Whether it’s your goal to take some time off for the holidays or just get ahead of the content curve, it’s still great practice to prepare your blog for the holidays. These simple steps will help you create a solid plan that keeps you focused on what matters most, saving you time!
There are so many things to love about blogging, especially how we can have so much in common, yet almost nothing at all.
Our audiences aren’t the same. The ways we make money blogging are vastly different. Our content couldn’t be farther apart.
But despite our vast differences, ask ANY blogger what their Q4 goals are, and they’ll all tell you the same thing.
Can you guess what those goals might be?
Leverage your holiday traffic with our FREE holiday content planning sheet! It’s the perfect tool to help you prepare your blog for the holidays so you can have your best Q4 yet!
First, to have their most profitable quarter-to-date. Second, to take the entire month of December off – if not the WHOLE season!
Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s quite easy to turn that dream into reality… if done right.
All you need is a rock-solid game plan to prepare your blog for the holidays.
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We really wanted to hit home the act of preparation because it’s not a quick and easy task to take an entire month off, let alone the busiest month for most bloggers.
We know you’re already giving your blog everything you’ve got, but we’re going to ask for a little bit more just this one time.
The extra time you put in now will pay off, especially when you’re enjoying every special moment with your family this holiday season instead of downing your fifth cup of coffee hunched over in front of the computer and telling your kids, “just a few more minutes!”.
Now that we know how to plan right and put in the extra work beforehand, that’s something our families no longer have to endure.
If you’re ready to enjoy some much-needed time away from your blog, here’s how you can prepare your blog for the holidays!
Table of Contents
1. CREATE A PROMOTIONAL CALENDAR
To prepare, we have to plan. And to plan, we have to make a schedule.
Whenever you get a new planner, what’s the first thing you do? Write in holidays, birthdays, etc. I.e., anything you don’t have control over.
The same goes for your promotional calendar, except we’re starting with affiliate promotions while adding in our own sales.
For example, we added a summit we’re participating in that’s running the first week of November. Then, we added our week-long Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale and any other affiliate promotions for the remainder of the year.
Now we have something to work around!
Having a solid baseline helps you get ahead of the curve and prepare your blog for the holidays.
Creating a plan will allow you to:
- breakdown your goals into manageable, bite-sized tasks
- keep your focus on only exactly what needs to be done, saving you time
- analyze your content showing any weak or promotionally-heavy spots
- take some much-needed time off because you deserve it!
We are firm believers in doing things today that your future self will thank you for.
2. EVALUATE YOUR CONTENT
Now that we have our schedule out of the way, we want to look at all of our blog posts to include both evergreen and seasonal.
Our goal for this step is to see if we can throw a holiday spin on any published content and create seasonal content to fill any gaps.
This gives us a ton of content to use on Pinterest and in our weekly emails, which we’ll get to later in this post.
For now, let’s chat about the latter for a moment.
Fill in content gaps
When we were evaluating our seasonal content, we realized we were missing a few key topics based on questions from our readers:
- How to prepare your blog for the holidays
- Ultimate Black Friday promo guide
- Holiday product mockups
- Holiday-specific freebies based on popular niches
- Generalized holiday freebies for brainstorming
- How to create a holiday color palette
Adding more seasonal content to our blog helps in many ways, but the main focus for holiday prep is that we can take MORE time off because of it.
By adding new additional pieces of seasonal content, we can schedule further out, which means less time at the computer overall.
Add a holiday spin on evergreen content
Any time you can repurpose content, you’re saving yourself a ton of time.
But when you repurpose content with a holiday spin, you’re giving yourself more opportunities to grow your list during the busiest time of the year.
However, not everyone is good at brainstorming holiday content. Or, have reached the point of exhaustion by this time of year to even think of new post ideas.
To help combat this, we have an entire blog post covering holiday content ideas in three of the most popular niches!
Related Post: Printables You Need to Create for Holiday Traffic
Now, it doesn’t have to be a direct 1:1 swap from evergreen to seasonal.
For example, we have a post titled ‘Digital Product Launch Graphics You Need to Create,’ which is the base for our holiday post, ‘Black Friday 2022: Ultimate Promo Guide‘.
It’s not directly related, but it gives us a great jumping-off point due to the ‘launch’ similarities for outlining and writing our holiday post in record time.
Refresh outdated content
You’re already ahead of the game if you update your seasonal content annually! But if not, we’ve got you covered.
This is always good practice with any piece of blog content because things are always changing that, if you let slip, will be difficult to recover from. Ask us how we know…
We comb through every holiday post to check for a few key things:
- Are the content and images still relevant?
- Can any links, both inbound and outbound, be added?
- Does this content match any affiliate products?
- Are there any keywords Google Search Console recommends?
- Can we promote any of our own products?
It may look like a lot, but if it’s something you’re consistent with, you’ll knock it out in no time. Plus, Google loves regularly updated content.
As you can see, having great seasonal blog content is key to helping you prepare your blog for the holidays!
2. REVIEW AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Everything we know about affiliate sales is from the Lazy Guide to Affiliate Marketing by Elizabeth Goddard. She is truly a marketing genius, and her strategies are perfect for those of us that love the set-it-and-forget-it approach!
Aside from adding any relevant affiliate links throughout your holiday content, there’s something else you can do to really boost that income while you’re taking some time off – heavily monetized posts!
We skim through our affiliate spreadsheet each year and see if there are any products we can write a whole blog post about.
Is it a sponsored post? No. Instead, we’ll write a review-style post about a particular product and add our affiliate link throughout.
An added bonus is if this product goes on sale for Black Friday, you can push your audience to the post AND repurpose your content for promotional emails and social media posts!
Side note: This is why we review our promotional calendar before starting our content!
Related Post: Leverage the Holidays to Grow Your List and Income
Other ways to accelerate your affiliate income over the holidays while taking some time off are with round-up posts and gift guides.
3. DESIGN HOLIDAY LEAD MAGNETS
You can have the greatest content in the world but will be meaningless if you’re not capturing email subscribers in the process.
Holiday-themed lead magnets are the perfect way to grow your email list throughout all of Q4 because it provides the ‘how’ to your content’s ‘why.’
Related Post: Seasonal Lead Magnets to Boost Your Email List
Does that mean every holiday blog post needs to have a dedicated lead magnet? Not at all.
We only have two holiday lead magnets, but they tie in perfectly with our seasonal content and provide a quick win for our audience as they prepare their blog for the holidays.
If you want done-for-you holiday page templates to help you design beautiful lead magnets and printables, you need our Ultimate Holiday Canva Template Bundle NOW.
We specifically created this bundle to help you leverage Q4 traffic for maximum growth by designing all of your seasonal content in a fraction of the time.
The Ultimate Holiday Canva Template Bundle provides you with social media and Pinterest templates, promotional mockup templates, page layout templates (for lead magnets, gift guides, and digital products), and a 24-page content planner to help you plan your most profitable Q4 yet.
4. WRITE EMAIL + SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Once your main piece of content is done, you can easily repurpose it in emails and social media posts.
We repurpose as much blog content as possible to keep our message consistent. But in terms of helping you prepare your blog for the holidays, it’s essential for saving even more time.
Our weekly emails are broken up into three parts:
- Weekly blog post promotion
- Canva design tip related to our weekly blog post
- Tools and resources related to our weekly blog post
Because our blog posts are already planned out, we can easily add relatable Canva design tips and resources to our emails. They’re now written and ready to be scheduled.
To get ahead of the clock, we write our weekly emails in Google Docs and then do a quick run-through with Grammarly before we add them to ConvertKit.
WRITE SOCIAL MEDIA
We categorized our social media posts into four content styles:
- Quick tip
This not only makes batch-designing our visuals quick and painless but dramatically cuts down our time spent on brainstorming content.
For social media, we write our posts directly in Asana and then add our visuals. It’s so easy to move cards around and make any edits to posts before we add them to our scheduler.
This is a personal preference, as we found it takes quite a bit to edit and reschedule posts in Business Suite.
5. SCHEDULE YOUR CONTENT
Every part of your blog can be scheduled, which is where the holiday magic happens!
It would be pointless to write all this content ahead of time and then manually post everything. So much for taking some time off, right!?
Instead, thanks to automation, blog posts, social media, email, and even Pinterest can all be automatically published at peak times.
We schedule our blog posts right in WordPress. We love that we can have these written weeks, if not months, in advance and will only publish to our site on the date and time of our choosing.
This is handy when we schedule our Pinterest content so that our pins don’t go out before the blog post is published, which we’ll get to in just a moment.
Believe it or not, we actually schedule our Facebook and Instagram content directly in Business Suite.
As we said earlier, editing and rescheduling posts in Business Suite was just too time-consuming. Not to mention we were tired of dealing with connection issues from third-party schedulers.
Plus, everything we read said the algorithm favors native posting anyway.
We’ve been using ConvertKit since we started Simplifying DIY Design and are still in love, 5+ years later.
It’s so easy to create intuitive sequences and automations so your content goes to the right readers at the right time.
It’s also incredibly easy to establish rules where the true magic of segmentation takes place, we think!
PINTEREST + TAILWIND
If you’re going to prepare your blog for the holidays, you NEED to utilize Pinterest to ensure a revolving door of traffic to your posts.
We have the entire fourth quarter scheduled in Tailwind, so as our audience searches for seasonal solutions, Pinterest continuously delivers without us lifting a finger.
Every single blogger should be using Tailwind regardless if you want to prepare your blog for the holidays or not.
It’s a vital tool in our business that lets us offload a huge, time-consuming task of manual pinning and brings us thousands of visitors a month!
We especially love the ability to schedule pins for posts that have yet to hit the blog. This is key!
Get started with Tailwind today to help you prepare your blog for the holidays and schedule your Pinterest content (and more) through smart automations!
7. TEST-RUN YOUR PROCESSES
Nothing’s worse than putting in the work to prepare your blog for the holidays and having a hiccup in your customer journey go unnoticed.
Even if you think everything’s good to go, run through every step anyway.
We were less than 24 hours out from a huge collaboration that was estimated to bring in hundreds of email subscribers. We’re no rookies with collabs, yet something told us to go through our customer journey regardless just to make sure…
- Email tags were added
- Automations started, and emails sent
- Accounts created and logins activated
Turns out the wrong tags were added (totally our fault), AND our automation had a glitch that wouldn’t move our subscribers forward.
In sheer panic, we got in touch with ConvertKit’s support and resolved the issue in a matter of minutes.
If we had never test-run our processes beforehand, we would’ve found out about these errors AFTER taking a few weeks off.
In other words, we would’ve walked into a complete disaster, and we definitely don’t want you to make the same mistake we did!
With the right game plan, you can easily prepare your blog for the holidays, whether you’re taking some time off or not.
It’s always good practice to get ahead of things. So, even if time off isn’t your goal, you’ll still be able to create a winning game plan that keeps your focus on something we can all agree with – spending your time on what matters most!
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS POST:
- FREE Holiday Content Planning Sheet
- Ultimate Holiday Canva Template Bundle
- Ultimate Black Friday Promo Guide
- Leverage the Holidays to Grow Your List and Income
- Printables You Need to Create for Holiday Traffic
- Seasonal Lead Magnets to Boost Your Email List
Don’t forget to grab our FREE holiday content planning sheet! It’s the perfect tool to help you prepare your blog for the holidays to maximize your traffic for insane growth!
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