9 Reasons “Home Alone” Is Absolutely Clutch for Content Marketers

There are a lot of things I love about the holiday season. A crackling fire (Duraflame logs, represent!). Christmas lights. The ugly sweater tradition. Anything at all related to peppermint.

But my all-time favorite holiday tradition? Watching “Home Alone,” that 1990 film classic.

Just because it’s been 25 years (twenty-five years??) since the McCallisters left Kevin in the attic and hopped a plane to Paris doesn’t mean the movie is any less quality. It’s timeless. And it’s chock-full of valuable lessons that can be applied to pretty much anything.

Including content marketing.

Let’s break down the top 9 reasons why Home Alone is absolutely clutch viewing material for content marketers and why it is literally filled with learning opportunities:

“Run, Rudolph Run”

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That moment when the McCallisters wake up to an alarm clock that didn’t go off fills me with anxiety every time. “We slept in!” = Christmas vacation fail.

Or so it seems. The entire family, including that sluggish Uncle Frank (and minus Kevin), rallies and manages to catch their flight after a harrowing dash through O’Hare.

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Never give up! Switched over a blog to a new CMS and waiting to see that spike in traffic? Give it some time and keep churning out quality content in the interim.

Wanting to move the needle in organic search for a particular keyword phrase? Do your research in Analytics, Search Console, etc. to make sure you understand the types of posts and keywords that drive organic traffic.

“When I Grow Up, I’m Living Alone!”

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Raise your hand if you could relate to Kevin when he stomped “When I grow up, I’m living alone!” Let’s face it – families can be truly annoying, especially when you’re a kid.

But the really cool part about Kevin “making his family disappear” is that he learned to fend for himself those two or three days his family was overseas. He straight-up sawed down and decorated a baby Christmas tree, grocery shopped, and made himself a “highly nutritious microwaveable macaroni and cheese dinner.”

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Strive to be as resourceful as Kevin was! As noted in a Demand Base post on – you got it, marketing and Home Alone – you “don’t always have to create new content or rebuild campaigns from scratch. Learn from what’s working already. Leverage the best performing content for bigger campaigns. As marketers we tend to want everything shiny and new.”

Living on the Edge (of the Staircase)

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Who can forget that legendary scene where Kevin takes the toboggan down a flight of stairs and flies out the front door? Pretty much every kid’s dream.

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Don’t be afraid to take risks (maybe just not ones that could land you in a body bag). Whether that’s testing out a new keyword strategy for content development, pitching high-tier industry publications with guest blog ideas, brainstorming new and different ways to drive traffic to client sites, etc., it pays to put yourself out there.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

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Granted, throwing a fake party to make burglars think your family’s home is actually pretty terrifying, anyone has to admit that the image of Michael Jordan riding around on a train is just plain fun.

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Remember to have a little fun with your content!

Chances are more than likely, if you’re having fun writing it, your readers will have fun reading it. And isn’t one of the fundamental goals of content marketing to entertain an audience long enough to get them to stick around and read your stuff?

Santa Isn’t Just for the Kids

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If you weren’t already team Kevin, the moment he goes to visit Santa and asks for “nothing but Peter, Kate, Buzz, Meghan, Lynny, and Jeff” could sway even the biggest Grinch. (Never mind that Santa’s smoking a cigarette and gives Kevin Tic Tacs in lieu of a candy cane, psshhh.)

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Have a little faith! It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re up against aggressive website performance goals, for example. Don’t let yourself. Make sure you have a plan and a process in place to maximize the value of your content and stick with it (adjusting as necessary along the way).

“I Can’t Make Ornaments Out of the Old Fish Hooks”

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Let’s be honest: Who in their right mind could make ornaments out of old fish hooks, with dry worm guts stuck on them? Kevin’s ingenuity is obvious right out of the gate but later reveals itself in the elaborate “funhouse” he cooks up for the Wet Bandits (I, for one, don’t happen to think Kevin grew up to become the infamous serial killer from Saw, but that seems to be the consensus).

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Take a page out of Kevin’s book and get creative! Think about it: What do frozen front steps, tar and feathers, and a nail in the basement steps all have in common? Marv and Harry didn’t see it coming.

Spend some time thinking about content that your readers haven’t seen before. Brainstorm with your colleagues. Check out what your competitors are doing and think about how you could do it better. You get the idea.

Two Words: Wet Bandits

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Speaking of the Wet Bandits, let’s pause for a second to think about what Kevin knew about them. He knew what they looked like because they’d been inside his house already. He knew they’d hit every house on the street. He knew exactly what day and time they’d be hitting his.

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Know your audience. Research buyer personas to understand your readers. Check out the types of questions readers are asking in LinkedIn Groups and forums. Use tools like BuzzSumo to figure out the highest shared blog posts for a particular topic or keyword set.

The idea is to effectively reach readers and build the kind of relationship that will keep them coming back for more of your content.

“When Those Guys Come Back, I’ll Be Ready”

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I don’t think “ready” quite captures the level of preparedness Kevin had for the Wet Bandits’ arrival. The kid had literally drawn up a blueprint of his house showing each room’s secret weapon (red hot!, heavy cans, etc.).

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Get yourself a content strategy! Content Marketing Institute research from 2015 shows 35% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy in place while 48% have an undocumented strategy.

“Having a verbal strategy is a great first step,” says CMI. “However, as the research shows, it pays to take the time to write it down: 60% of those who have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness.”

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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Thorough and forward-thinking as he was, even Kevin knew when it was time to call in the big guns. Buzz’s tarantula could only take him so far – sooner or later he was going to have to phone the cops for back-up.

Content Marketing Takeaway:

Even the most experienced content marketers can’t have all the keys to success. Sometimes it takes a fresh eye to rethink a strategy or liven up a stale approach to content.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Whether you’re picking up the phone to conduct a content interview with an industry expert or just picking your colleague’s brain, as the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”

TL;DR

The long and the short of it is that Home Alone isn’t just the greatest holiday movie ever made: It’s also loaded with content marketing tips and best practices.  Who knew?

So do yourself a favor this holiday season and watch Home Alone.  I know I will!

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