The holidays are a great time for bloggers to boost their income, but many of them are doing it wrong and burning themselves out in the process. Today, we dive into the right way to go about maximizing your holidays or any time of the year.
This stemmed from being invited to do an AMA for Megan Porta's Eat, Blog, Talk food blogger community and I put this article and video together to complement it, as well as this downloadable PDF.
I was really looking forward to it and she wanted me to talk about holiday planning. So I recorded this video to show you some of my thoughts about how you can maximize your blog during the holidays, or pretty much any time of the year.
I did feel like I needed a little bit of help with this topic, so I reached out to my mastermind group. If you're not in one, I'd definitely check it out. And if you're trying to find one, but struggling, I know Megan is providing some in her community platform as well. So be sure to check that out.
So big props to some of my mastermind members, including Lori Rice from LoriRice.com, Heather Vanderway from The Fed Up Foodie, and Justin McChesney-Wachs from Salt Pepper Skillet. They helped me get my thoughts together and the 3 of them gave me some great suggestions which inspired the bulk of this presentation.
The process I like to use applies to almost any time of the year, but I'll cover the holiday specifically during this talk since it's that time of year. There's a few different steps that you need to know.
First is know what your goals are. That's the first step in pretty much anything you're trying to figure out to do.
People ask me, "Should they publish a cookbook?" And I say, "What is your goal?" They say, "Should I do more SEO research?" And I say, "What is your goal?" If you don't know your goals, you can't figure out how to get there. So that is step one. We're going to dive into these in the rest of this video.
Step two is know your strengths. Figure out what your assets are, what you're good at, who your connections are. That way you'll know what you're working with and how you can move forward.
The next step is to prep your content. You need to figure out what you want to do, figure out how you're going to do it.
And then you can really move forward and figure out how to attack your goals. I'll give you a few different ways that you can do that, but it's all about knowing your goals, knowing your strengths and prepping your content in anticipation of that.
And finally, you need to take care of yourself, especially during the holidays because it can get overwhelming.
So the first step, let's dive into that. Know your goals. This is all about what do you hope to accomplish during the holidays. There's a lot of different things you can try to accomplish. And a lot of people either don't know what they're trying to do, or they try to accomplish too much.
This is always the first step, like I said, for pretty much anything you're trying to figure out how to do. Here are a few of the different goals, especially for the holidays.
You could try to sell products. This can be your own products and services or other people's through affiliate links. There's lots of different ways that you can approach this.
The next one is to grow your email list. There's lots of ways to go about this, but lead magnets are very, very effective, especially during the holidays.
Next is to grow followers on social. It's just all about engaging posts, polls, questions, getting your fans to talk to you and share your content.
Finally, working with brands, they are trying to get in front of their fans during the holidays as well. So you can reach out to them, work with them to try to help move their brands forward while you can get paid to do it.
Once you know what you're trying to accomplish, you can look at what your strengths are. What are you good at? What are your existing assets? Knowing these can help you quickly set your focus for how to best move forward.
There's a few different strengths you need to look at.
The first is what did people view? What pages did they look at during the last holiday season, 2 years ago, 3 years ago on your site specifically. What social posts did they engage with? What have people commented on? These are your top assets, and these are going to be what you want to build around when you're creating this content for the holidays.
The next asset to look at is what products do you have? Do you have any cookbooks, eBooks, cooking classes, any kitchen equipment, cheat sheets, meal plans, anything that you can sell to people, write it down. Because that's a great asset that you're going to want to promote.
Next is what content you have? What posts and recipes do you have live? What backlog of posts and recipes do you have ready and waiting to go? Because if you can use existing content, or content you've basically already finished and built holiday content around, it's going to save you a lot of time and allow you to do a lot more.
Next asset is what do you know? What type of content or recipes is really easy for you to create? What insights and knowledge do you have that people need? How can you put stuff together in ways that other people can't? Remembering what your superpowers are, is a great way to figure out how you should move forward.
And finally, who do you know? What connections do you have? Which brands have you worked with before? What bloggers could you collaborate with? Relying on your network is a great way to quickly build content.
The next step is to plan your content. Figure out what the most effective way is to put content out there to maximize your effort. There's a few different ways you can do this. Here are some of my favorites.
Create a theme around a certain subject. This can be creating new or using existing content, especially around your top viewed pages and your top social posts.
It should be complimentary too, but not conflict with your current SEO. You don't want to take anything away from your top pages. And it's perfect if you can rely on existing content and new content that's really easy to create. So you can build up a lot of stuff around a certain subject.
Here's a great example for you because it can be a little confusing. If you have a top post for sugar cookies, you can create posts around different things regarding sugar cookies that could be types of icing, how to decorate cookies, and baking with kids. You can tie it all together with an article on throwing a cookie decorating party with links to each one.
When someone comes to your site, they're going to see one of these articles, get pulled into the overall throwing a cookie decorating party article, and then go down the rabbit hole of all the different things they can do to accomplish that.
They're going to stay on your site a lot longer. They're going to see your content a lot more. They're more likely to sign up for your mailing list, purchase products from you, or use your affiliate links. It's a win-win, plus it's going to give you some good SEO juice, because they're going to be staying on your site for an extended period of time.
Another great type of content to focus on is creating lasting evergreen content. This is the type of content that people come back year after year for creating these helps you consistently grow assets and they can even be posted through the end of the holidays in anticipation for next year.
So when you're a little behind trying to finish up that final cookie post, it's all right, you can publish that on Christmas day or the day after. It's not going to help you this year, but it's going to help you next year because it's always going to be relevant.
The final thing I like to do to really prepare content for the holidays is to update your existing content. Take those top posts that you found, see which ones, you know, maybe the photos aren't quite as good as you can take now. Refresh those, add more FAQs, a little more content, bulk them out a little bit.
Don't forget to resubmit them to all the social media sites, try to drive more traffic to them, relaunch them, reengage them and refresh them. Dust off the cobwebs because you know it's good content since it's been ranking and people are enjoying it. So you can rely on that and build some of this content around it.
It even applies to your top social media posts from last year. It's very easy to see what worked and then recreate them in new and interesting ways. You can tweak it and apply it to today. But you know that it worked last year, you know it resonated last year, so you can use that to inform what you're doing now.
So now that we have an idea of what your goals are, what your assets are and some different ways to build upon that, now we can start to look at how to attack your goals. That's because combining your goals with your strengths and with some good planning equals success.
So, what do you want to accomplish?
You want to sell products? Well then why don't you use some inline links, some inline ads to your products or to other people's products in some of these evergreen content posts, some of these refreshed posts and some of these theme posts. It's a great way that you're looping people in, you're providing great information, and then you're pointing them to things that you're looking to sell to them.
You want to grow your email list? Lead magnets. You have that entire cookie decorating class, come up with a planning timeline and use it as a lead magnet people can download if they sign up. Come with your top 25 frosting recipes and use that as a lead magnet. There's lots of different ways you can drive people to your mailing list from some of this great content.
You want to grow your followers? Well, if you have that cookie decorating idea, you can pull content from that and really engage your users over time. Ask them what their favorite decoration is, A or B? Send in different pictures, ask them to tag you with their favorite cookie decorations as they're making things.
You can really start to use polls and Q&As and even Facebook lives to engage with them and ask them about this content. They're going to start to expect to see it from you. And they're going to engage more and more over time.
You want to work with brands? Reach out to some of the brands that you know, or that you want to work with that offer things within the realm of what you're working on.
Use some of that evergreen content, some of that refreshed content, especially that themed content. It's easy to reach out to brands with some interesting ideas.
Instead of saying, "Hey, Bob's Red Mill, I'd like to write about your flour". You can reach out and say, "Hey, I'm doing this entire themed cookie decorating party. It's going to be 4 cookie recipes in there. I'd like to use your flour and highlight it throughout there. It's going to be driving a lot of traffic. My frosting recipe was huge last Christmas, and I expect it to be really big this year. And it's going to be driving traffic directly into your sponsored posts."
It's a lot more effective than just offering a normal, bland sponsored post deal to them.
And the final thing, now that hopefully you have a lot of different good ideas, is to remember, know yourself, take care of yourself. All right? Nothing is going to get done if you burn yourself out. We've all had days that ended up with us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, right?
So don't do too much, you're just one person. Maybe you have a VA or 2 at best. But there's going to be a lot of stressors coming up during the holidays, there's going to be family and social obligations. Don't bite off more than you can chew and don't feel bad if you can't get to everything. That is life, especially during the holidays.
And be sure to take time for you and your family. You don't want to sacrifice family time or personal time for your blog. The holidays are about friends and family. So please try to keep it that way. Don't do too much.
Finally breathe, plan and then take action. You need to take a moment now and then whether that's an hour, a day or maybe a week, just stop to breathe and then start the plan.
But once you have your plan in place, take action, get moving. Continuing to plan, and plan, and plan is just another form of procrastination. And you don't want to do that. Because the more you get done now, and next month and the month after, the more free time you're going to have during the holidays. So plan, take a minute, but once you figure it out, get moving.
One more time just to recap, know your goals, know your strengths, plan your content, attack your goals and always remember, take care of yourself.
Thanks so much, and have a great holiday season, both for your blog and for yourself!
If you want to read some more about this, here are a few helpful links.