Gamify your vacation content calendar planning


While cleaning the other day I dusted off an original old Game Boy and voila, what did I come across? Tetris. For the record, I turned on the console and launched the puzzle game. Over half an hour later, while dragging, dropping, and rearranging shapes, I remembered the allure of this simple yet so addicting concept. Why is it? Psychology suggests we’re wired to want to keep things tidy. According to the Zeigarnik effect, “incomplete tasks stay in memory” – this is why Tetris is so captivating, because it presents both an incomplete problem of falling blocks and an immediate solution to rearrange them.

Planning your email strategy for the holidays can be just as exciting as tetris. Gamify your campaigns and reduce your stress level by keeping your content on a calendar. Reach your customers with the right message at the right time. Let’s get started.

Assemble your goals

We started our vacation series by talking about how to determine your goals for the season and how to think about content topics. Now that you have defined all the content blocks, all that remains is to put them in place.

Keep in mind that goals can vary widely depending on the nature of your business. But whatever your goal, let’s take a look at your historical data to see where you did last year. For example, if you are considering a conversion, see how many touchpoints your customers or prospects have needed in the past before converting. This will give you an idea of ​​how often you’ll email about that whitepaper download or the outerwear sale.

Rotate your resources

Be real with yourself and your team. It can be tempting to fill your calendar to the brim, but remember, quality trumps quantity. Avoid burnout by creating enough buffer time between email sends to allow for technical or design work. Viewing your content schedule earlier will help you better manage the workflow and hold everyone accountable throughout the season. It will also help you anticipate any additional resources you may need. If your goals really require a different set of infographics, videos, or a higher sending frequency and you’re under-staffed, look for freelancers to help ease the load. Tools like Crew and CloudPeeps can help connect you with designers, developers and marketing talent.

Slide around key dates

By now, you probably have a solid understanding of who your customers are and what kind of content they’re most engaged with. But do you know where they come from? It can be easy to forget to take into account the different regional holidays – which means a wasted opportunity to impress and convert. You may want to get a head start on your competition by promoting a preview sale or days of exclusive content before the holidays. Add to that some social media shares and a simple signup form on your landing page to boost your roster for the season.

Start by viewing our handy list of key vacations on our Holiday email toolkit timeline.

Instead of a one-way disruption, web marketing is all about delivering useful content at precisely the right time when a buyer needs it. ~ David Meerman Scott, Author, The new rules of marketing and public relations

Control your speed

Just like a really fast drop speed in Tetris puts off most average gamers, your contacts will have a hard time keeping up with your content if you send too frequently. As you build your timeline, incorporate segmentation to send more to the right people at the right time. Create special content for your most engaged contacts or an additional vacation onboarding series for new subscribers.

We recommend that you take a social media 30/60/10 ratio page to plan how often you send certain types of content to your lists. The ratio suggests that brands should share 30% of the content they create, 60% of content curated by other influencers or related brands, and 10% of call-to-action content. This is especially important to consider during the holiday season, when consumers are constantly struck by offers, deals and other promotional content. Stand out by delivering value, whether it’s a fun video, educational infographic, or a guide to planning donations. Win your customers by being so good that they can’t ignore you.

“We have to stop interrupting what interests people and be what interests people.” ~ Craig Davis, Founder of Brandkarma and former Creative Director of J. Walter Thompson

Schedule, line by line

Wrap things up by finalizing your calendar using Google Sheets or tools like Co-Schedule Where Kapost.


As you fill your calendar, you will see content gaps or opportunities across all channels. Supplement the content of your emails with re-targeted Twitter or Facebook ads delivered to addresses in your contact list. Or reuse your content to capture your audience’s attention and get the most out of your resources. Share email content on other channels such as social media, blog posts, presentations, and guides.

Taking a few hours to plan your vacation schedule will be worth it, I promise. Your stress level will thank you for organizing your content. You might even get hooked on planning!
What tips or tools have you found helpful in the past when planning your email calendar? Share with us below!


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