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It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for bloggers!
That’s right, Q4 has arrived! The craziest, busiest and most lucrative season for bloggers.
Blogging can get hectic at the best of times but during Q4, a blogger’s life can be especially chaotic. But with the chaos also comes an injection of cash!
If you’re wondering what I’m on about then Q4 refers to the last 3 months of the financial year. Q1 is Jan-March, Q2 April-June, Q3 July-Sept, Q4 Oct-Dec.
Why is Q4 for bloggers so crazy and so profitable?
Well there are many reasons, my friend.
Reasons why Q4 for Bloggers is so awesome
1 – Higher RPMS
Firstly, more companies are paying for advertisements to promote their products in the run-up to Christmas. This means that your ad revenue will go up.
In otherwords, every page view is worth more money in Q4 than the rest of the year – if you run paid ads.
2 – More sponsored work
The same brands may also be willing to spend more money on sponsored content to reach new audiences with their products ahead of Christmas.
3 – More affiliate commissions
It is often easier to earn affiliate commissions in Q4 for many programmes and conversion rates and EPC’s will be higher due to people making more seasonal purchases.
Most companies will be offering discounts over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. It is much easier to sell products when there is 1) a discount and 2) some element of urgency such as a flash sale. You can leverage your social media channels and email list to make the most of this sales period.
More people are shopping online in December, buying gifts. You can promote gifts in your niche but also, you may earn additional revenue with any of your affiliate links.
Say you link to something on Amazon within a blog post and someone clicks that link, it locks your cookie for 24 hours. If they happen to be doing their Christmas shopping that day too, you’ll earn a commission on everything in their cart, regardless if you recommended it.
4 – Opportunities for product launches
It is also a brilliant time for bloggers who sell digital products such as ebooks, planners, printables and online courses.
You can host your own sale for Black Friday or to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas or Thanksgiving.
5 – More seasonal blog traffic
Q4 can also be a great time to drive lots of traffic to your blog, especially if you utilise Pinterest.
More people than ever are on Pinterest browsing for Christmas gifts, festive recipes, winter getaways and festive crafts to do with their children.
So make sure you are creating plenty of this festive content AND creating lots of fresh pins directing traffic to your seasonal content.
How to get the most from Black Friday
Firstly, to make the most of Q4, you need to get organised! Preferably planning months ahead. If you need to get better organised, check out The Blog Boss Management System!
Create a round-up post for Black Friday Offers
Try to get your article out as soon as possible to give it chance to rank on Google. That said, many articles won’t announce their deals until the last minute so keep the few days prior to Black Friday free so you can keep updating your articles as deals arise.
If you already have a Black Friday article from last year, you can use that and update it.
Check out my article from last year – Black Friday Deals for Bloggers
Then focus your efforts on creating even more niche Black Friday roundups. So for example, I have a Black Friday travel deals article on my travel site but maybe I could also get more specific and write about Black Friday flight deals.
I’d recommend keeping the year out of the URL. You might call your article ‘2020 Black Friday deals for crafters’ but make sure the URL is just black-friday-deals-for-crafters.
You can change titles and update content to reflect the current year but changing URLs requires redirects which can slow your site and affect SEO performance so keep those URLS evergreen.
Next year, your Black Friday article may be ranking much higher!
Action point | Start keeping a list of all offers as they arise to make writing your article much easier. You can also research last years offers to get an idea about which companies are likely to run promotions again.
Schedule Black Friday emails and social media in advance
Trying to cobble together a promotional plan at the last minute is stressful.
Instead, schedule your emails and social media posts in advance. If new deals come up at the last minute, there’s nothing stopping you from going back in to edit these emails and social posts before they get sent.
I tend to include direct links to my favourite offers direct from emails. I then link to my roundup post for more offers. But by linking to the best ones directly, you’ll get more clicks and lock more cookies!
I ought to add that in general, using multiple different links in emails isn’t ideal as it can effect your deliverability and land you in the Gmail promo folder. So I reserve multiple links for special occasions like Black Friday and routinely, I try to keep links to a minimum in my emails with 1, max 2, call to actions.
No email list yet? Or not sure how to grow yours quickly to make the most of Q4? Then read my guide to starting an email list for bloggers.
The Convertkit free plan is perfect for those who are just starting out and only want to send simple newsletters.
Action Point | As soon as you have details of deals, schedule posts about specific products over the long weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Read next | Mailerlite vs Convertkit
Black Friday for Digital Product Owners
If you own a digital product, Black Friday presents the perfect opportunity to offer a special deal on your product.
I would resist the urge to offer a huge discount as this can devalue your product. I’d aim for max 30% or alternatively offer it at the normal price but with bonuses that you’d normally have to pay for.
Plan well ahead and schedule your promo emails. Remember not everyone will read your email so don’t be afraid to mention it more than once in your emails and on social media.
However, to avoid annoying my loyal readers who DO read every email, I always include an ‘opt-out of emails about this promo’ link to allow people to opt out without unsubscribing.
Do you have affiliates? If so, make sure you contact them early about your Black Friday offer so they can plan and be organised. Contact them too late and they might not have time to alter their content plan.
Make sure you provide email and social swipe copy and promotional graphics to make your affiliates life a little easier. the easier you make it, the more likely they will jump on board!
If your affiliate programme could do with an upgrade or you need to recruit affiliates ahead of Black Friday then I can’t recommend Zoe Linda’s resources enough!
Start with her FREE guide to running an affiliate programme the right way.
If you’re in a rush to find affiliates before Black Friday then check out her Affiliate Outreach Bundle – it’s so good!
No digital products to sell yet? Read my guide to creating and selling digital products on a blog.
Action Point | Plan what special offers to offer and when and schedule your emails and social posts well in advance. If you have affiliates reach out early with details and provide them with swipe copy and promotional graphics
How to get the most from the holiday season
Create a gift guide
Gift guides can be a lucrative way to earn some seasonal affiliate income. As mentioned above, more people are shopping online so even if they don’t buy the product you recommend, you may earn commissions anyway with your locked cookie.
Most bloggers create gift guides and so it can be hard to rank on Google for these. So consider making your gift guide even more niche. to improve your chances of ranking AND standing out from the crowd!
Instead of ‘A crafters gift guide’ could you write an ‘eco-friendly gift guide for crafters ‘ or ‘ A gift guide for kids who craft?’
Need some inspiration? Check out my gift guide for bloggers!
Pinterest is your friend for gift guides. Create a LOT of fresh pins and make sure you are scheduling new pins throughout the seasonal period and before – it can take a while for pins to ‘mature.’
Make sure your pins are SEO optimised and if you’re not sure how, read my guide for Pinterest SEO for bloggers.
Action Point | Create a new gift guide and pin like crazy!
Create a gift guide which can be downloaded and emailed to relatives
With gift guides, you need to reach a new audience – the family and friends of your current audience! Why not make it easy for your followers to share your gift guide by creating a downloadable version which they can send via email to their relatives when they ask them what they wan’t for Christmas?!
Make sure you add affiliate links with a clear call to action button so that it’s obvious they are links.
Also, remember that Amazon and Etsy do not allow direct affiliate links from digital products as they can’t be tracked. If you must link to them, link via a blog post on your site.
So for example if you have written a gift guide for new vegans, you could list a vegan cookbook as a gift idea and the button links to your blog post about the best vegan cookbooks with links to buy on Amazon.
Action Point | Create a downloadable gift guide and encourage your email subscribers and social media followers to send it to their relatives.
Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas
Do something fun to celebrate the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
Instead of a partridge in a pear tree or two turtle doves, get creative and offer 12 freebies, 12 offers or recommend 12 affiliate products. You can run this over 12 days via email or your social channels.
The 12 freebies could be a great incentive for people to join your email list. It also encourages high open rates (everyone loves a freebie) which will improve your email deliverability going forward.
It will also help foster loyalty with your followers and subscribers. Next time you promote an affiliate product or sell your own digital product, they are more likely to buy as they trust and like you.
For product owners, you could offer 12 different discounts on your products. It’s a great way to increase sales and add urgency as each offer is only available for 24 hours. This gives readers the nudge they need to make a decision. (As a poor decision maker myself, I know I always appreciate these nudges otherwise I’d never take action!)
If you go down the affiliate route, you can do 12 emails or social posts with each describing the benefits of one of the products you love. If you go this route, I’d mix it up and have some as free and some as paid products.
If you start with a few free products, your open rates of the remaining emails will be higher as you have already given your subscribers some free ‘quick wins’ and they’ll come back for more.
Action point| schedule 12 emails or social posts with either recommended tools (with affiliate links,) your own special offers or freebies to encourage email sign-ups.
Optimise your website for ads in Q4
As I explained above, ads are worth more money during Q4 due to increased competition by brands to increase their visibility before Christmas.
To squeeze the most out of your ads and get the highest RPM’s, make sure your website is optimised for ads. This means making changes to your website and your highest-traffic blog articles to be able to display more ads.
I would recommend the following
- Increase your text size and line-height
- Increase your white space and shorten paragraphs – this also makes your article easier to read.
- Add more images
- Add more subtitles to break your text up
- Declutter your sidebar so that your sidebar ad is visible for longer.
- Increase your word count
- Increase your total ad number but leave ad density unchanged – this will just add more ads to your longer articles without it looking crowded.
- Add lots of links to your related content throughout your post with clear call to actions which will keep people on your site longer = more ad visibility = more money. Here’s an example below, notice how the text is slightly larger and it stands out because I’ve put it on a coloured background?
Read Next | So Mediavine requirements changed – what now?!
I also recommend adding a video so that you can utilise video ads as these are very lucrative.
I use Lumen 5 to create fast slideshow style videos. You can create topic-specific videos for your highest-traffic articles or you could create a generic video which works for all your article eg tips about the niche you talk about or a little introduction to you and your site.
It doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t need any complex video skills. A few images, headlines and a free tool like Lumen 5 and you’ll have a video in less than 30 minutes!
For more tips about how to increase your RPM’s and get the most from ads, check out this article about improving RPM’s by Mediavine.
Action Point | Spend some time making sure your articles and website are optimised for ads. Ask for feedback from your ads manager if needed.
Optimise your Seasonal Content
Before creating fresh content, check that your existing content is optimised to make you more money blogging Q4!
First, check that your seasonal blog posts are optimised for SEO.
- Are you targeting the right keywords? Look for the best balance between high search volume and low difficulty scores.
- Can you add more similar related keywords?
- Can you add related keywords to headings?
- Can you add FAQ sections?
- Are you ALT tag’s and photo descriptions up to date?
- Have you checked the page speed with a speed test like Pingdom tools?
- Is your metadata up to date?
- Do you need to add the current year to the title? (Only where this adds value eg for a gift guide or sales round up.)
- Have you interlinked between your relevant blog posts?
- Do you need to create more related content?
- Can you lengthen your article?
Does your SEO need some work? I have an ebook ‘SEO for Affiliate Marketing Success’ which teaches you how to use SEO to make money from your blog.
Next, try to get a few new backlinks to your articles. Look in Facebook groups for link swap or collab opportunities.
Optimise your articles for affiliate links
Check back through all your seasonal articles especially the ones which attracted a lot of traffic last year and see if you can add any affiliate links.
You could also add a content upgrade as a lead magnet and then promote related affiliate products via an email sequence. Easy content upgrades include checklists, cheat sheets, worksheets and printable PDFs.
If you are creating affiliate email funnels, always lead in gently and spend some time warming your new subscribers up. Let them get to know you and provide lots of value before promoting affiliate products.
Do your affiliate skills need some work? I have a FREE affiliate marketing course you can take!
Action Point | Add affiliate links where relevant to high performing articles. Consider creating affiliate email funnels.
Optimise seasonal content for Pinterest
Pinterest wants us to be creating more and more fresh pins now. They are favouring new pins over older ones and they don’t like you pinning the same pin to too many boards or too fast.
Fresh pins don’t have to be for new blog posts each time, you can create several pins per article and keep scheduling new pins to the same article over time.
Therefore, I would recommend looking at your seasonal content and deciding what will do well on Pinterest. For example, recipes, bucket lists, how-to guides and top-10 style listicles are all Pinterest gold. If you have articles like this, make sure you create LOTS of pins for them.
Action point | Find your most click-worthy seasonal content and create lots of fresh pins. Look for what is trending on Pinterest in your niche for ideas.
Create new seasonal content
Be aware that it can take several months for Google to pick up and understand your article and so you should publish articles as early as possible to have the best chance of ranking for seasonal content.
Have a look at your existing content and see what did well last year. Can you create other similar content or can you create related content to old posts so that you can give your other articles a little SEO boost too?
If you’ve left it a little too late then maybe focus on the type of articles which do well on Pinterest as you’ll likely rank on Pinterest before you start ranking on Google.
However, remember it’s never too late to write an article because even if it doesn’t rank in time for this year’s Q4, it should be ranking well by next year! (As I keep saying, blogging is a long game!)
You may also want to write affiliate focussed articles for Q4 since everyone is a little more free and easy with their credit cards. Think about reviews, comparisons, best-of listicles etc – the sort of articles people read when they are getting ready to buy a product.
You may also be able to arrange some paid brand sponsorships as brands will be keen to get lots of eyes on their products right now too.
So update your media kit and finally pitch those companies you’ve been wanting to work with for ages!
Action Point | Write some Pinterest friendly articles. Publish seasonal content as soon as possible to get it ranking
Get in the Festive Spirit
The holiday season is all about having fun and connecting with friends and family. Why not let this extend to your community and your followers.
It’s the perfect opportunity to think of something fun you can do to help increase engagement on your social profiles.
Maybe you could host a festive themed challenge, try creating some festive themed quizzes or have a giveaway?
You could giveaway your own digital product if you sell any or if not, then why not partner with another brand as part of that sponsorship we talked about earlier?
Websites like Rafflecopter of King Sumo will help you grow your email list or your social subscribers with giveaways.
Make sure you are giving away something highly relevant to your niche otherwise you’ll end up with the wrong subscribers on your list who won’t engage with your content. Yes, gifts like Ipads get a lot of entrants and social shares but if you blog about healthy eating, chances are these new followers aren’t your people.
Action point | Have fun! Host a giveaway, a challenge or create a fun festive themed quiz
Other important 2020 dates during Q4 for bloggers
31st October – Haloween – perfect for food, homemaking or family bloggers.
November 13th – World Kindness day – give a freebie or do something helpful for your followers.
November 15th – Thanks Giving – Since it’s all about being grateful, why not find a way to show your followers how much you appreciate them?
November 27th – Black Friday – promote your own products or your affiliate links
November 28th – Small Business Saturday
November 30th – Cyber Monday
14th-25th December – the 12 days of Christmas. (Traditionally it is the 12 days after Christmas but many businesses celebrate it for the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
December 25th – Christmas day
Jan 1st – New Year’s Day – January is a great time to host a sale of your own products or to launch a new product. People have a little more time on their hands. Blog traffic often soars in January, especially in niches like travel when people start to look past Christmas and towards their holidays.
Read next: The best planners for bloggers
Do you feel ready to take on Q4 now?
Q4 for bloggers is a busy time but done right, it can be really lucratiuve!
Don’t forget to download your Q4 action plan to help you get the most from this opportunity.
Don’t forget to pin this to your Pinterest boards so you can come back to it later!