What's in an elf?
I remember my first encounter with Elf on the Shelf: I was babysitting a pair of siblings who in no way got along. The destructive duo had this ugly felt elf who changed positions every night, but they weren’t allowed to touch him, or else his magic would be ruined. If they acted up, the elf would tattle to Santa and they would be put on the naughty list. It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard — but they believed it.
So how does a crappy doll with freaky 1950s doll cheeks (i.e. Annabelle doll), felt limbs and spider-leg eyelashes capture the hearts of 8 million people worldwide? Because the brand’s “tradition in a box” is one that people love to make their own, and most importantly, share.
And where people share is where we want our content to live.
Well, we bought an Elf on the Shelf for the agency this year. Let me introduce Missy Elfiott:
You can see more of what she’s been up to on our Facebook page.
(We’re basically BFFs since she’s been helping me manage the agency social while she visits from the North Pole, except I keep finding her hitting on my husband’s pic.)
Elf on Shelf Life
All jealousy aside, she’s got some good pointers on lasting on a shelf for thousands of years (or however old elves are), so I applied it to content marketing. Just like an Elf on the Shelf keeps things fresh with different scenarios, old content can be promoted like new. Here are Missy Elfiott’s tips to improve your content’s shelf life:
Promote the (magical) sh*t out of your content with social media
We’ve heard from Allison before on the importance of spinning social media into your content spiderweb. She emphasizes that engagement and content promotion aren’t exclusive. Basically, lacking in likes doesn’t equal ineffective — as long as your (good) content gets exposure, it creates (good) awareness.
Be sure to choose the right social media platforms for your business’s audience. For example, you’re probably better off focusing on Facebook than Twitter for retirees, but hey, ya never know.
Regift the same content again and again
The fun of Elf on the Shelf for adults is making it do something different (and often inappropriate) each day of December. Think of a piece of content like that — there are so many different ways to bend it and frame it so you can keep promoting it.
For instance, if you have a blog post that discusses four different points, then you should promote your content at least four different times in a completely different way.
Let’s look at Twitter, where the prime lifetime of a tweet is 18 minutes. You should tweet the same content at least 10 times over the span of about three to six months. You can schedule these with tools like HubSpot (and don’t forget to add #hashtags and images).
Like our Elf friend, your content can be tweaked for contexts. And you shouldn’t just post the same thing on every platform — just like you wouldn’t put this Trap Elf in a preschool class.
Switch up your content’s wardrobe
To stand out every time, you’ll need to change the look. Use various images from the content to feature each time you post. It's kind of like how stars wear 10 different outfits in their music videos. To choose effective images, consider the following:
- Compelling visuals, evoked emotions
- Color choice
- Connection to the point or story
- Minimal text
- Quality, original photos
- Appropriate sizing for each platform
Canva is a great tool for creating your images to repackage your content promotions:
If you follow these tips from a pro shelf-sitter like Missy Elfiott, your content will be sure to have a longer shelf life than this chocolate:
What content has enjoyed an elf-worthy shelf life? Tweet Missy and me @MariaBWest before your advent chocolate turns chalky.
Also, check out our agency holiday gift to you — Crimes Against Content (yes, there is a free download, so you should totally click it).