Throughout the year, we’re faced with a number of holidays, regardless of where you’re at, when the question comes up, should I publish a new blog post? Here in the U.S., that’s a particularly pointed question during Thanksgiving and in the days that follow. Most businesses are closed on Thursday and most people are spending time with family. And then on Friday and Saturday, we’re into full-blown shopping season. Does anybody really have time to publish, let alone read, blog posts during holidays?
Note that this post was originally published on Thanksgiving Day, 2013!
If your blog is there to support your business initiatives, than the answer is likely No. Particularly if your blogging schedule is 2 – 3 times a week or less, you’re likely closed on major holidays, and publishing a blog post might present unique logistical issues. And it may also be likely that your target audience is otherwise occupied on these holidays. You can tell just by glancing at your website traffic from the previous year. If traffic plummeted for your site on the holiday in question (as it does for most non-retail business websites), adding new content will likely go unnoticed.
If you’re a blogger, on the other hand, someone where their income or at least a portion of their income is derived from their blog content and traffic, the question isn’t quite so simple. An element of, “can I afford not to publish” comes into play.
To make this decision, start with the same questions as the business owner. How often am I blogging now? (In other words, would not publishing on the holiday in question be noticed?) Are my readers likely to be offline that day? What was traffic to my blog like the previous year? And of course the critical question, could I publish a blog post even if I wanted to? Do I have time?
The answers to those questions may determine whether or not you publish a new post. But let’s suppose that you do have time and are willing to publish a post if you think it would be warranted, what then? Would it be a good idea?
Blog Post Topic & Relevancy
Whether or not you publish a blog post on a holiday might boil down to what you can write that post about. Can you make it interesting and relevant to your audience that day? For me, I’m writing about blogging on holidays and I’m publishing it on Thanksgiving, 2013. That makes it highly relevant to both my audience and the context in which it might be seen.
You see, I know from past experience that holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be some of the poorest traffic days of the year for me. But, I also know that in the past, I have chosen not to publish a new post, so I haven’t done myself any favors.
I also know that my audience extends beyond the United States, particularly into Canada, United Kingdom and India, which means that those readers are going about their normal days and might appreciate new content from me.
It’s also important to remember that while the initial surge from new content is important, the long-term value of content cannot be ignored. Great blog posts will surface in search engine results and can be great social shares for months and months after the original social media post.
And while many of my readers may be offline spending time with family and friends, there may also be a significant number of readers who, since they’re off work for the day, find themselves with more time than usual to read and browse blog posts and social media. A holiday might just be a golden opportunity to connect with some people who usually don’t have the time to check out what I’m doing and writing about.
But perhaps most interesting is the fact that many bloggers won’t take the time to consider these points at all. They’ll assume that everyone’s too busy to read a blog post, and that they themselves will be too busy to publish a blog post, and so they’ll have nothing new to share. You know what that means for me and you? Less Competition.
Every day, even though I love my fellow bloggers and social media writers, we’re all competing for air. We’re all writing and posting and sharing and trying to get our own work noticed and appreciated by many of the same readers and businesses. On most holidays, it’s probably safe to assume that at least half of the blogs out there are not updated, and probably even more on major holidays like the ones I mentioned. When there are fewer people speaking around you, it’s far easier to be heard.
With those thoughts in mind, you might want to really consider publishing a new blog post on the next holiday and see what happens.
Preparing for Holiday Blogging
If you decide that you’re going to publish a blog post on a holiday, there are several things I would recommend doing to ensure a successful publication.
Not the least of which is writing your post in advance. I finished writing this exact article on the day before Thanksgiving, so I would not have to spend any time Thanksgiving morning scrambling to write it. While many of my articles are written and published on the same day, this was not one I wanted to do that way.
I began thinking about this post well advance. I created an Evernote note for it like I do nearly every blog post, and began jotting down some ideas and text. While on a road trip over the weekend before Thanksgiving, I gave a lot of thought to this post and had most of the major points set in my mind.
In addition to planning and writing ahead of time, the other point I’m trying to make here is that I put time and energy into making this article a good one. I really wanted to find a topic that was interesting and present some really valuable information and insight so that my readers and social media followers would appreciate it. While you may strive for that on every post, I think an article that you’ve decided to publish on a holiday, where traction may be difficult, needs to be even better than usual.
Come, woo me, woo me, for now I am in a holiday humor, and like enough to consent. – William Shakespeare
Similarly, the image that you choose to use for this blog post needs to be fabulous. It needs to have a great connection to the post, be large enough to make for great Google+ posts and Pinterest pins, and have interesting text on it to help draw in readers. So spend some time sourcing and creating a fantastic image so that you can really bring attention to your post when you publish and share it.
I mentioned topics earlier. If possible, think of a way to incorporate the holiday in question into your blog post. If it’s Thanksgiving, perhaps you might write about how Thanksgiving impacts your business and industry, or share some tips that similar businesses or clients would appreciate right then. You might also hit some of the larger themes that accompany holidays like family, shopping, spending time together, celebrations, history, national pride and so on. If possible, think long-term with your writing. If you can create an article that is particularly valuable to your readers and will apply to the same holiday next year and the year after that, you’ll ensure spikes in traffic for that post for years to come.
Once you’ve written your article, make sure that you’ve allowed yourself plenty of time the morning of the holiday to put the article on your website, get it formatted, include one or more great images, publish it, and promote it to all your social networks. I know that I need anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes to handle those tasks, depending on the article. Most of that time was spent crafting my Google+ share which was my most critical share (it’s Facebook now), and that’s not something I can afford to skimp on or be rushed. If you have to be somewhere and have to speed through some of these critical post-publishing elements, you’re selling yourself short and your blogging efforts won’t yield as good results as they might have.
For instance, my #4 traffic referral source is Pinterest. But if I’m rushed and forget to pin the post to Pinterest, I’ll lose out on all that traffic.
In addition to your normal social media sharing, you may want to consider one or more of the following ways you can give your post and social media activity a boost:
- Run an Empire Avenue mission asking to share your Tweet or Google+ post.
- Use Tailwind to pin to more Pinterest Boards & Tribes.
- Use Viral Content Bee to get more Twitter shares.
- Spend $20 on Facebook to boost the post.
- Spend $5 on Triberr to make the post sticky and get more Twitter tweets.
- Send out a Holiday Greeting email blast and include a link to your blog post.
Finally, you may or may not be in the habit of doing a time zone reshare (resharing a post in the afternoon or evening to get it in front of people who may have missed it the first time around), but I would make a note to reshare this post the following morning. You can create a new social media share, or just reshare your original post with a brief note saying, “In case you missed it…”
If you write a compelling blog post, and make sure that you give yourself ample time to promote it, there’s no reason why publishing on a major holiday can’t be just as successful for your blog and social media activity.