Pre-made calendar with over 300 holidays to help plan editorial content

A carefully planned content marketing strategy contains several key ingredients including an understanding of who you’re creating content for (e.g., your persona or personas), how your content will help them, and some key performance indicators to measure success.

However, even the most thoughtful and well-planned content strategy can run into roadblocks without a detailed editorial plan. The editorial plan should include what categories and topics you plan to write about, how you intend to amplify your content (e.g., social media, email, etc.) and—the most important bit of all—a list of relevant, highly engaging ideas that incorporates a balance of evergreen and time-sensitive content.

Event-specific content can be challenging to create with any consistency, but with some planning and foresight, it is possible to plan out your editorial calendar in advance. One way to do this is to align some of your topics with seasonal holidays, observance days, and themes. 

holiday planner social media

[Image source]

A holiday for every week, month and season 

At CommonMind, we’ve compiled a holiday planner specifically aimed at social media content planning. It contains more than 300 holidays bucketed in three categories as follows:

  • 2019/2020 U.S. National Holidays: This calendar contains all the top favorites like Christmas, New Year’s Day and Tax Day (that last one is somebody’s favorite, I’m sure).
  • Educational Calendar/Events: This includes key dates such as Global Family Day and National Science Fiction Day which are observed globally. 
  • A Food-themed Calendar: Technically, these aren’t holidays, but they’re fun to observe and perfect for helping fill your editorial calendar, particularly if you are in the food and beverage industry (though this isn’t a requirement).

Since a long list of every conceivable holiday can seem a bit daunting to wrap your brain around, we’ve also created an embedded Google calendar that can be viewed in weekly or monthly increments or printed. 

holiday planner for social media example calendar

November 2019 Holiday Calendar – Source: CommonMind

Holiday planning isn’t just for retailers

When people think of the holiday season, it tends to mean the period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (although it’s been creeping up in the calendar to incorporate Halloween as well). But holiday content planning isn’t just for retailers or companies whose business ebbs and flows depending on the season. Here are a few examples of how some lesser-known holidays and observed days can inspire great content.

World Vegan Day (November 2, 2019): This is relevant to a variety of businesses in the health and wellness industry. Here are a few examples:

  • A nutritionist could write a piece about how to create a nutrient-rich vegan diet.
  • A healthcare provider could create a list of physical signs for vegans to be aware of that indicate they’re not getting enough of a specific vitamin or mineral.
  • A fitness expert (or gym) could write about how to ensure vegans have enough energy for various types of workouts.

World Kindness Day (November 13, 2019)

  • A marketing agency could write about an ad campaign or case study which features kindness as the main theme.
  • A veterinary clinic could write about how kindness helps both pets and their owners live happy, more fulfilling lives.
  • Any  number of businesses can write about kindness as their approach to doing business such as through employee wellness and medical programs, community service and involvement, or promoting an internal culture of kindness.

National Hot Cocoa Day (December 13, 2019)

  • This is a cocoa-manufacturer’s dream holiday and the perfect day to promote their cocoa products with a blog post as well as via social media.
  • Food-related organizations (coffee shops, restaurants, caterers, grocery stores, etc.) could create an event around this day (e.g., drop in for a free cup of cocoa!) and promote it via their blog and social media accounts.
  • Retailers can cash in on the height of shopping season by offering free cocoa in stores, coupons that fall on this day, and stories that humanize the company which can be featured on the blog (e.g., feature an employee cocoa-related story).

As you can see, becoming familiar with nonstandard holidays as well as observance days can help spur creative ideas for content that’s relevant to a variety of businesses and industries (you don’t have to sell cocoa to take advantage of National Hot Cocoa Day).

Our Google Holiday Calendar is a great way to familiarize yourself with upcoming holidays and can be imported into your own calendar for easy reference. Since this may be overwhelming, you can also peruse the long list of holidays to begin brainstorming and filling out your editorial calendar for the rest of 2019 and into 2020.

Happy content planning!

Jacqueline Dooley is Director of Digital Strategy for CommonMind.

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Transformation of Search Summit 2019: Highlight reel

On Friday we held the Transformation of Search Summit 2019 here in New York City. Huge thank you to all of our speakers, attendees, and sponsors who made the day a success!

In this article we’ve compiled some key quotes, stats, and otherwise tweetable highlights from the event.

Keynote: The transformation of search

First we heard from Carolyn Shelby, SEO Manager, Audience Development at the Walt Disney Company / ESPN.

One of the key quotes from her session was “The trick is to understand the psychology of people. Get in front of the consumer. That’s where search engines are going. What is the least amount of thinking that I can make a consumer do? How can I get them what they want the fastest?”

She also walked us through a brief SERP evolution, from collecting and organizing, to scoring / ranking relevancy, to now delivering immediate gratification.

The future of search is visual

Next up we heard from Michael Akkerman of Pinterest on the growth of visual search and its role in the future.

He talked about the evolution of consumer expectations, from physical stores, to digital convenience, to omnichannel promise, to the inspired shopping of today.

Where it once may have seemed that consumers were only focused on convenience, we’re now seeing the re-emergence of shopping and discovery in the consumer experience.

He also talked about the role of Pinterest in consumer discovery. On Pinterest, he says, they have billions of text-based searches every month. Of those, 90% are non-brand searches. “People don’t know what they want,” he says. For brands looking to focus on the discovery portion of the consumer journey, Pinterest could be a great option.

Michael was joined on stage by Dave Fall, CEO of BrandNetworks. They did a Q&A about what brands can do to get started with visual search.

For many brands, they said, it can feel like there’s a big barrier of entry or that it has to be a huge undertaking. But, they noted, remember that your brand does have visual assets already — think about what you use for your website, display ads, Amazon product listings, etc. Consider how you can re-purpose those to get started.

What DTCs and legacy brands can learn from each other 

Next we heard from Kerry Curran of Catalyst (GroupM). She talked about what brands can do to flip their performance marketing mindsets.

One particularly interesting finding she shared was that in campaigns, when brands communicate like a human, it can improve conversion by 900%.

She also noted that in the US, women over age 50 have $15 trillion in buying power. For many marketers, it might seem like younger generations have more appeal — but older generations have deeper pockets.

Embarking on a search transformation project

After this, we had a panel discussion on “embarking on a search transformation project.”

The panel included experts from Conde Nast, Microsoft, Mindshare, Volvo, and McKinsey.

John Shehata from Conde Nast shared some work they did to refresh and consolidate older content in order to boost keyword visibility by up to 1000%.

The challenge, as he pointed out, is that 90% of online content was created in the last two years, and 90% of that content gets no traffic. And, 50% of searches on Google end in no clicks. To face that, his team is working on taking past content, consolidating multiple pieces, and focusing on making each piece amazing.

Noel Reilly of Microsoft also touched on the speed at which new content is created. She encouraged marketers to think more broadly about what people want and are looking to discover. At Microsoft Ads, she said, 18% of queries each month are new queries.

When inputs are continuing to change so much, she recommended marketers really look at their search query reports to build content around those.

John Shehata of Conde Nast also spoke a bit about what they’re doing to prepare for voice search. Overall, he’s adopting a more conservative approach: investing a little, getting the foundation ready, and waiting for more clarity before diving into larger scale investment.

He likened the current discussion of voice search to the conversation about mobile a decade ago: “Remember when we said ‘mobile is here’ for ten years? But then it took ten years.”

And to wrap up from this session, we heard another great point from Noel of Microsoft: “The most successful brands I see are the ones putting people at the center of their advertising. Regardless of what the next big thing is in search, your job as a marketer is to understand your customer.”

Amazon search

Next we heard from John Denny with some interesting statistics and expert tips on Amazon search.

When it comes to how different generations search, he revealed that 52% of Gen Z named Amazon as their favorite site for shopping. The number two spot went to Nike, who claimed just 4% of votes — putting Amazon at 13 times that.

He also discussed three of the main options CPG brands have for driving purchases / traffic: a brand’s own website, a brand’s detail page on Amazon, and in-store traffic.

For the largest 100 CPG brands out there, he said, there was five times more traffic on the Amazon detail page plus in-store than there was on the brand’s own website.

His message: for brands not on Amazon, might be time to consider it.

Optimizing for voice search

Next, we heard another panel, this time specifically on voice search, from Mastercard, Synup, and Advantix Digital.

While earlier in the day we heard a more cautious perspective from Conde Nast, this panel was a bit more bullish on voice search.

Synup CEO Ashwin Ramesh gave one interesting rationale around the rapid adoption of voice search globally in countries like India, Indonesia, and parts of Southeast Asia. In India, he says, 50% of all searches are already done via voice. “They’re leapfrogging markets,” he said. He also gave the personal example that his grandmother — she doesn’t type and has never used a computer, but she sends him voice messages via her iPad.

Paradigm shifts in search

After this we heard from Stephen Kraus, Head of Digital Insights at Jumpshot. He shared many interesting statistics about the current state of the search industry and how it’s shifting.

90% of all search happens on Google, he says, and it skews branded (unlike on Pinterest). Of the top ten most used search terms on Google in the past couple months, seven are brands: Google, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, Walmart, Craigslist, and BMW.

The other three, interestingly, were “you,” “weather,” and “news.”

While 90% of all search happens on Google, when it comes to product-related search, 54% happens on Amazon.

Stay tuned for part two with highlights from the afternoon sessions, as well as some deep dives into specific insights!

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Optimizing for voice search: Q&A with Mastercard’s Guillaume Conteville

One in five searches are now made via voice with digital assistants, which are becoming an increasingly prominent feature in our homes and on mobile devices. How are brands optimizing for voice search?

In fact, there are now more than one billion voice searches per month, and this number will only rise over the coming years.

But just how big an impact is voice having on search in real terms? What are the specific strategies brands need to apply to avail of this trend?

This is another topic we’re excited to learn more about next week at the Transformation of Search Summit here in New York.

One of the experts we’ll be hearing from is Guillaume Conteville, SVP of Global Digital Marketing at Mastercard.

guillaume conteville, SVP global digital marketing at mastercard, speaker at the search summit

Guillaume will be part of the panel titled “Optimizing for position 0: Everything you need to know about Voice Search.”

1. What are your key priorities over the next twelve months?

In my role I’ll be focusing on driving change in the way we do marketing to adapt to new usage, and to leverage technology and data to their maximum potential.

The hot topics for us at the moment are CX, Voice, AR, marketing automation, and data-based customization.

2. What is your biggest challenge in achieving those?

Prioritization and execution.

There are so many potential initiatives you could start, identifying the real game-changing ones is always tricky.

Then, like always with tech-based projects, executing on your vision is always more complex than anticipated.

3. What’s your advice to others who may be facing similar challenges?

You really need to establish a broad climate of trust among all stakeholders, in order to have a real test-and-learn approach.

In adtech, it’s impossible to get it right the first time.

Success always come after a lot of optimizing and fine tuning.

4. What’s an interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

It’s not search-related, but it’s fascinating to see how the changes that web browsers have made in regard to third-party cookies are having a massive impact on the whole adtech ecosystem.

The end of third-party cookie tracking will potentially be more disruptive than regulation.

5. Tell us a bit about your session at the Search Summit?

In this session, I’ll be sharing about the journey we’re going through at Mastercard to future-proof our content and ensure its discoverability in a future where people increasingly interact with machines through voice.

6. What are you looking forward to most at the Summit?

This is a unique opportunity for me to learn more about latest developments around search.

7. What’s something you do every day that helps you be more successful or productive?

It might sound cliché but, in this type of role, keeping a learning mindset is absolutely key. So every day I make sure to put some time toward talking to a lot of people and doing a lot of reading.

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Search transformation projects: Q&A with SAP’s Siddharth Taparia

At The Transformation of Search Summit next month, we’ll be hearing from a panel on “Embarking on Search Transformation Projects.” One of those panelists will be Siddharth Taparia, SVP and Head of Strategic Transformation and Partner Marketing at SAP.

Siddharth has grown his career in marketing at various companies, including spending the past 11 years at SAP.

siddharth taparia, head of marketing transformation at SAP

For many search marketers, embarking on search transformation projects can seem daunting and unclear. Siddharth’s expertise lies in leading marketing transformation efforts, and he’ll share insights on what’s he’s learned along the way.

Tell us a bit about your role at SAP?

I serve as head of SAP Global Partner Ecosystem and SME Marketing. In this role, I oversee SAP’s entire global partner ecosystem – with nearly 20,000 partners – including companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Deloitte. We also market to the invaluable small and midsize space. My team is responsible for providing excellent support and resources for existing partners and helping to grow the network with new partners.

What are your key priorities over the next twelve months?

My key priorities over the next 12 months will include supporting SAP revenue and growth aspirations through innovative partner marketing, communications, and enablement. We will continue to be laser-focused on creating great partner experiences, extending the company’s reach to more customers, and driving SAP brand value.

What is your biggest challenge in achieving those?

Our biggest challenge is to make sure that we stay focused and look at the big picture. We are a large team within a large, global company. The path to success comprises many components that must come together in a cohesive manner.

What’s your advice to others who may be facing similar challenges?

As with many areas in life, communication and collaboration is key. Everyone on the team needs to be on the same page when it comes to understanding the plan, the strategy, and the goals. More importantly, the communication has to be a two-way street. It is vital to establish a culture in which people feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback.

What’s an interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

It is interesting to see the growth of AI and how it is becoming more and more sophisticated. AI is providing unprecedented personalization, which makes for memorable customer experiences. When it comes to search specifically, AI is helping to make it easier to find the information you need faster and with more accuracy than ever before.

How do you expect it will change in the next 6-12 months?

The rate at which AI is evolving is truly astronomical. By its very nature, AI gets better with time. With more data and new algorithms over the next several months, accuracy will continue to improve and forecasting and anticipating customer needs will become even more precise.

Tell us a bit about your session at the Search Summit?

I am excited to be a part of the panel discussion, “Embarking on a Search Transformation Project.” It is crucial for companies to not only incorporate search into their overall martech strategy; they must continue to evolve their search strategy to include new search technology. Search needs to be a core part of every marketing strategy and tactics.

What are you looking forward to most at the Summit?

I enjoyed being a part of the Summit as the keynote speaker last year, and I am looking forward to sharing ideas around the fascinating topic of search. Search is such an important topic to all industries, and the Summit will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest developments within this field.

What’s one of your favorite search technologies and why?

I have been following the development of voice search for quite some time now. It is my favorite search technology because it has come so far in such a short amount of time. Additionally, it’s an engaging, convenient, and fun way to obtain information!

What’s something you do every day that helps you be more successful or productive?

I am a voracious reader. Every time I take a break from a meeting or a call I try to read something new or interesting that expands my horizons. I also love to learn new things — so whenever I am in a meeting I often have a lot of questions.


Thanks Siddharth for the insights, and looking forward to learning more at the event.

Hope to see you all there!

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YouTube optimization and intent: Q&A with goop’s Courtney Messerli

At The Transformation of Search Summit next month, we’re very excited to hear from Courtney Messerli, Director of Ecommerce and Search at goop, the brand founded by Gwyneth Paltrow.

She’ll be giving a session called, “Optimizing for the world’s second largest search engine: YouTube.”

courtney messerli speaker on youtube optimization

Courtney has built her career in search engine optimization, including previous roles as Global SEO Specialist at Anthropologie and SEM & SEO Specialist at Nasty Gal.

YouTube and video optimization are topics a lot of us are keen to learn a lot more about. There are more than 1.9 billion people who use YouTube every month, and people are spending over a billion hours watching videos every day on the platform. Video traffic as a whole is predicted to account for 75% of all mobile traffic by 2020. There is a big opportunity for brands, publishers and video creators to expand their reach.

Tell us about your role at goop?

I manage ecommerce and SEO at goop. I match user intent to quality products and services via search (both on and off site), YouTube, and our website’s marketing and merchandising placements on the homepage and category pages.

What are your key priorities over the next twelve months?

Goop is in the process of launching a new contextual commerce experience to better meet the needs of users who are reading and shopping on our website.

We first want to meet users’ informational intent by delivering educational content across their topics of interest. Once informational intent has been met, we also want to deliver on their transactional intent by featuring compelling products in the appropriate site placements.

Another priority is improving site speed. With Google’s mobile first index, site speed has become increasingly important.

What’s an interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

The rise of zero-click searches on Google. Targeting featured snippets has become increasingly important.

How do you expect it will change in the next 6-12 months?

I anticipate that the percentage of zero-click searches will continue to rise in the next 6-12 months. With this, I anticipate heightened awareness of this trend driven by Sparktoro and other sources. Advertisers and SEOs will become more focused on On-SERP SEO and featured snippet targeting.

Tell us a bit about your session at the Search Summit?

I’ll be providing an overview on how YouTube search intent differs from Google search intent and how to develop a YouTube strategy accordingly.

Along with this, I’ll give actionable advice on goal setting, KPIs to optimize for, key ranking factors, ways to drive visibility to your channel, and recommended tools to use. 

What are you looking forward to most at the Summit?

As much as I’m looking forward to the sessions, I am most excited for the networking aspect! I’m constantly driving my (non-search industry) friends crazy discussing SEO trends and strategy 🙂  

What’s one of your favorite search technologies and why?

GTMetrix for site speed tracking. This tool provides actionable recommendations for enhancing site speed and performance. 

What’s something you do every day that helps you be more successful or productive?

My morning routine is everything. I wake up early, work out, listen to a podcast or new music, drink cold brew and do my skincare routine. I’ve never been one to roll out of bed and head straight to work — I need to linger in my personal life a bit first. 


Ps — You can check out goop’s YouTube channel here.

Hope to see you at the event!

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