For many bloggers, the holiday season can mean a great deal of offers, pitches and business. This is very good news for bloggers but how can they effectively take advantage of the holiday season to offer great content and monetize it? Here are 6 steps you should take to get your blog ready for the holidays.
1. Get Your Blog in Shape
Create a Media Kit
There’s nothing scarier than hearing your dream client say, “Sure, just drop me your media kit and I’ll get back to you” when you don’t have one. Create one now. I recommend making a print format version, with and without rates. Here are tips on how to create a media kit for your blog.
Make Your Blog Holiday Friendly
Do visitors know that your blog is currently available for holiday projects? There are several ways to do this, besides current holiday themed content. You can add menu items for holiday themes, such as “Gift Recommendations” or “Holiday Recipes.” Create engaging linked images of relevant holiday posts on your sidebar.
Prepare a Holiday Gift Guide
A gift guide is an excellent way to target your ideal visitor. Reach out to brands that fit your niche as soon as possible (if you're nervous, learn how to pitch brands). You can also create a guide with affiliate links in it, tagging brands on social media. I create my guide from the year’s best product reviews. Be sure to create an image on your side bar announcing the guide – and you can do more than one. Last year, I created 3 separate guides to target all my blog’s verticals.
Create New Holiday Content
If you don’t have any current holiday content yet, get started now even if it’s just an announcement for your holiday gift guide or pre-planning for holiday events.
2. Create Holiday Monetization Strategies
Raise Your Rates
Advertisers often pay more for higher end of year traffic, so now is the ideal time to raise your rates, even at blogger groups such as TapInfluence. If you don’t yet charge, this is a great time to start. I don’t advise putting rates on your blog so that you can be flexible with pitches.
Monetize Your Gift Guide
You can also consider charging for that gift guide, if you can bring something special, like a beautifully crafted magazine edition. That may not be worth your investment, though. In that case, affiliate fees from recommended products can serve you well.
Create Gift Posts
A gift guide is great, but you should also be creating posts that sell to your niche. “Top 10 Gifts for Writers” or “What Every Foodie Wants for Christmas” are great posts that allow you create engaging, time sensitive list posts with affiliate links.
Create Holiday Bargain Roundups
A fun idea is go through your affiliate providers and create a shopping list of related bargains. See an example here with our post featuring Black Friday deals for web hosting.
Think Outside the Affiliate Marketing Box
Don’t just do Amazon affiliate links; join ShareASale or Commission Junction to target certain retailers. Make use of referral programs too, such as Thrive Market, an online grocery shop that pays out referral fees to its members. Recipe bloggers would do well to craft holiday dinner posts linking to those products.
3. Strategize Your Holiday Content
The holidays come up fast, so you need to consider your content deadlines for events like Black Friday, CyberMonday or your gift guide. For example, what is the last date you’ll need to receive a product to review for placement in your gift guide? Make sure to publish your gift guide with enough time for shoppers to have items shipped in time for the holiday.
Uniquely cater to the holiday
Each individual holiday has its own set of parameters that can possibly fit your blog’s niche, if you are creative enough. For example, this summer I wrote a highly shared sales tax holiday post for my e-commerce client, listing the states and dates in the weeks before those sales hit.
Share Top Influencers’ Holiday Content
You must also share holiday content from major influencers in your niche and tag them when possible. Consider a roundup of holiday themed posts from these influencers. Sharing resources from the Teal Pumpkin Allergy Free Halloween project strongly aligns perfectly with my October post of allergen-free candy.
Align All Your Social Media to the Holidays
To get the most bang, saturate your social media with relevant holiday content and share with a teaser like this: “Check out my top 10 list of allergen-free candy for Halloween 2015.”
4. Host Holiday-Only Events and Offers
Offer discounts and coupons
Work with a product or shop and request a special discount code for your blog for a gift giving post. If you spent the fall and summer at a number of conferences, you should have a list of brand reps that may be willing to work with you on discounts or coupon codes.
Create Giveaways Targeted to Your Audience
Gift card giveaways are very popular during the holidays, but make sure they hit your target. For example, if you are building a fashion blog, a gift card to Nordstrom’s is appropriate for a giveaway. Partner with other bloggers in the niche to donate towards the gift card or to coordinate with related brands for a big holiday giveaway event.
5. Recycle Past Holiday Content
Repurpose Successful Past Posts
If you have older content that generated a lot of comments and shares, repurpose it. You can create ebooks, newsletter content or freebies to drum up a call to action. For example, I repurposed content into a “5 Tips for Trick or Treating with Food Allergies” as a free download for newsletter subscribers.
Share Old Content
You may not even need to clean up old content – but you can – and then re-share it as much as possible between now and the holidays on social media. Be sure to investigate optimal hashtags with a program such as RiteTag, which you can try for free.
Refresh and Republish Holiday Tips
Maybe you have a list of the top toys for toddlers, and you like it as is but you have more recommendations to add. Update these kinds of posts for the current year, notifying readers that you’ve updated it with more exciting choices.
6. Maximize Pinterest for the Holidays
Create a Holiday Pin Board
The winter holidays feature cooking, decorating and gift giving, so create boards around these themes and don’t forget to optimize their name for keywords. For example, “Easy Holiday desserts – No bake” is a great title for foodies and recipe influencers.
Make it a Group Board
Invite people who you feel not only match your niche but who generate great holiday pins. Keep it to a small group. You can even create a weekly linky event of the top pins, inviting readers to also share their pins.
Join a Group Holiday Board
One of the advantages of being a part of many blogger groups is that I often get invited to join holiday group boards. If you get this kind of invite from a bigger blogger in your niche, don’t hesitate! Join up, pin frequently and remember to abide by the owner's rules.
These tips should help this year to be a profitable one for your blog but don’t wait! Get started now and remember to keep your analytics fresh so you can take stock in January and plan for next year’s holiday season early on.