Health During the Holidays: Planning Your Content Strategy

Ah, the holidays: A time of joy, giving, and … depression? Heartburn? Pregnancy?

It’s true. I worked in the online health information industry for long enough to know that people are predictable. It’s easy to accurately expect what people are going to be searching for beginning around Thanksgiving and extending through the end of January. How can you plan your content strategy accordingly? First, let’s talk about research.

Google Trends

My go-to tool for predicting search trends is the aptly named Google Trends. When you open the tool, the dashboard itself is extremely useful. Play around with these reports! Each of the headings on this chart are links and each report can be customized by date and topic. For our purposes though, click on the top right heading where it says “Explore In-Depth.”

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You have now entered a treasure trove. Notice at the top of the page that you can filter your report. Change your location, date range and categories accordingly. If you want to only see specific months within a year, click on “select dates” at the bottom of the dates list.

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Now, scroll down to the bottom where you’ll see two lists under “Related Searches.” The “Topics” list breaks down searches by category whereas the “Queries” list just shows organic queries. I find it most helpful to change the sorting from “Top” to “Rising.” So, for overall health topics from November 2013 to January 2014 in the United States, these were the queries gaining popularity:

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That’s helpful! Now, if I were doing more in-depth research, I would go to the top of the page again where I set my filters and expand the health category to more specific topics.

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If I do the same report again but this time I filter by “Pediatrics,” I get:

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Much more specific and targeted! And that’s just one example of how you can use this tool to predict yearly trends.

Planning Holiday Health Content

So, what are the most popular health topics during the holidays? Almost every website does a yearly summary (in slideshow format, for extra pageviews!) which a quick Google search will yield. And Google itself does a great Zeitgeist roundup. But based on my experience, you can count on these topics to grace your list:

  1. Depression
  2. Pain/Migraines
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Diet/weight loss/exercise
  5. STDs
  6. Stress
  7. Alternative remedies/vitamins
  8. Heartburn/other digestive problems

And that’s in addition to all the yearly cold/flu searches that continue strong through spring. So, what’s my recommendation? Make a list of topics that you currently should have content about but don’t, prioritize, assign, and get it published! Realistically, it’s a little late to be planning your holiday content calendar. July would have been a better time. But if you can knock out some topics quickly and get them live on your website for your readers, don’t waste one more minute!

Enjoyed this post? Read more by Laura here

Laura Lee – Account Manager

 

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