Real people look for inspiration, recipes, crafts, décor, and other ideas for big holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. But, people also search for similar content for days like Valentine’s Day, St. Patricks Day, Ramadan, and more. It may seem logical to publish your content just before the holiday so that your blog looks fresh and current. BUT- this won’t get you the traffic you want.
SEO can take several months to start drawing people to your site, and people start preparing for the holidays EARLY. So, as a blogger, you need to start preparing and publishing your content early.
Planning ahead for your holiday content
A good rule of thumb is when you see the candy and decorations going out for a holiday, that’s a good time to start promoting your holiday content on Pinterest, and you want it published so that SEO can pick up closer to the actual holiday. That probably means you want your content ready about 12 weeks ahead of time for major holidays.
Remember that this is true for both new content and existing. You want to start re-promoting your content, especially on Pinterest, 2-3 months ahead of time.
What type of content should I create?
- Create holiday specific recipes or rework your recipes to be more holiday-friendly
- Post about hosting parties or get-togethers
- These sorts of party posts with a holiday theme are appealing to people who have aspirations of a nice party but may not be able to create the ideas- they’d like to have the inspiration and then copy it
- For example: “15 unexpected gifts for your favorite vegan,” “10 kitchen gadgets for any foodie,” or “12 metallic kitchen gadgets
- This is a great time to use affiliate links and these build SEO juice over time too
Round up posts:
- For example: 12 turkey recipes, 15 vegan holiday dishes, 12 Easter crafts
- This can be your content or you can do a round-up of other people’s content (get permission to use photos)
- Depending on your niche and if you have more lifestyle or family content on your blog, you could create activity or DIY posts, or do some of the round-up posts if you don’t create your own content around these ideas
Remember that you can schedule your content ahead of time with social media schedulers, and it’s okay to take time off at the holidays. Even if you miss that early window to get your content up, remember that it still helps you for the long-term, so publish it and then make a plan to promote it again next year.
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Schedule your social posts with Buffer or Tailwind
Don’t forget to check out our themes to get your blog holiday ready
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Transcription of This Episode
Welcome to Feast Food Blog Talk, where we share how to take your food blogging to the next level and inspire you to do more with your blog and business.
On this episode of Feast Food Blog Talk, we are talking about something very important for food bloggers: preparing for the holidays. Why is this so important? Because people need recipes. Normal people are not like you. They need inspiration. They need help. They need ideas, and so normal people are coming to sites like yours to get inspiration, and you want your site to be the one that they visit. But publishing content right before the holidays isn’t the best way to get your blog seen, so today we are going to talk about the timing for when you want to be publishing your holiday content. We are going to talk about the types of posts that you will likely want to have related to holiday content, and some general things that you want to think about when preparing for the holidays as a food blogger. So join me, Sarah, your host, for Feast Food Blog Talk.
As a blogger, you probably create content for the holidays, but if you don’t, you might want to start, and if you’re feeling like, “Well, I don’t know if I want to create content for the holidays,” you might want to after you hear all of this, because holiday content can bring a lot of traffic to your blog, because real people look for inspiration, recipes, crafts, décor and other ideas for big holidays like Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, but also days like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Ramadan, and more. So you want to have content that people can ultimately find. Now, it might seem logical to publish your content just before the holiday so that your blog looks fresh and current and you’ve got that content up so that right before the holidays, there it is. But this won’t get you the traffic that you want. You actually need to have content up way in advance, because SEO can take several months to start drawing people to your site, and people start preparing for the holidays early, like really, really early.
A good rule of thumb is that when you go to the store, like your local CVS or grocery store or Target, and you see the candy and the decorations going out for a holiday, and you think “Oh my gosh, why is that here? It is so early. We haven’t even had probably two other holidays and they’ve still got the next holiday’s stuff out?” That’s a good time to start promoting your holiday content on Pinterest, and you want to have it published by that time so that SEO, the search engines, can pick it up and have it be sort of ready for people as it gets closer to the actual holiday.
So what that means is that you probably want your holiday content ready about 12 weeks ahead of time for major holidays. It might not need to be that early all the time, but people do start looking for Thanksgiving ideas, Christmas ideas, in late summer and early fall.
So remember that this idea holds true both with the new content that you’re creating, so this means that you’re going to want to have new holiday content up, published on your blog, roughly 12 weeks ahead of time, but it also means that your existing content, you’re going to want to remember it and you’re going to want to be promoting it, especially on Pinterest, two to three months ahead of time. Now, we’re gonna talk about Pinterest a lot today, because Pinterest is a visual search engine, so people are using it a lot related to holidays. Again, it’s not just the recipes, but it’s gift ideas. It’s party ideas. It’s décor. So people are going to be using Pinterest a lot. That’s where you’re probably going to see that early traffic coming from if you pay attention to your Google analytics.
You might be thinking, “Okay fine, I need to have this holiday content up really early, but what if I don’t want my Thanksgiving posts on my site in August? What if I don’t want someone to come visit me in the summer and there’s turkey recipes and Christmas ideas?” That’s totally fine. Your theme probably allows you to backdate your posts, so if you use WordPress, this is pretty easy to do, or you can use some sort of plug-in so that these posts don’t show on your homepage, and then when you get closer to the actual holiday, then you can publish that content a little differently. So if you’ve backdated it, and you don’t have dates in your URL, you can republish it with the current date to bring it back up to the front of your blog or if you’ve used some sort of plug-in that says “Don’t publish on the homepage of my site,” you can uncheck that and then your blog post will show back up.
You also, as I mentioned, want to think about getting the previous content that you have already created back into the rotation early for Pinterest, and if you want to update your content, the search engines typically like that too, so going back in, maybe adding something new, adding in a little bit more content, republishing it with a current date. Again, if you have URLs that have the publish date in it, you can’t update that date, but thinking both for new content and existing content, you want to be promoting it early.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re flooding people’s Facebook or Instagrams with Christmas when they’re going back to school, but again, it means that you want that information available for Google and the other search engines, and you want Pinterest to start paying attention, because people are already searching for holiday inspiration, so because the real people, the people who could end up on your site, because they are already searching, you need to have that content out there and available for them.
So you might be thinking, “Well, what kinds of holiday content should I be creating?” There’s a few different types of content that you might want to have on your blog. First and foremost is holiday recipes. You have a food blog. You create recipes, so holiday-specific ones are really great, or you can rework your recipes to be more holiday-friendly. So for example, if you have a great sugar cookie recipe, you can maybe add into that post or do a related post where you add in simple food coloring, and adjust the shapes so that it’s specific to a holiday, so maybe you’re decorating them differently so that they look like Easter eggs or you turn them into shamrock cookies, and then you can ultimately style your photos so that they’re holiday friendly. You don’t have to be thinking brand new. You can think about what existing content do I have that I might be able to adjust and adapt that I’ve already done?
And because you probably already do a lot of food content, you can do what we’ll get into next, is more roundup-type posts, where you sort of repackage those recipes that already exist. So if you do a lot of appetizers, maybe you create a post that is five Thanksgiving appetizers, and then you give a little blurb about each of those, and then you relink to the blogs that are already on your site, and even if holidays aren’t your thing, you don’t tend to write about holidays in general on your site, still give some holiday-specific content a try. Try to do it early, and then see if it becomes popular. You don’t know what will resonate with your followers, with the search engines, with Pinterest until you give it a try.
So a recipe is the first holiday content that you would probably want to create. Second, you might want to create content about hosting parties or get-togethers, so maybe you’re pulling together some of the recipes or you’re styling things, how to create a really beautiful table for certain holidays. So what this means is that you might be creating and staging your holiday meal or your table or other holiday settings well in advance, which can feel a bit overwhelming, but think of it as a way to practice and prepare for your holiday gatherings or the tablescape that you will ultimately create. You might want to make sure that your holiday décor and things like that are handy or when you start seeing those items show up in the stores, maybe be on the lookout for items that you want to buy to stage things. Another tip is that at the end of holidays, when hopefully your content has already done really well, especially places like Target or CVS or Dollar Tree, go back when things are on sale and purchase some of that holiday décor so that the next year, you have it to help style your tables, your photos, things like that.
Going back to these ideas about hosting parties or get-togethers, these sorts of party posts with a holiday theme are really appealing to people who have these aspirations of nice parties, but may not have that creativity to envision what it is. They like to have the inspiration and then recreate it themselves, so those posts are really appealing for people.
The next category of holiday posts that I encourage you to try are gift guides. This is a great time to use affiliate links, and a good way to make money as a blogger. If you are not using affiliate links yet, specifically Amazon affiliates, gift guides is a great way to dip your toes into this affiliate marketing, and again, you want to have these done early so that you build that SEO juice over time. The great things about these gift guides is that they can be holiday-specific, but they don’t exactly have to be. So for example, you could create a gift guide that is “10 kitchen gadgets any foodie will love.”
Now, that would be great for Christmas. Someone might be at some point looking for birthday gifts for someone, so you don’t have to label it specific to the holiday, but gift guides like non-candy stocking stuffers or non-candy Easter basket fillers are also very popular on Pinterest. So think about what people would expect on your site. If you write about vegan food, you could write a gift guide that’s “15 unexpected gifts for your favorite vegan,” or again, thinking more generally, “12 metallic kitchen gadgets.” Think of your readers, your brand, and what sort of gift guides might people expect to find on your site, and again, similar to your recipes posts, you don’t have to have these published on the front page of your blog if you feel like it’s too early to have them there.
When you’re creating these posts, think about making these listicles, so these are basically list-based posts, where you talk about the different items that are on this “12 metallic kitchen gadgets” list, and why you love them. You would likely want to have images. Stock images are fine, but you want to make sure that your affiliate, for example, Amazon, is okay with you using those images. Typically, Amazon is fine with it. If it’s a certain seller, they’re not always as friendly about those images, so just double check wherever you’re pulling your images from, that it’s acceptable for you to use them that way. But if you have these items and can style them, that is even better.
Now remember, if you are doing these gift guides, you don’t have to use affiliate links. You could just create a post with things you love and people can track them down, or you just have the basic Amazon link and it’s not an affiliate link, meaning you just pulled it from Amazon. You don’t get paid if someone goes there. But if you do use affiliate links, anytime, you do need to disclose that and Amazon is great for affiliates, because they basically have everything.
When you do these posts, you want to create a graphic that is specific for Pinterest for your gift guide, again making sure that the affiliate program allows you to use images in this way. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about or you need some inspiration, go to Pinterest and take a look at the type of images that people create for these. Don’t copy them, but get some inspiration. Canva and PicMonkey are really great tools for this, and keep in mind, you can get really niche with these gift guides, like unicorn kitchen accessories. Seriously, search that on Amazon. I’m not even into unicorns, and I found things that I was like, “I want that.” So you can think broad, kitchen gadgets, but also think really, really narrow, and remember that these gift guides will get more traffic over time both through the search engines but through Pinterest, so make sure that you’ve got those really strong images for Pinterest.
We’ve already touched on this. The next category of holiday content that you can create, this is a roundup post. If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve seen these. This is “12 turkey recipes” or “Eight ways to use turkey leftovers,” “15 vegan holiday dishes,” “12 Easter crafts.” So you might be thinking, “Well, I don’t have 12 turkey recipes.” So here’s the thing. Roundup posts do not have to be your content. They can be a roundup of other people’s content. If you are simply linking out to someone else’s blog, you don’t need to get permission for that, but if you are wanting to use an image, you do need permission. You cannot just grab an image from Pinterest, you cannot just grab an image from someone’s blog. That is a copyright infringement. Yes, people do it. Some do get in trouble for it, so just don’t do it.
A better way to do it is to reach out to the bloggers that you would like to highlight and ask if you can use the image. Chances are they will let you, because you’re ideally driving traffic to them, but you can also check in if you’re in blogging groups. Ask to see if people have posts that you could possibly include. They’re going to give you the permission, and this helps to build the relationships that you have with other bloggers, so roundup posts can be really great. Someone might not need 12 turkey recipes, so that might not be the best option, but if you can find a way to, again, eight ways to use turkey leftovers, people are probably looking for that, so think about what people would actually want to see, or again, 12 vegetarian New Year’s Eve appetizers, something like that.
Okay, the next category of posts you might want to do, this will depend on your niche, and if you have a more lifestyle or family type of content on your blog, but you might want to do holiday craft or holiday décor DIY type of posts where you create an activity or some sort of holiday wreath, things like that, or again, you could do a roundup post if you don’t create your own content around these ideas, but you feel like your audience would ultimately like these.
So that’s another way to create some holiday content, and again, I’m mentioning a lot about Thanksgiving, Christmas, but really, you can do this around any holiday. The Fourth of July, President’s Day, if you’ve got a more religious based blog, that might inform the different holidays that you touch on. Don’t think that it’s just these major holidays. That’s just what I’m referencing.
Those are the types of posts for your blog that you would want to create, but also think about your social content. What are you putting out there on your social media platforms? Now, you’re probably not promoting there as early. I’ve mentioned Pinterest a lot. Pinterest is not a social medial platform. It is a visual search engine, so you do want to wait until you get closer to the holidays to promote your blog content on your social media platforms, but you can also add in some other content. So maybe on your Insta or your Facegram, you’re giving an inside look at your holiday meal prep. Take lots of photos when several months ahead of time you are creating this holiday content, and then save that to add to your Instagram story or your Facebook feed so that your followers get an inside look, or you can share about the things that you’re doing and buying to get ready for the holidays. Again, if you’re using affiliate links in your social media, you do need to disclose there as well.
So there’s lots of different types of content that you could ultimately create for the holidays. An editorial calendar becomes really important for this so that you know what’s coming up, but you also probably want to be making sure that you are creating this content much earlier. If you do like to have fresh content on your blog, then you might need to be working double time, because you might want to have in late August, early September, posts that talk about some really good fall recipes or whatever’s current for you, but then you’re also creating the holiday content for those major end-of-year holidays that you’re sort of hiding within your blog. Again, you might have to be working extra to get that holiday content ready even though it’s not really being seen by your followers just yet.
A few other things to consider when you’re preparing for the holidays as a blogger, again, I’m thinking more of these major holidays where people tend to take breaks. You might want to relax over the Christmas holiday or the end of year, and especially if you have kids and they’re going to be home from school, you probably already know that it’s hard to work when they’re around. This is another reason why creating content well ahead of time is important, but pre-schedule it. Don’t just create it ahead of time. Again, if you think social media content, use a social media scheduler like Buffer or Tailwind for Pinterest to make sure that your social media content is already queued up and ready so that maybe in December, you don’t want to be doing much of anything. You want to take a break, so you can pre-schedule your blog content to go live. You can set up a social media scheduler to push your social content out there, so that you can take a bit of a break.
Even if you don’t plan ahead, and you don’t have posts already set up, and you don’t have your social media content ready to go, you can always take a break, whether it’s at a holiday or another time. Allow yourself to take a break, because it will all be there once you get back. Again, you’ve probably laid the groundwork not only in your holiday content, but the other content that you create, so that Pinterest is working for you, Google is working for you, so people are still coming to your blog.
Again, a few more things to consider just for preparing for the holidays as a food blogger. Remember that creativity doesn’t always strike when you’re forcing it to, or you’re telling yourself “Okay, I need to be creating holiday content. I need to create New Year’s recipes or what a New Year’s Eve party might look like.” So have a place where you keep track of holiday related content ideas. This could just be a Google doc, a note in your phone, if you like to write things down, have a page in a notebook, and start writing these ideas down when they come to you. That way, when it does come time to start working on your content, you can revisit those and you don’t feel forced to come up with holiday content right then and there.
Another point is that regardless of the timing of when you are creating this content, remember about those strong, clean photos. That’s really important for people who are searching to find content. Remember, a lot of people are searching using Pinterest, a visual search engine. If your food looks appealing, if your images are striking in a positive way, if you’ve got these really gorgeous table settings, people are more likely to click through and go to your blog, okay?
You also want to be doing some keyword research to help you know what people are going to be searching for. You can do this on Pinterest, so when you go to Pinterest, use that search bar for maybe Fourth of July crafts, or Fourth of July drink recipes, and then underneath, other trending words will come up so you can see what other terms people are searching for with your main term. You can, of course, use something like Sab Stat or SEMrush and do some more keyword specific research, but knowing that a lot of people will use Pinterest, that can be a great way to do some keyword research for what people will ultimately be looking for on Pinterest, and then that can inform what you focus on in your post. Remember, you never want to stuff those keywords in, but that can be a good way to help you know what to focus on.
So just a few general ideas to keep in mind when preparing for the holidays as a food blogger, and remember that the holidays, all of them, are great for food bloggers because people want recipes, right? We want to have a cute themed appetizer. We want to have a really great, fun and pretty and holiday-themed dessert, but you do need to plan well ahead so that yours is the content that they find. And lastly, don’t panic. If you miss that really early window, don’t give up, don’t skip the content. Publish it and then you’re ready for the next time that the holiday rolls around.
Now you can prepare for any holiday, big or small. You know when you need to start thinking about it. You have some ideas for types of content that you’ll want to create, and remember, it’s okay if you miss it. There is always next year, and if you have an idea, create it now, backdate it, and use it later. Again, don’t stress yourself out, but use this as a guide so that you really can prepare ahead and make the most of those holidays, because they are a great time for bloggers, both with page views and potentially your affiliate income. So if you feel like you’re wanting to get ready for those holidays and you need to give your theme a new update, check out our themes. We’ve got some great ones, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter so you can get lots of great content and ideas delivered straight to you.