I know, I know, it sounds practically criminal to be speaking of getting ready for the holiday season in the middle of October. I mean, I don't even know what I'm going to dress up as for Halloween, let alone what I want to blog about in November and December.
So if you're anything like me – and I bet you are, we're all fashion bloggers after all – you probably haven't given holiday posting much thought yet. But you and I both know that once Halloween blazes by in a sequined and be-wigged blur, you'll be staring down the barrel of a dead sprint to New Years Eve. You'll hardly blink an eye between the parties, travel, family get-togethers, shopping, events, more travel and more parties before it's January 2nd and you have absolutely no idea where the heck 2012 even came from.
That sounds sort of awful, doesn't it? Did I just totally terrify you?
Okay, then. Let's do this together. Let's start brainstorming, drafting, emailing, reaching out, and scheduling – now. It's crazy-talk I know, but really, it isn't. The holidays are prime time for content, community and building brand relationships. The more early and preemptive effort you put in (now-ish), the better your posts will be, and the better (more enjoyable! more relaxing! more festive!) the season will be for you, personally.
- Start small: Now is a great time to begin thinking about what kind of posts you want to have during the holiday season, and what you might want to put in them; just let the wheels start turning. Gift guides? Holiday party outfitting? Party-planning tips? Recipes?
- When you're out shopping (or in, shopping online), take mental (or written) notes of items you see that might make great gifts
- Look back through the archives of your favorite blogs from November and December last year. It will give you inspiration for how you might want to frame your editorial calendar this season, and what kind of posts you might want to do.
- My best ideas for these kinds of posts always come at weird moments – and never when I'm under the gun for a deadline. I put all my random thoughts in my notes on my ipad, so i can just pull up the app when it's time to sit down and write, and see all my ideas laid out for me in one place.
- I feel like I always say this, but your friends, family & peers are a truly brilliant source of inspiration. Probe them for ideas!
- If you've interacted with brands or PR firms before (and had great results), think about ways to collaborate with them again. People always appreciate it when you come to them with ideas in hand already.
Emailing & Reaching Out
- Brands and PR firms are already sending out holiday collection press releases. If they're thinking about it now, you should be too!
- Depending on the level of your blog, or how you frame your content, you may not need to be emailing people. However, if you want to do gift guides, shopping specials, guest posts, etc – it's good to start getting in touch with the brands, bloggers and PR firms you might want to work with now.
- Everyone gets busy around the holiday season, so if you can reach out to people early, they will defintiely appreciate it, and will be able to give you more time and attention.
- Some people really might think it's way too early to be figuring out holiday season blogging (their problem, not yours), so be sure to be tactful in your approach. You can always say something like,”I know it's early, but I wanted to make sure I got in touch with you,” or “Getting in touch with [brand x / blogger x] is important to me so I wanted to be sure I reached out early.”
- As always, be brief, cordial and straight-forward (see my emailing post from a few weeks ago).
- Okay, so once you have your ideas laid out, and you've started correspondence with whomever you need to, it's time to sit down and start writing (or collaging, or photographing, etc).
- Starting early gives you the gift of time. You'll have ample opportunity to revise, edit, and start over if something isn't working.
- Take this gift of time and use it to run your posts by those same trusted friends, family and peers whom you turned to for initial inspiration. A second (or third) pair of eyes can help you catch mistakes & provide fresh insight.
- If you're really having a hard time getting into the spirit, may I suggest a playing festive Pandora station?
- Once you get to the point where you've got a pretty good grip on what your posts are going to be, start penciling them into your calendar!
- This is key if you know you're going to be traveling during the holiday season. Think of what a relief it will be to know you can get on a 6-hour wifi-less flight across the country, arrive home to your family, and spend a blissful week or long weekend relaxing with your cat and dog and enjoying the festivities without having to step away to publish posts all the time. (Can you tell I have a goal on my mind?)
- Look back through your traffic analytics. See what days of the week you have the highest traffic, and schedule your strongest and most fun posts for those days.
- Most platforms now have a way for you to schedule your posts way ahead of time, down to the minute. I use this tool all the time since I have no idea if I'll be able to visit my blog at the specific time I want my posts to go live. It takes so much hassel out of this whole experience, I promise (and you can always edit them further once they're scheduled).
Writing this post gave me severe flashbacks to high school and college. I was a strong student, but a genius when it came to procrastinating. I would put off beginning term papers and journalism assignments until the last possible second. I spent many an all-nighter hunched over my laptop, stressing myself out and inevitably submitting subpar assignments.I can only imagine what kind of grades I might have gotten had I just started ahead of time.
While you're not being graded on your posting, you're certainly going to get feedback, and the results of great blogging have the potential to take you even further than a stellar report card.