Why Your Marketing Content is like Thanksgiving Dinner

Back in 2015, during an early episode of the Content Pros podcast, Jason Miller, Senior Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, made the case for organizations to structure their content marketing teams like a rock band, and specifically, KISS. In the ensuing explanation, Miller successfully demonstrated how Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, the KISS Army, and others were the perfect embodiment for content, social media, and the community, respectively.

The comparison was entertaining, but Miller, almost as an aside, also analogized content marketing as a Thanksgiving dinner. And as someone who loves Thanksgiving dinner, I couldn’t forget about that comparison. And with Thanksgiving only a few days away, I’ve been thinking a lot about turkey content and how delicious relevant it is to my favorite meal of the year.

So without further ado, here’s your new favorite way to think of your marketing content. Warning, if you’re reading this blog post before lunch, side effects include hunger pangs, mouth watering, and daydreams about turkey.


Turkey is undoubtedly the star – the main attraction – of any Thanksgiving dinner. No dish takes more preparation, time, and effort than your turkey.

Much like our favorite bird, eBooks and white papers should serve as the main entree of your marketing content. These premium content pieces are the most in-depth pieces of content you should release throughout the year, and accordingly, they deserve the bulk of your attention and effort.

Of course, rarely is a turkey consumed in full during Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, it is carved up for turkey sandwiches the following day, turkey soup, or, as is the case for our family, a delicious concoction of turkey, biscuit dough, peppers, and gravy known as turkey roulettes.

And once again, the analogy to your marketing content holds true. Because much like you slice up your turkey for leftovers, you should slice up your eBooks and white papers into smaller, more digestible blog posts that extend the reach and visibility of your premium content and link traffic back to your main marketing resources.

Of course, serving turkey alone at Thanksgiving is a quick way to ensure that you won’t host the family dinner again. Likewise, your marketing needs to go beyond eBooks and white papers.

Mashed Potatoes

Not every blog post you write will be borne exclusively from an eBook or a white paper, but every blog post you publish should leave your reader feeling full and satisfied. And there is perhaps no Thanksgiving side dish that fills you up quite like mashed potatoes.

Of course, this isn’t to say that your blog posts need to be long to leave your readers satisfied. There’s a pretty wide-ranging well of research on blog post length, but to date, there hasn’t been any clear indication that word count directly correlates to higher traffic and more social shares. In fact, some of our most popular blog posts have come in around 500 words.Rather than focusing on word count, focus on the quality of your content.


Stuffing is straight up delicious. Whether you cook it straight out of a box or take the time to cook it inside your turkey, stuffing is the perfect side dish to your Thanksgiving dinner and beyond; no leftover turkey sandwich is complete without stuffing included.

And like stuffing, your marketing content is nothing without strong visuals. We’ve talked about the importance of visuals on this blog before, but the statistics bear repeating:

    • Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
    • The last three breakout social media channels, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, are based purely on visual communication.
  • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember about 10% of that information three days later. But, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain 65% of the information three days later.

Strong visuals come in many forms. They can accompany content in the form of featured images on blog posts, Facebook, and Twitter updates, or be the content itself, as is the case for infographics, Instagram updates, and Pinterest pins. And just like you don’t have to be the most experienced cook in the kitchen to pull off a good stuffing, you don’t have to be a professional designer to master the visual game. There are a ton of great resources available to help any marketer improve their visuals, like Unsplash, Canva, and infogr.am.

Cranberry Sauce

No Thanksgiving side dish is more overlooked than cranberry sauce. That’s probably because while other side dishes require a multitude of ingredients and preparation, cranberry sauce is best served straight out of the can in jellied form. Despite its humble canned origins, cranberry sauce is the key to your Thanksgiving dinner. When you’re too full from stuffing and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce is where you turn. And when your Friday turkey sandwich is lacking, it’s cranberry sauce that brings it together.

Similarly, while other channels of marketing get the headlines – cough, social mediaemail marketing is the key to driving traffic to your marketing content. Consider, the average organic reach on Facebook is somewhere around 6%. Conversely, open rates for email marketing messages are somewhere between 20-30%. Email’s advantage over social goes beyond open rates though. While click-through-rates on Tweets are roughly 0.5%, email delivers click-through-rates around 3%. The takeaway: don’t overlook cranberry sauce, and don’t overlook your email marketing.


In my house, biscuits bring the entire dinner table together. Certain side dishes, like stuffing or gravy, need to be carefully passed around the table, person to person, to reach their destination. That’s an inherently inefficient form of delivery. But if you need a biscuit, you can get that biscuit instantly, regardless of where they sit relative to your position at the dining room table.

Growing up, my Uncle always used to keep the biscuits nearby. If anyone asked for him to pass the biscuits, he’d grab one and throw it to you. No plate passing required. At first, this method of food sharing was a little scary. After all, the idea that someone else was touching my food before me was a little off putting. But over time, I’ve come to appreciate the biscuit toss. It’s such an immediate way to deliver a bite-sized treat. Does that remind you of anything?

It should come as no surprise by now that biscuits are your social media channels. Much like a biscuit, social media is easily digestible and inherently shareable. And much like a family argument over whether or not your Uncle should be throwing bread around the dining room, nothing brings a community together quite like social media.


Does this scenario sound familiar? You sit down for dinner and lose all self-control. You take seconds on turkey and stuffing and over indulge on mashed potatoes. By the time dinner is done, you feel like you’ve eaten enough to last three meals. And yet, roughly 30 minutes later, you’re back at the table, ready for dessert.

Similarly, it’s easy to think that your job as a marketer is done when you’ve finished putting together a big piece of content or a witty blog post. Inevitably, however, much like the pull of a good pumpkin pie, all good marketers return to the table to review their analytics and adjust their marketing strategy. Whether you use Google Analytics, HubSpot, or like us, a combination of the two, revisiting your analytics is a crucial final step in any marketing strategy.

So there you have it. Just like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and biscuits come together to form the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, so to do white papers, eBooks, blog posts, strong visuals, email marketing, and social media to form a complete marketing strategy. And just like no Thanksgiving is complete without dessert, no marketing strategy is complete without analyzing your analytics platforms to see evaluate what’s working and what isn’t.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m starving.