Harvesting content marketing opportunities from the annual office party

Marie-Josée Gariépy  receiving a donation from the Déjean’aide event Thomas Sinclair helped organize in Montreal (November 4, 2016)

It’s sooner than you think….no, I’m not talking about Armageddon/the US Presidential Election. I’m talking about the big end of the year holiday party, which happens as early as mid-November for some companies and into the early new year for others.

The venue rental is done, photobooth and event photographer booked, the menu planned, the two-drink-tickets-bar sorted out and the party is set.

Having covered countless of these kinds of events, I have some advice for the party planners to help them get the most from their event. While the idea behind the holiday office party is to give your employees a break and reward them for the hard work they do on behalf of your company throughout the year, it is also an opportunity for creating some useful photographic and video content for your social media throughout the year.

Here are a few ideas to leverage the event that may help generate reusable content for your content marketing needs:

  • One client of mine stages an annual video-contest in which different departments compete for the year’s funniest video. Curate and then share video snippets to your company Linkedin page to convey a sense of your company culture to prospective employees.
  • Write a blog post about your company winners and promote across your social media shining a light on their accomplishments and giving your employees some deserved praise they can retweet and repost to their personal networks.
  • Thank your event suppliers (the event company, caterer, dj, photographer, etc.)  on your social media platforms using their handles and company names; they will eagerly re-share the acknowledgement garnering more traffic for your site.
  • Use the event to announce the grand total of any fundraising you’ve done throughout the year and invite the charity to send a representative to accept a big cheque or make a small speech — and share the news.
  • While you don’t want to crowd the agenda with too many (or too long) speeches, a few thoughtful words from the president or CEO is usually appreciated: preload a few of the best quotes into your company’s Twitter feed and schedule them for timed release throughout the event.

While the annual office party is traditionally a time for employees to mingle with management and socialize with each other, in our digital age where no good Instagrammable moment goes unpublished, it is also another opportunity to create content. Your in-house marketing and comms team will thank you for it, and you get to start out the new year with some useful content ready to go.

Five fun (and affordable) ideas for your Christmas Party

Are you hosting or planning a Christmas party this season for your family, friends or office? If so, here are a few ideas to consider that can help make your party the one everyone wants to be at:

  1. Spruce up your drinks! Atlantic Monthly writer, Wayne Curtis has written a fun little piece on literally adding spruce to your holiday cocktails. Nothing says Christmas like a bit of evergreen so why not add a sprig of spruce to your drink and see what happens? You can read the full article here.
  2. Secret Santa: coming from a huge and (happily) growing family, we made a decision years ago to dispense with the tradition of gift giving to and from each and every one of us, and replace it with Secret Santa. Essentially everyone agrees to a spending cap that is doable for all, and then we each draw a name from a hat. You tell no one whom you drew, unless you draw yourself or your spouse in which case you draw again, and then you buy just one, really good gift for the one person on your list. It helps keep you focused on the giving side of the gift business and is a good way not to break the bank.
  3. Stealing Santa: Now giving is fun, but stealing someone else’s silly gift is even more fun! How it works is simple and is usually the most fun part of our Christmas celebration. Everyone agrees to a low spending cap (under $20 or even $10) and purchases a gift that is either completely horrible and tacky, or desirable, or silly, or just plain weird. You wrap up the gift so no one can tell what it is, and the first person to start (in our tradition it is the youngest player) selects a present from the pile. He or she opens it up and the next person then is whoever put that present into the mix. That person then has the option to either “steal” the present from the previous player, or take another from the pile. A few other rules apply like not allowing any touching, shaking, or smelling of wrapped gifts so that each selection from the pile is completely blind. As well, you can’t steal from the person who just stole from you. Depending on the size of your group this game can take a while but it is invariably fun and we often reserve it for the evening when the forementioned spruced cocktails have taken full effect.
  4. Set up a photo booth! Photobooths are huge these days (check out lePartybooth, our sister site) and always a lot of fun. You can hire a pro (if you are hosting a larger event) or do it yourself with just a few fun Christmassy props and a red backdrop or themed backdrop. Use a tripod and frame the shot so that all the images are taken from the same angle and then get silly. If you want to make it even more fun, position your photobooth under the mistletoe (which brings me to me last suggestion).
  5. Hang lots of mistletoe! The ancient tradition of hanging mistletoe dates back to Viking times and like all traditions drawn from mythology, involves cruelty, death, resurrection and tears transforming something in nature to account for its current colour or shape (in this case red berries to white; google “why do we hang mistletoe” for more), but the best reason to hang mistletoe, and hang it in abundance, is the opportunity to kiss whomever is standing under it. Depending on who’s at your party, this can be cause for embarrassment or a reasonable excuse to finally make the move you’ve been planning. Just don’t be creepy with it please, as you know, Santa’s elves are always watching!