Too early to think about Christmas?

by Lulu Trask – Mar 31, 2021

The concept of planning ahead has been thrown somewhat up in the air over the past 12 months, with very little certainty about anything, from when we can next go to the pub to whether we can book a holiday. And if you’re one of the lucky Brits who has experienced a few days of glorious sunshine this week, thinking of wrapping up for winter and mugs of hot chocolate in front of a fire probably seem like the last thing on your mind. But when it comes to content planning, they shouldn’t be. 

With any content, planning ahead is a must, but for big campaigns it’s especially important, because typically a lot more content has to be put together much further in advance. If your campaign is launching out on 1st December, for example, you’ll want that content drafted and written, and the photo shoots planned and taken place, a good few months before.  

When producing the Heart Matters content campaign for the British Heart Foundation, for example, we’d plan nutrition-based content around seasonal favourites (lots of salads in the summer and warming meals in the winter), and for the hero imagery in particular we’d always ensure colours, location and case studies’ clothing reflected the season, even if the photo shoot took place months beforehand. So even if a Winter shoot took place outdoors on a beautiful August day, the case study would be wrapping up in cosy coats and scarves. 

The challenge can be getting everyone on board with this mind set – whether that’s the client or fellow team members. When people are spending their lunch breaks sunning themselves in St. James’ Park or having an al fresco meal, a conversation about where to find a Christmas tree for a photo shoot or brainstorming a list of ‘must-have’ Christmas gifts might raise a few eyebrows. But we promise – those raised eyebrows will look very relaxed come that Winter campaign, when everything’s been pre-planned and things have gone off without a hitch. 

It’s always a good idea to leave a few gaps and ‘TBC’ pieces of content that can be slotted in closer to launch date, to ensure content feels fresh and on-the-pulse of what’s happening there and then (something we had to do as we became immersed in the pandemic – ignoring Covid-19 in most of our clients’ content simply wasn’t a viable option, even if content had been planned long before the pandemic began). But for those pieces that you can plan for, our first tip is to work backwards. Start from the launch date and work out how long you need running up to that for initial brainstorms, photography and illustration briefs, draft articles and moodboards. That will give you your window, and will make sure that you don’t start planning content too late – or start sourcing those Christmas trees too early. 

Published Mar 31, 2021

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