Can you give insights and tips on managing stress? Of course you can. And this is the ideal time to do so, as "holiday stress" themes are on the minds of the general public and the news media.
Writing and speaking about holiday stress is a solid and ethical marketing tool. The public benefits from your insights and tips. At the same time, because this is a popular topic of interest during December, you have the opportunity to get your message out to a wide audience, and to build your reputation as a mental health expert.
Mental health professionals have been addressing holiday stress for years. But don't be intimidated by the "competition." Most of them sound the same - general descriptions and tips that could apply to anyone. The more general the advice, the blander it sounds, and the less that individual people will relate to it.
You can stand out from the crowd in delivering your holiday stress message (via writing, speaking or media interviews) by making it more personal, or by appealing to people's curiosity.
Here are a few suggestions:
Aim your message at a specific demographic group.
People of different ages, cultural backgrounds and circumstances all experience stress, but in different ways. For example, divorced parents may be concerned about navigating hostilities with their exes while wanting their children to have a positive and memorable holiday experience. Recently widowed people are likely more focused on missing their loved ones. People who are struggling with depression may feel too emotionally fragile to attend family get-togethers.
Writing or speaking to a specific audience makes it more likely that the advice you give will be specifically useful to them.
Use examples and tips that are relevant to that particular group.
Provide descriptive scenarios. When people can picture themselves in specific situations, they become more invested in your advice. For example, suppose you are writing about how to minimize overeating during holidays. Which of the following conjures up a more vivid image for you:
"During the holidays there are all sorts of temptations, with rich food and snacks showing up everywhere."
"Every day during the holiday season you're probably going to encounter plates of homemade cookies in the break room at work. If you go to the grocery store, you'll be distracted by eye-catching displays of cheeses, nuts, gourmet sausage and creamy cakes."
Images not only draw the person in; they also provide a concrete example that you can refer back to when giving tips on how to cope.
Cover a single aspect of holiday stress
When writing about holiday stress, instead of trying to cover the gamut of stress potential around the holidays (money, shopping, baking, family conflict, grief, etc.) pick just one topic - or even one small aspect of a topic, such as how to deal with an obnoxious relative at the holiday dinner table. This tactic has been used by popular magazines for decades; thus, it must be effective. For example:
- For families with an autistic child: Tips to help calm your child in traffic jams, crowded stores, around noise and flashing lights, etc.
- For those who are depressed: 5 simple ways to keep from feeling worse during the holidays
- For the recently widowed: How to get through your first Christmas alone
Note that each of the above addresses a single problem or issue. Most people don’t face all the holiday stressors at once. And even if they do, they are probably mainly concerned with one or two of them.
If you want to cover more than one aspect of holiday stress. Just write them as separate articles, blog posts or flyers.
Present a contrarian view.
Some myths and misassumptions get repeated so often that they are accepted as fact. For example, contrary to the often-cited 5 to 7 pound weight gain during the holidays, research shows that it's probably less than that. Also, despite all the hype about holiday blues, suicide rates are lowest during the month of December (according to the Centers for Disease Control statistics).
Bringing misassumptions to light could land you an interview with news media, because it's a departure from the typical holiday stress angle.
Explain the impact of electronic communications (such as Facebook or videochat) or other technology on one's holiday experience. This would be of interest to journalists and news media, because they welcome new angles on recurring seasonal events.
For example, research shows that the more time people spend on Facebook, the less happy they tend to be. What might that mean for people who already are having difficulties managing stress or loneliness during the holidays?
Save your content for next year
Holiday stress is a seasonal, reoccurring theme. What you write today about holiday stress will also apply next year. With little or no editing, you can republish or repurpose your articles, assuming that you have not signed away your rights as copyright holder.