I love this time of year in St. Louis. As we transition from summer to fall, we have warm, clear days and crisp, cool nights. Pennant races unfold. The promise of a new school year blossoms. The joy of the holiday season beckons.
Our friends at Mosby Building Arts used my company’s email marketing software to create and deliver a newsletter last month with “September Home Maintenance Tips.” Among the tips: Paint interior rooms while it’s still warm enough to keep windows open; inspect storm windows; check chimney flues.
This is a great example of engaging, topical, valuable content. Mosby does not explicitly sell anything here, but the company reinforces its brand as a trusted authority in home maintenance. By offering tips tied to the season, Mosby delivers content relevant to the moment. Those with a home maintenance issue which requires professional attention are more likely to call Mosby because of this email.
Last year around the holiday season, I wrote a post (and followed-up with an item in our email newsletter) about holiday thank you cards. It was relevant to the moment. “Holiday time is thank you time in the business world. My desk has a stack of holiday thank you cards. And my inbox is full of emails from vendors expressing their gratitude for my business,” I wrote. “I welcome the sentiments, but I wonder: Why now? Why once a year? Most businesses that choose to thank their clients do so once a year around the holidays. Shouldn’t we be grateful the other 11 months of the year?”
I then offered multiple tips on how to show gratitude to your customers 12 months a year.
Like the Mosby email, this post used a seasonal transition or a holiday to get readers’ attention. But with my post and Mosby’s email, we did not say, “Happy Autumn…Hire us” or “Merry Christmas. Thanks.” We said, “Here are some helpful tips, relevant to this moment.”
When business owners don colonial wigs and announce a “Presidents Day Sale,” they engage in sales gimmicks. That’s OK. Sales gimmicks can work under the right circumstances for some businesses.
Good content marketing is not about sales gimmicks. It’s about engaging prospects and customers with content they will value so that they will choose you when they need the products or services you offer.
Speaking of Presidents Day. I just came up with a content idea for February: Five Things Marketers Can Learn from George Washington.