Today is Halloween!
But as a blogger, you're not thinking about Halloween anymore. On the blogger's calendar, Halloween is done & over, and you're moving on and prioritizing for the holidays. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day… they're all right around the corner, and if you choose to write about them, now is the time to start planning.
Every year I go back and forth about whether to focus on the holidays. You can't throw a rock without hitting 5 blogs producing gift guides or sharing coupon codes. 6 holiday seasons later, and I still don't have an M.O. for promoting these holidays on my site.
One year I tried to promote a new, unique, cool gift each day for 30 days. It didn't get much response.
Another I did a roundup of my favorite Black Friday sales. Based on statistics and commissions, it was a pretty futile effort (especially for as much work as they take!).
The last few years, I've focused more on the holidays as they pertain to my life – tips on how I plan to holiday shop, my favorite cookie recipes for a swap, and how my fiance and I are building new holiday traditions together. My readers haven't been particularly responsive, but some posts have done well on sites like Pinterest.
If you're a blogger, particularly one who is trying to make money of your site, there's a real pressure to sell, Sell, SELL! during the holidays. And it can be a great way to boost your income for that Quarter. Some bloggers may find the holidays change their blogging rhythm and you're left flailing around.
How Can I Incorporate Holidays (That is Organic to My Site)?
I think of IFB contributors like Grechen, Cora, and Julia here – Grechen runs a secondary site, Grechen's Codes, where she shares promotions and sales year round (just like she does on Grechen's Closet). Cora regularly shares sales and promotions at The Lingerie Addict, and Julia often has special discounts in select posts at Fashion Pulse Daily.
These three all share the same common trait – that discount codes and special promotions are part of their regular content. If they have a special code for their readers, they share it. They have weekly roundups highlighting sales and promotions in their niche. This makes it so easy, and organic, for them to transition into the holidays. It hasn't shifted the way they run their blogs – it just shifts the REASON for the discount.
Incorporating the holidays in an organic way DOESN'T just have to be about making more money in an organic way. It can also be about shifting your content in a way that matches your current method. If you're an Outfit of the Day Blogger, you could create a series of shopping your own closet for 10 different holiday parties (without repeating the same outfit)! If you focus on fitness, you could talk about staying warm while running in frigid temperatures, the best fashion to hide the holiday cookies, etc.
It's about looking at what you do best as a blogger, and asking, “How do the holidays impact this, and what can I share?”
How Can I Promote the Holidays in a Way that's Unique?
This is when I refer back to hitting so many gift guides. In the past, I created gift guides because they seemed popular. They were a way to make money. But in reality, it was a way to do what I felt like I had to (address the holidays), without finding the right way to do it for me and my site.
Success in blogging for the holidays comes from taking this idea: “It's about looking at what you do best as a blogger, and asking, “How do the holidays impact this, and what can I share?”” and also asking, “How can I share it in my own unique way?”
What makes your gift guides different: Is it the layout? The type of product? The quirky people you shop for in your life? If you focus on sustainability, you can share gorgeous holiday gifts that give back to the community.
How can you make your outfit of the day site holiday friendly? Is it about dressing for holiday parties? Sharing your sense of humor through ugly holiday sweaters?
If you're a lifestyle blogger, is it about bringing in guest posts who share delicious recipes or sharing tips on inexpensive and creative ways to decorate your house?
Both of these ideas, creating organic content, and creating content that is unique, is intrinsically connected to who you are as a blogger. The goals and missions of your site, your personal aesthetic, the priorities in your life – they all can guide how you develop a strong, creative, and inspiring way to approach the holidays. As the holidays come up, I'll be looking at how I do this on my own site, and developing a better M.O. for blogging during the holidays going forward!
I'd love to hear how you approach the holidays – what do you focus on (sales, gift guides, creating experiences, holiday fashion, etc.)? How do you differentiate your posts from others that may be similar? What have you found works for you and your site, and what doesn't work?