Question: I’m new to blogging but I keep hearing that the holidays are a good time to make some money. I love gift guides but don’t know how to monetize them. Also, I just don’t know what I should be doing – how many posts are too much? And I reeeeallly don’t want to sound like a used car salesman! Buy this, buy that!. Etc. Help!
YAY! It’s November and the next two months are always some of my favorites! If you are anything like my husband, you are telling me to hold off on the Christmas music just a couple weeks longer. But if you are like me, you were taking the Christmas things off the shelves as soon as the Target people were stocking them on November 1st. No matter where you fall on the Christmas spectrum, if you have a blog, now is the time to be thinking about the holidays! What a perfect time to answer this question (and it just came in!! Don’t forget that you can always send in you Ask Elizabeth questions – I’m always taking them and adding them to the list!)
People are already searching Pinterest for Holiday recipes, gift guides, crafts, DIY, decor, outfits, and all the holiday things! They are planning their Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties, figuring out how they want to wrap their gifts, shopping for Him, and picking out their Christmas cards! You don’t need to decorate for Christmas today, but you can start planning to take advantage of one of the most invested in times of the year and also have a lot of fun with it!
CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR
Okay! Let’s start by creating a content calendar. Don’t already have one? Open up Google Calendar and add a new calendar called “Blog Posts” – ta-da! Now we are going to start throwing ideas in there! If you are a fly by the seat of your pants blogger and this freaks you out, don’t worry you can move ideas around without having to scribble things out! But if you want to be intentional with this season, you need plan ahead.
Now pick what days you want to blog. Normally I blog 4 days a week but in November and December I plan 5 posts a week. Whew! I also love this time of the year and don’t want to spend my holidays and husband’s vacation days blogging (boo!). A content calendar will help you plan and stay on top of things! Prescheduling content is what is going to make you able to blog and also take time off this holiday season!
DATES TO KEEP IN MIND
November 23rd – Thanksgiving ( Grateful list, personal stories, favorite memories, pie recipes)
November 24th – Black Friday (boycot it, share deals, share where you are going, shopping outfit for Black Friday shopping, etc)
November 25th – Small Business Saturday (Highlight your fav local small businesses, gift guide with small shops, etc)
November 27th – Cyber Monday (Share deals, share a gift guide full of deals, Amazon gift guide, etc)
November 28th – Giving Tuesday (great day to highlight brands that give back, where you like to donate for the holidays, your fav non-profits, stories of giving during the holiday season, etc)
December 12th – December 20th – Hanukkah
December 25th – Christmas
December 31st – Last Day of the Year (Reflect on 2017, Favorite posts from 2017, Photo Books for the year, etc)
January 1st – New Years Day (Goals, looking toward 2018, etc)
Brainstorm your favorite things about the holidays
Okay, so now that we have the dates in our calendar we can start planning content. What do you like to do during the holidays? Look at Christmas lights? Pick out a tree? Go to Christmas Concerts? Start turning that into content. “Where to see the best Christmas lights in Charleston” “Our Christmas Tree Hunt” “Christmas Concert Outfit” – turn those things you love into posts! Do you make Pecan Pie every year? Share the recipe! Going to a Christmas Cookie Exchange? Share the recipe for the cookies you make! Fill in your calendar with all the fun things.
APPLY for Affiliate programs & make a list of ones you are in
The way to make some money during this season is by using affiliate links. Affiliate links are links that are unique to you. They have a special code that tells the brand that you directed the buyer to their website. If you are already part of some programs, take time to list them out and put the links in an easy to find google document.
Also, I suggest applying for these three affiliate programs. They are all wonderful for creating gift guides because they have a lot of products!
Schedule Gift Guides
For your gift guides you need to have them all posted before Christmas (obvi.) Majority of people start shopping Thanksgiving week so having content already live or going live around that time is best. As Christmas gets closer, think stocking stuffers, last minute gift ideas, gift cards, etc. Also go beyond just “for him” and “for her” – be specific. “Gifts for the Hostess with the Mostest” “Gifts for the Adventure Lover” “Gifts for the high maintenance Girl” “Gifts for the Harry Potter Fanatic” – play off your content and your blog vibe. If you keep your gift guides on brand, new people may find you through Pinterest or a search and stick around because they like your content!
I do my gift guides once a week so I’m starting next week! But you can chose how you want to fit these in! It is all about making the holiday content on your blog feel like you and feel like your brand!
Sponsored Content & Collaborations
Work with brands. If you are already a part of blog agencies / networks keep an eye out for posts! A lot of brands focus on this time period for a large amount of their marketing money.
If you are not in any networks, apply for some now! You may not get in some but you also may! Then apply for sponsored posts!
- Pollinate Media
- Real Clever
- Activate by Bloglovin’
- Weave Made Media
- I Sway
- Social Fabric
You can also take this season as a time to reach out to brands you love and want to feature! Reach out to see if they will provide Christmas Cards for you post or a sweater for your Christmas Concert style. Here is a post I wrote on writing professional emails that may help you as you reach out! Make sure that you add a sponsored posts and collaborations to your calendar too so that you don’t double book yourself!
Okay! That is a lot of information but you’ve got this! You can have a lot of fun being you and sharing your holiday traditions and passions this season! And hopefully also make some money for your business!