A Christmas Carol: Content Marketing Lessons from Dickensian Ghosts

Stave One: The Spirit of Christmas

Joy to the world, it’s that time of year again! Christmas is here, bringing good cheer, and all sorts of incentives for reflection, planning, and resolutions. It’s a unique point in the 12-month period when one chapter is nearing its end and another one is about to begin. This transition phase, the festive bridge between the old and the new, is nothing short of magic. 

Speaking of, can you hear what I hear? It’s the annual ghostly visit from the Dickensian spirits! The Past, Present, and Future come together to teach us advanced lessons. In this article, we are putting a marketing spin on the classic tale from 1843 – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – a story as relevant today as all those years ago.

First edition, illustrations by John Leech, courtesy of the British Library

Stave Two: The Ghost of Christmas Past

When we visit museums, heritage centres, or photography exhibitions, we see moments frozen in time, relics of the past kept as reference. What once was, now lives in memories. The past is a lens through which we glimpse into the lives of those who came before us to, hopefully, learn from their experiences.

However, the bygone days are not only about our ancestors. Each and every one of us has a history of our own. The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Ebenezer Scrooge down his own memory lane to show him when and why he lost his way. Remembering where your journey began and understanding the impact of everything you’ve done along the way is essential to moving forward in the right direction.

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”

— Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Never forget why you started – this will keep your business on the right track. At CBA Content, for instance, we want to help cultural and heritage organisations improve their content strategies so they can provide value to wider audiences. Our why has already led CBA Content to collaborations with English Heritage, One Further, and St Ives Archive among others, and in the future, we’re looking forward to helping new partners in telling their stories.

Stave Three: The Ghost of Christmas Present

Time is a relative concept. Hence, the past is never truly a closed chapter, it lives within us here and now. The ghosts of yesteryear, good or bad, walk with us in the present. This day, no matter how deeply anchored in mindfulness and meditation, is still heavily influenced by what was and will significantly affect all that is yet to come.

In Dickens’s novel, The Ghost of Christmas Present is a lavish one. It brings food, decorations, and… awareness. Its wisdom lies in an objective, no BS judgment of various subjective incarnations of reality. The spirit sheds light on how each and every one of us treads a different path. Some of us are better equipped for marching through life, some of us carry a heavier load on our back. No two personal stories are the same.

As the saying goes, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. Accept it, unwrap it, and use it to your advantage. We live in amazing times of technological wonder. We can connect with the entire world within seconds and there are more resources at our disposal than ever. Utilise free tools like social media. Start where you are, with what you have, and focus on where you want your business to be.

First edition, illustrations by John Leech, courtesy of the British Library

Stave Four: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Our actions in the present have consequences in the future. And why does fortune favour the brave? Because many of our endeavours have unpredictable outcomes. Content marketing is a fickle game, yet nothing ventured, nothing gained. The good news is, every year we get to press the reset button, decide on a different course and write a new prologue to our story.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, a ghastly, silent phantom that presents Scrooge with the most gruesome version of events, aims to scare the living daylights out of our protagonist. But Scrooge is a despicable character who needs to be grabbed by the scruff of his neck and quite literally mortified to death to contemplate positive change. We only need a simple incentive.

First edition, illustrations by John Leech, courtesy of the British Library

As the New Year, new me mentality only works if you take action, CBA Content would like to help your digital content strategy start strong in January with our nifty Content Marketing Scorecard. By answering 16 yes/no questions, the scorecard lets you quickly and easily identify potential opportunities for growth. Did we mention it’s completely free, takes less than five minutes to complete and the results are emailed to you immediately?

Organised into three sections – brand awareness, engagement and strategy – the scorecard is designed to pinpoint your digital content strengths and weaknesses so that you can come up with a focused, more purposeful content plan.

Also, if you would like help interpreting your results and focusing your efforts, we are offering a no-strings-attached discovery call to anyone in the arts and cultural heritage sector between now and the end of January (artists, museum workers, gallery owners and heritage specialists, we’re talking to you!). The link to book in a chat is included in the scorecard results email.

Stave Five: The End is the Beginning

For every door that closed this year, another will open in 2022 (even if this one is older, rustier, and squeaks). Although the ghosts in A Christmas Carol are (most likely) a figment of the author’s imagination, they illustrate something very real: Christmas miracles lie largely in our own hands.

If you reflect on the past and learn from it, if you are grateful for all that you have in the present, you will create and redefine your future. Starting this Christmas, try applying this Victorian wisdom to your content strategy and see the results it brings. We feel ready. Do you?

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”

— Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

May your days be merry and bright!

Happy Christmas, our dear readers!

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