Every year, I live for the weekend after Halloween. Not because candy goes on sale at the grocery store, but because the Hallmark Channel starts showing their original Christmas movies.
You know the movies I’m talking about. The heartwarming, family-friendly, made-for-TV movies that all take place during the holiday season.
My favorite subtype are the romantic comedies: boy and girl meet cute at a department store, an ice rink, or an office holiday party, and as one (or both) of them rediscovers the true meaning of Christmas, they fall in love.
Dozens of movies have this plot. TV movie writers use and reuse that basic storyline because millions of viewers like me keep tuning in. The formula may be predictable, but it works.
Turns out, predictability is a great strategy for building and maintaining an audience. And that strategy applies to small business blogs just as much as it applies to the Hallmark Channel. Small businesses create blogs so they can connect with new potential customers and build their brand. Predictability helps your blog achieve those goals.
If you want to attract more readers to your blog, try the tactic of predictability. Hallmark Channel’s predictable Christmas movies offer three marketing lessons you can use for your small business blog.
1. Give the Readers What They Want
I’m pretty open about my deep and abiding love for these movies, so I’ve discovered that people either share my passion—or totally disagree with it. I’ve also learned that people love these movies or hate them for the same reason: the predictability.
Sure, I know within the first three minutes which characters will be confessing their love for each other before the credits roll. But that’s what makes watching enjoyable for me. Real life never has that level of predictability, so these movies become an escape, a fantasy, a calorie-free holiday treat.
The screenwriters know their audience craves those predictable plot lines—and they write for that audience. They aren’t trying to attract people who prefer action-packed superhero movies or socially conscious documentaries.
Follow this example. When you blog for your company or brand, write directly to your target customers. Consider what you already know about them, especially their needs and values. Use your insider knowledge to craft posts specifically for them.
For example, maybe different customers repeatedly ask similar questions. Answer those FAQs in separate blog posts. Both existing customers and potential new clients will see you as a helpful source of industry know-how.
2. Bring Back the Most Popular Stars
After you’ve watched enough TV Christmas movies, you recognize that some actors have starring roles in these films every holiday season.
Consider the track record of Candace Cameron Bure. She’s a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie staple. This year, she’s in A Christmas Detour. Last year, she starred in Christmas Under Wraps, a movie that attracted 5.8 million viewers during its premiere. And in 2013, she played the lead in Let It Snow (one of my personal favorites). More than 6.1 million people tuned in to watch the first airing.
Who are the “popular stars” of your blog you can turn to again and again? Look at your blog’s analytics to find out. First, make a list of the types of blog posts you’ve written multiple times, such as how-tos, lists, or holiday-related tips. Then, look at which post types people click on most. Make sure you write and post a blog of that type regularly.
If your blog is still new and analytics offer limited insights, create posts that match your own online reading preferences. Are you a huge fan of quizzes? Do you love list articles? Are you a news junkie? Once you know your favorite article types, mimic those styles as you write blog posts related to your products or services.
If readers click and comment on those articles, keep using that formula. If not, try different post types until you have an article that becomes a hit.
3. Post on a Predictable Schedule
Between November 1 and December 31, the Hallmark Channel airs Christmas programming 24/7. That may sound like overkill to anyone who doesn’t play holiday music until Thanksgiving. But fans love knowing they can always find a Christmas flick on—and some even keep the TV on Hallmark Channel all season.
If you want to build a blog following with similar loyalty, set up a schedule for when and how often you’ll post. Adjust the following suggestions to your own blog’s needs:
- Slowly increase your posting frequency. In 2015, Hallmark Channel will premiere 17 original holiday movies. But they gradually worked up to that number. Follow this example. Don’t succumb to pressure to blog weekly or daily if your company doesn’t have the resources to do so. Set a realistic timeframe so you can avoid blog burnout.
- Share theme posts on the same day every week. Hallmark Channel premieres its new seasonal movies at consistent times—typically Saturday and Sunday evenings. Adopt a similar idea for your blog. Try posting a fun fact about your industry every Friday or sharing a positive customer experience every Wednesday.
When you use the tips above to schedule your blog posts, you can build your blog’s audience. And don’t forget to promote your blog on social media sites to increase your readership further.
Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies prove that predictability has its benefits. As you create a blog for your company or brand, embrace the aspects of predictability described to increase your blog’s audience and connect with more clients or customers.