Why content marketers should join the Festivus celebrations

Taking content marketing inspiration from a classic Seinfeld episode

December 23, 2016

Confused by the title of this post? Wondering what on earth Festivus is and why on earth content marketers should care about it? Obviously you weren’t faithfully tuning in to Seinfeld during the 1990s in quite the same way I was – or maybe you’ve just forgotten. Either way – let me enlighten you. After all, nobody should miss out on Festivus!

As a content marketer, if you're doing the same thing everyone else is doing, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. Some of the most effective content marketers still spend a lot of time asking themselves, how can I break the mould? How can I be different in a way that means something?

That's not to say they ignore the tried-and-true marketing traditions that have stood the test of time. They just like to turn traditional marketing on its head every now and then.

And that, in so many ways, is what Festivus is all about. Taking the traditions of this time of year, asking yourself what really matters most about them – and then putting your own twist on the fundamentals.

Festivus took hold as a pop culture idea pretty much as soon as the scriptwriters of Seinfeld explained the concept. It’s a celebration like no other, free of the commercialism of the Christmas holiday period: a tad ridiculous, but totally unique, memorable – and honest and purposeful to its core.

Change things up in your next content planning session by including these four Festivus traditions. If trying one of these tactics does not radically change your content marketing on LinkedIn, at the very least it will make for a memorable meeting.

The Festivus pole – The tradition begins with a bare aluminum pole, which Frank (George Costanza’s father and the inventor of Festivus) praises for its "very high strength-to-weight ratio." It requires no decoration, because Frank finds tinsel “distracting”. A good piece of content can be thought of in the same way. What’s your content’s relevance to usefulness ratio? It doesn’t need to be flashy, cost a lot of money, or be draped in tinsel before it’s the centerpiece of the party. At its core, it should serve the ultimate purpose: providing value to your customers and prospects.

Airing of grievances – What grinds your audience's gears? Often times the quickest way to your audience's heart is to show them you "get it.” Try to identify and empathise with common problems to show you can speak their language. Social media provides the perfect opportunity to get this kind of feedback. Asking your followers about their frustrations can be a very effective engagement strategy in its own right. Plus, the qualitative data gained from this tactic can vastly improve the accuracy of your messaging.

Feats of strength – Festivus doesn’t end until the head of household is pinned in a wrestling match. We’re not suggesting you stage a royal rumble with the marketing director. Instead, use feats of strength as a positive source of creative inspiration. What is your company best at? How many different ways can you relate this to your audience in a customer-centric manner? Are there new tools or tactics you can leverage?

Festivus miracles - These are easily explainable events, like watching your engagement levels increase when you test and optimise Sponsored Content campaigns on LinkedIn. It’s entirely predictable and makes perfect sense. But what’s the fun in saying that? Call it a Festivus miracle and celebrate!

Of course the most important characteristic of Festivus is that it’s fundamentally very funny – and therein lies another lesson. Research shows that laughter leads to learning. Laughter can break the logjam in your mind, allowing creativity to come to the forefront.

It’s also a hugely powerful asset in content marketing. Humour is often the vital ingredient in the most effective LinkedIn campaigns. It taps you into your audience’s emotional needs as well as their practical ones – it captures attention, drives sharing and ensures that what you say is memorable. Festivus has certainly been memorable for me – I hope you get as much inspiration from it as I have.