear about my daughter’s second trip to Europe on a research grant. They didn’t hear about her completing her thesis. They didn’t hear how my older son got his driver’s license. They didn’t hear about him joining Future Farmers of America at school and raising 28 chickens.
Still, our smiling faces made it to their mailboxes. They thought of us for about four seconds as they read our sentiments and looked at the photos. Some people went the extra mile and dropped me a line, as I had included my email address.
8 ways to churn out content
When you’re in a bind, there’s a way to make your deadline, or at least come close. It just may not be the usual content you send. And that’s OK.
Here are some quick content options to help you stay on your content marketing schedule:
- Content curation: Share links to favorite articles of interest to your audience.
- Photos: Include photos of employees or a company event — bonus points for photos of employees at an event where they’re giving back to the community.
- Quotes: Ask employees a question. Post their responses along with their names, job titles and photos.
- Best of: Create a roundup of the best content you published in the past month, quarter or year. You could do a roundup of the best articles, infographics, data or research from others with thoughts on each.
- Predictions: Make a list of what you think will happen in your industry in the year ahead.
- Recycle: Look for presentations, videos, papers and other content you can recycle and reuse.
- Feature guest experts: Ask experts in your field if they will contribute an article.
- Video: Most mobile phones capture decent videos. Take a short video and transcribe it to use as the text in the article.
Bet you can think of a few more.
Something is better than nothing
No one demanded I send a letter or a card. And the world wouldn’t come to an end if I didn’t send anything. We all find ourselves in situations that challenge meeting our deadlines.
You can still get something out. The content doesn’t have to be on the exact date you have scheduled. The content doesn’t have to be what your readers expect.
One thing it must be … relevant and useful. No matter what. Don’t sacrifice quality for deadlines.
That 18-month-old? That girl is now 21 and about to graduate from college! What’s next for her? I hope to cover that in the next annual letter. But I won’t beat myself up if I resort to a card again.
About the author
Meryl K. Evans is senior editor at InternetViZ and the content maven behind the Organizational Excellence Journal and Professional Services Journal. Contact her or connect with her on Twitter @merylkevans and other places.