It happened again. It’s that time of year.
The Billboard music charts are chaos.
While the top music charts usually have one or two older songs showing a resurgence, around Christmas, they’re filled with old music instead, of mostly the latest music.
Last time I checked it (while writing the first draft of this email), songs by Doja Cat and Taylor Swift are sitting next to ones by Andy Williams, Dean Martin, and other long-dead musicians.
Because of Christmas music, people’s listening habits change so much in December that Spotify doesn’t even include the month in statistics for Spotify Wrapped (that’s why it comes out at the beginning of December instead of closer to New Year’s Eve).
This may all seem boring or irrelevant to you, but I LOVE seeing this shake-up every year because it really shows how seasonal trends like holidays are great opportunities for remixing old content.
The best Christmas example of this?
Mariah Carey, obviously.
But since then, she’s gone even more “all in” on becoming the Queen of Christmas (although she was denied the trademark for the term lol), so I wanted to revisit it again.
Inside Mariah’s Christmas Remixing Strategy
A lot of artists have a holiday side hustle, doing Christmas tours, Netflix holiday movies, or recording holiday albums.
Another musician that comes to mind when I think “Christmas” is “Michael Bublé,” for example.
But no mainstream musician has gone as all-in on Christmas as Queen Carey.
And here’s the thing:
She actually hasn’t created as much Christmas music as a lot of other musicians who do holiday stuff.
Hasn’t done as many Christmas concert tours or TV specials, either.
Her Christmas music identity is mostly focused on just one song.
Every year, she just puts more and more effort into remixing and extending it.
And now that she’s gone all in on her Queen of Christmas branding, her entire career revolves around the season.
And THAT’S why All I Want for Christmas is You spends more time at #1 on the Billboard charts than any other Christmas song.
It’s just such an interesting business and content case study.
She’s essentially a seasonal business now, one that focuses its marketing on remixing and repromoting old content.
Like a Christmas tree farm, Spirit Halloween, or those mall kiosks with all the calendars that pop up in December.
These businesses still operate year-round, but they spend most of the year doing behind-the-scenes work preparing for a short season of front-facing marketing and sales efforts.
Her music, her concerts, her books, her brand partnerships…they ALL revolve around this time of year.
Here’s just a sampling of Christmas campaigns she’s launched over the past few years:
- Launched the paperback version of her memoir
- Recorded a new Christmas album
- Partnerships and exclusive products with brands like McDonalds, Walmart, and more
- Wrote a children’s book about Christmas
- Scheduled the grand finale of her Vegas residency
And it seems like she’s only ramping up, not slowing down.
Here are the things I’ve seen from her so far this year (but there are still weeks left of her season, and we know she loves drama):
- Victoria’s secret partnership
- Children’s Place partnership
- Christmas concert tour
- PR tour doing exclusive features with numerous magazines like People, talk shows like The Jennifer Hudson show, etc.
- Partnering with Mattel to create a Mariah Carey Barbie, dressed in one of her Christmas concert dresses
For all of this to launch at the same time, she needs to be working on it all year.
As amusing as her “it’s time” video was this year, it couldn’t be further from reality.
Again, it’s just a fascinating case study to me.
It reminds me of online businesses that have one big launch per year.
But even if you have a different business model, it’s a great example of remixing seasonal content that most of us can learn from.
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How to Steal Mariah’s Content Remixing Strategy
You may not have a chart-topping Christmas dance pop song, but you probably have content that goes in and out of “season.”
For example, over at Work Brighter, I have a lot of New Year’s reflection and planning content. Plus, productivity and self-improvement content in general (which most of the brand’s content falls into) is more popular and in demand this time of year.
Maybe some of your content is more popular in the spring, as is the case with the outdoor gardening YouTubers I love watching. Travel agents who work mostly with families probably have busy seasons synced with school vacation calendars.
Even when a business isn’t strictly a seasonal business, it probably sees seasonal trends. And you want to prepare your evergreen content around those trends ahead of time.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Make sure seasonal website content is updated and optimized for any increased SEO demand. For example, I try to update my annual review tutorial every November so it’s ready for December search spikes.
- Update the thumbnails, titles, and descriptions of YouTube videos that trend this time of year. Improving the title and thumbnail can help with views, and updating the description ensures new viewers are seeing your most up to date links, calls-to-action, offers, and other “video description stuff.”
- Remaster and republish old podcast episodes on seasonal topics. Maybe consider a new intro explaining why you’re bringing the episode out of the archives.
- Edit and remix seasonal email marketing campaigns from past years
- Refresh and repost seasonal social media posts
Random Facts I Want You to Know
Finally, there are a few random facts about Mariah and All I Want for Christmas that I couldn’t figure out how to work in elsewhere. But I NEED you to know about them, so here they are. 🙃
- The song didn’t debut on the top charts for the first time until 6 years after it came out. It didn’t hit #1 until the 25th anniversary in 2019. Sometimes momentum for a greatest hit takes time to build.
- It’s estimated that Mariah has earned at least $60 million in royalties from this one song alone. Think about how much her Queen of Christmas branding in general has probably made her, including things like partnerships.
- She definitely seems to be in her Cher phase right now, where she’s staying busy, but that busyness does not include creating new stuff. Instead, she’s cashing in on the work she’s already done over the years.
- Speaking of, All I Want for Christmas is You has been a popular song across 4 DECADES at this point (1990s, 00s, 10s, 20s), which both reminds me that remixing is amazing and that I am old.