At this point, the holidays might seem far enough away that you don’t need to worry about them now, and in some cases, you’re absolutely right. You probably shouldn’t decorate your house or start shopping for any big family meals just yet, but there are some things you need to start planning. One being, how you’ll keep business moving during the time of year when it’s easiest to let it slow down.

The secret is to ramp up your content strategy.

Related: To Maximize Holiday Sales Start Planning Your Marketing Early

With content, you can stay top of mind with your leads, keep them engaged, answer their questions and be there for them when they need you -- without stressing them (or yourself) further by trying to schedule an hour to meet.

My team uses this strategy each year, and our sales actually increase over the fourth quarter and the following first quarter compared with the rest of the year.

Here’s how we’ve used content to help us achieve that and how you can, too:

1. Forget the old 'just following up' email.

Everyone in your lead’s network right now just wants to follow up. Between co-workers and supervisors checking in on a dozen projects and other vendors looking to see whether a decision has been made, her inbox is full of “just following up” emails. Instead of adding to the noise, move your relationship forward by sending a piece of your company’s content you think she’ll appreciate. If you provide her something valuable, she’ll be more likely to respond.

2. Capitalize on pain points.

As I mentioned earlier, your lead is acutely aware of what’s working for her and what’s not, and if you’re in talks via email at least, you can gain more insight into those pain points. Then, use a knowledge management template to store and organize those pain points. Not only will documenting them make it easier for you to connect your services to her needs, but you’ll also have fuel for creating future content.

Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Ease the Inevitable Holiday Stress

3. Deliver extra value through gated content.

In addition to blog posts and case studies, send your lead a relevant piece of quality-gated content – like a valuable white paper or ebook – you have used to help gain leads. By sending him tools to help make his life easier, you’re positioning yourself as a natural extension of that resource.

4. Highlight your company wins.

As the end of the year approaches, look back on your company’s accomplishments and turn your big wins into a piece of content. Did your CEO win a major award? Was your company recognized by another industry leader? How about that new product or service you introduced this year -- was it a hit? Compile a year-in-review article or infographic that highlights those wins, and share it with your lead. Showing her what you’ve done well is a great way to set yourself apart from competing vendors or partners.

Related: 6 Tactics to Generate More Revenue From Increased Holiday Website Traffic

Chances are good that you’re already using content in your marketing and sales processes. But to avoid the holiday sales slump, it’s time to rethink how you use that content. By preparing early and keeping your leads warm with the right content at the right time, you’ll find yourself on your leads’ nice lists -- and make 2017 your best yet.