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Woman holding small Christmas tree

Copywriting for Christmas: how to sleigh your target audience


It’s summer, you can smell the BBQ smoke in the air, and you can’t sit in your office without melting off your seat.

However, as ludicrous as you might think it is, you need to start thinking about your Christmas copywriting campaigns now.

Sounds way too organised, right? However it’s not as premature as you might think.

I used to work in the press room for a local authority. I was responsible for managing the monthly magazine that went out to residents.

We worked several months in advance. This meant I was planning the edition about the Christmas light switch on and how to book in at Santa’s Grotto in the summertime.

Seriously, by the time September rolled around, I wanted to burn every Christmas tree in a twenty-mile radius down to the ground. Bah humbug.

The point is, if you want to develop a Christmas campaign that drives sales and gives you the edge over your competitors, you need to plan ASAP.

(Plus, additional bonus: you’ll have sorted your content out in time for Black Friday too! Yay)

Here’s how to plan and get your Christmas copywriting on point. Follow these steps, and you’ll be kicking back with a mulled wine and mince pie in no time at all.

Know what your target audience wants

The first step before you start writing your Christmas copy is to understand your target audience.

Now of course, people from all walks of life will buy your awesome products or services. But there will be one distinct group that you want to focus your marketing on for the best results.

This might be mums with young children, men looking for gifts for their partners, or retirees wanting to make their homes nice and cosy in time for Christmas.

When you know who you want to target, you’ll have a better understanding of why they want to buy from you and what you need to say to convince them to make a purchase.

(And don’t just say your target audience is ‘everyone.’ It’s a copout and means your copy will be rubbish as you’ll try too hard to appeal to too many people.)

Decide whether you want to use Christmas cliches

Example of Christmas email

When you search Google for ‘copywriting for Christmas,’ you’ll see a lot of articles telling you how to write Christmas content that isn’t full of cliches. For example, I read one article that said to avoid phrases like ‘deck the halls’ or ‘let it snow.’

Here’s the thing. Some people don’t like that stuff. Others absolutely love it.

I appreciate that I might not be your target customer, but I usually hate cliched copy during the year. No, I’m not reading that cold email or social media message – it’s far too naff.

However come Christmas time, I’m there in my festive pyjamas, necking hot chocolate and deciding which colour tinsel I’m going to put around my tree. Total sea change.

The key is understanding what your customers want to see. Nobody knows your target audience better than you do. If they like cliches upon cliches, piled on top of one another like a stack of presents, give them what they want.

Of course, it might be that your target audience doesn’t celebrate Christmas or doesn’t care for it at all. According to YouGov, 15% of Brits actively dislike Christmas.

If this is the case and they’d rather stab themselves in the eyes with candy canes than get into the festive mood, give them something a little different.

It’s perfectly acceptable for your Christmas copywriting not to be Christmassy at all.

Tell a story

Come Christmas time, everyone goes crazy for the latest John Lewis advert, whether it’s a dog on a trampoline, a fire-breathing dragon, or a cute animated woodland critter.

Why does everyone love these ads so much? They tell stories. They’re full of emotion. They pull at your heartstrings.

And this is precisely why people spend twenty-five quid on a Christmas pudding with an orange in it.

A well-crafted story makes prospective customers remember who you are and how you can help them.

Think about the emotion you want customers to feel when they think of your brand, and weave this into your writing.

You don’t have to spend millions on a TV ad like John Lewis, Aldi, or M&S. Just ensure your story has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and make it as easy as possible for your ideal customer to relate to your words.

Make sure your brand aligns on different channels

When you need festive copy for all your marketing channels, consistency is vital. You don’t want to sound like Buddy the Elf on social media and Ebeneezer Scrooge on your website.

Consistent branding means happier shoppers, which in turn means up to a third more revenue for you.

You might have entirely different goals on different platforms – that’s okay. Just make sure your writing style is seamless on each.

Brand guidelines can help keep your entire team aligned. You don’t need a massive 50-page manual – even a page with examples of good copy from previous Christmasses will do the job.

Don’t expect a Christmas miracle…

If you’re hoping that your festive articles and product pages will rank on the first page of Google… SEO can take time to work its magic.

According to Ahrefs, it generally takes between three to six months to see optimal results. However, your experiences might vary depending on the keywords you want to rank for and how competitive they are.

While getting started sooner rather than later can increase the odds that you’ll make it to the top of the search engine results, there’s no definitive guarantee.

(And if a copywriter or SEO agency promises you can make the first result of Google for your chosen keyword, it’s time to say ho, ho… no.)

I recommend focusing on long-tail keywords, those that are five words or more. These generally have less competition, meaning you’re more likely to rank.

So a search for ‘Christmas pyjamas’ has over 21 million results, while a search for ‘Red and white matching Christmas pyjamas for families’ has just over 13 million.

Google search for Christmas pyjamas

Google search for red and white matching Christmas pyjamas

Still a lot, but far easier to make an impact in the results!

(p.s. Looking for an SEO copywriter to create your Christmassy copy? We should talk.)

Check your content in the New Year to see what worked

January has rolled around, and everything is grey and gloomy again. Boo.

Before you take the decorations down and swear never to drink again, take the time to review your copy across your marketing channels.


      • Did it lead to customers taking action?

      • Did customers stay on your website to read it, or did they get bored and click away?

      • Did it result in good engagement across social media?

    If your Christmas copy worked, you’ve got a fantastic blueprint for next year’s festive campaign.

    If it didn’t, you know what to avoid next time.

    Copywriting for Christmas can seem like a lot of effort. However think of it this way: last Christmas, the average spend per person in the UK was £768. If you want a share of this, good copywriting is a must.

    If you don’t have the time to get your Christmas copywriting sorted before the big day, I can help. Just click the button below, and I’ll get you on your customers’ nice lists!