While it may not be labeled on your desk calendar, today marks the unofficial beginning of a period that I like to call the “Formulaic New Years Content Festival,” or FNYCF for brevity’s sake.
FNYCF is the time of year when people seem to really enjoy “year in review” and “best of 2010” stories that re-cap the events of the last 12 months. According to Google Trends, FNYCF kicks into high gear on December 23rd and doesn’t end until the first Tuesday following January 1 (which will be January 4 in 2011). Check out the Google Trends data below – the pattern is pronounced:
I call FNYCF a “festival” because it’s a relatively easy time to produce enticing web content. While every other day of the year I feel compelled to be creative and original, FNYCF is a time when I can rely upon some tried-and-true content formulas to generate links. What’s more, because this content is so formulaic, it’s easy to manufacturer quickly. In SEO, link worthy content that’s easy to create in a quick amount of time is something to celebrate…let the festival begin!
Here are three content formulas that work during FNYCF:
Formula #1: The year in review. Despite the fact that this type of content is both pervasive and expected, it seems that people can’t get enough of it during FNYCF. Lists like “The Top 50 Movies of 2010” or “Best New Products of 2010” tend to grab eyeballs, and any list that grabs eyeballs is sure to grab a few links, too. When you’re building your “best of 2010” or “top 10 of 2010” lists, I suggest you take advantage of your website’s analytics, Google Trends, and other trending tools like Trendistic to get a sense of the most significant events surrounding your industry and your keywords for the last year.
Formula #2: Predictions and projections. There’s never a bad time to make a prediction or projection; however, it seems to be more newsworthy during FNYCF. Some example predictions from previous FNYCF’s include:
- Political turmoil predictions, such as one group’s assessment that 2010 would mark a new Cuban Revolution (technically not too late, but I’m guessing that one won’t come to pass).
- Annual weather predictions are hot (pardon the pun) every FNYCF. Predictions of a very snowy winter, a mild summer, an especially bad hurricane season, etc., seem to make news.
- Political predictions like “so-and-so will run for president” have garnered attention in FNYCF of years past.
- Silly or seemingly absurd predictions like “people will have more sex in 2011” always get some coverage.
- Industry projections such as job outlook and economic growth are consistently newsworthy during FNYCF.
The amazing thing about predictions and projections is that any business is equipped to announce them. Take a quote from a senior staff member, find some supporting data, and then send out a search engine optimized press release to get started. Follow-up with some media outreach and there’s a very good chance someone in your industry will mention your prediction.
Formula #3: Feed the personal improvement craze. Ever notice that gym membership commercials explode during FNYCF? People often set personal goals and create plans for the new year during FNYCF, such as:
- Healthy diet, exercise, and/or weight loss goals
- Goals to quit smoking
- Financial goals like reducing debt, saving for a new purchase, starting a college fund, etc.
- Making plans for family changes such as engagements and having children
If you can produce content that helps people plan for their goals (e.g. 10 Ways You Can Reduce Credit Card Debt Using Our Product or Service), you might have something worth bookmarking, sharing on Facebook, etc.
Speaking of sharing, don’t forget to post your formulaic content on popular social news sites like Digg, Reddit, or StumbleUpon. I’m a fan of using sponsored tweets and Facebook ads to seed this type of content as well. Finally, depending on how you celebrate FNYCF, it might be very easy to turn your “best of 2010” list into a short YouTube video…and then you can promote that too.
Cynically, I sometimes wonder if FNYCF first got started because of media members taking time off for the holidays. I would guess that it’s easier for most journalists to re-cap the work they’ve already done than it is to go out and find news, so my thinking is that journalists might recycle their old stories during FNYCF to make time for family and fun.
However, I think there’s also a natural human desire at work here: Time seems to fly by, and FNYCF is a good time to take stock of the past as well as to make plans for the future. Perhaps FNYCF exists because we humans enjoy it so much.
In any case, happy holidays and happy FNYCF!