The Holidays are big business: big traffic for your blog, big sales for online & local retailers, big opportunity – as long as you plan for it!
Like all things in blogging, preparing for the holiday season starts by considering your audience’s wants/needs and your bandwidth for producing content that caters to those wants/needs. The high desire for content compared with a busy personal life from October to December creates the opportunity to be overwhelmed.
But, take a deep breath. A little planning, a solid 90 day plan and an organized to do list allow you to maximize impact while keeping ahold of your sanity.
Your Holiday Audience
What is your audience feeling?
A pretty straightforward question requiring a surprisingly involved answer. Hopefully, you’ve already done the homework of identifying your ideal blog reader. How old are they? Where do they live? What are their favorite stores? What are their biggest stresses? All of that information helps you get specific about what that reader is looking for from you!
During this season, identify what they are stressing about and what they are celebrating. During a time of high emotion, creating content that evokes celebration or solves problems fosters the reader relationship.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
This is my mantra during the holiday season & it produces results! The end of the year is a busy time personally – family events, conferences, high traffic, key brand promotions and affiliate opportunities. With every step of my workflow, I’m going to take a second look during the 4th quarter to see if I can simplify my process. I might reduce the amount of content I’m creating in favor of less, higher value work. I’m going to keep it simple, because the holiday season already has enough overwhelm without my adding to it
The same goes for my reader. Almost everyone is stressed out by the holiday season, according to Entrepreneur. From health decisions to finances to family drama, the season of gratitude and grace does quite the job of wearing us out. The entire goal of my content, then, lies in making my reader feel less stressed, more understood and empowered with information about the decisions they are stressed about.
Working with Brands
This is prime time for working with brands – holiday gift guides, community specific story lines and seasonal topics are priorities for companies across an immense variety of industries.
Why the Holiday Gift Guide?
Depending on your goals, a holiday gift guide offers a range of opportunities. Professional bloggers turn interactive, high value gift guides into a lucrative offer to brands wanting to reach their audience. Businesses create gift guides to highlight their own products & serve their customers. Whatever the purpose of your online presence, if your audience shares a unique commonality offering a holiday gift guide is an option.
Those with established audiences & that valuable conversion rate leverage the Gift Guide as a monetization opportunity. Brands will pay for the opportunity to receive a respected influencer’s recommendation. That planning largely takes place earlier in the year, but it’s not too late to leverage a Gift Guide for your audience. Focusing on brands that you would like to develop a relationship with for monetization opportunities in 2018, an impressive click through rate on your gift guide post/email/download makes for a strong first impression when you make your pitch.
The Holiday Shopping Season Starts Early
As you’re neck deep in planning, remember that the holiday shopping season starts early & lasts until just after Christmas. I love Fall, but there is an excellent reason that stores start sneaking out the Christmas decor as soon as Back To School ends – people are already thinking about it!
Now, it’s important to remember that if you’re not working that far ahead yet, don’t give it up for the year. There is still time for holiday content! December 22nd & 23rd are the biggest sales days of the year according to Robert Mening of Website Setup! But while much of our audiences are late shoppers, it takes repeated exposures. Holiday content needs to post early enough to get engagement and traction BEFORE they are making holiday shopping decisions. Planning holiday themed videos or images as part of your social strategy? People are already getting in the spirit of the holiday season and sharing content that reflects that.
Getting that holiday vibe is more than adding a pumpkin to your Facebook cover photo or adding some red and green to your email imagery. There is music, movies & movie quotes, traditions to reference and overall tone that is more personal and warm.
A Season of Giving
Giving, from individuals and businesses, is a cornerstone component of holiday marketing. Despite the stress of the holidays, it is a time that we look to our community and those who could use a hand up.
Consider incorporating one of these ways to give:
- Donate a portion of your sales to a nonprofit you believe in (for product businesses)
- Share stories of nonprofits whose efforts are relevant to your audience
- Making it easy for your audience to donate by adding onto their purchase or sharing links/opportunities to donate
Make Plans for Blog Holiday Automation
The holidays are full of opportunity – but that doesn’t mean that your family, friends and personal holiday season need to take a back seat. Planning ahead now so you know exactly what needs to get done creates the space to unplug on the holidays! Take the time the outline every step needed for your holiday plan – then assign each to do a date.
It’s ok to look at your plans and acknowledge that you won’t be able to do ALL.THE.THINGS. Consider your top goals for your blog this year and focus on the holiday content that best fuel those goals!
- How much content can you realistically create without infringing on your personal holiday?
- Leverage a social scheduler like Coschedule to maintain your social presence on those days that you’ll be taking time with family & friends. Start building your Holiday Requeue now so you’ll less work to do as things get busier!
- Block out the days/times that you will reserve as personal time to create breathing room and prevent burnout.
- Go ahead and schedule your email out of office reply for those days around the holiday you’re taking off.
For these three months, take it step by step. Building your plan allows you to leverage the full power of automation with schedulers & email sequences. Leveraging automation creates the space to both grow your business and enjoy being fully present in your holiday celebration!