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How publishers can plan their holiday content calendar

Ease your holiday stress while boosting your revenue generating potential by planning your holiday content calendar in advance. See what you can do to take your commerce content earnings to the next level this holiday season.

Wasani Probasco, Product Marketing Manager
Wasani Probasco
Product Marketing Manager
Read time: 7 mins

As a publisher, the holidays bring cheer to your heart and revenue to your bank account. Done right, it can be the most lucrative time of year for publishers creating commerce content. It can also bring a lot of stress as deadlines loom and content production ramps up to catch the wave of holiday shopping. 

So, give yourself a gift this holiday season and pre-plan your holiday content. By planning your commerce content in advance, you can relieve the stress of the season while setting your publication up for success. 

What holidays should publishers plan for?

There are as many holidays as there are days of the year. Each one will have a different level of importance to your business, depending on the kind of content you produce. 

However, one time of year is important across the board: Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, marks the beginning of the year’s biggest shopping season. 

To give you a sense of what that means, Americans spent a total of $206 billion over the holidays last year. Of that, they spent nearly $9 billion online on Black Friday alone and almost $11 billion on Cyber Monday

Many Americans also looked to trusted sources online to help them make their Black Friday purchasing decisions. According to the impact.com 2022 Black Friday consumer research report, 81 percent of consumers plan to shop online for Black Friday, with an additional 41 percent looking to order online and pick up in-store. That’s a lot of opportunity for publishers to inspire online purchases in their audience. 

Though many people plan to visit brands directly to find deals, publishers have plenty of room to influence the buyer’s journey. When asked where they would search for deals during Black Friday, 77 percent of respondents indicated they would look to some form of publisher.

Loyalty programsDeal sitesFavorite publicationsInfluencersFavorite bloggers
29 percent22 percent10 percent9 percent7 percent

With millions of people trying to find the best gifts for their loved ones, there’s no shortage of eyeballs for commerce content. Ramping up to meet audience demand during this time of year means more visibility and revenue.

Start the holiday season early

It’s a good rule of thumb to plan out your holiday content calendar a few months before Black Friday. The longer the content appears online, the more time it has to build SEO equity and become more discoverable. 

Your audience will also benefit from the extra time to conduct the appropriate research about their purchases. The impact.com Black Consumer Research Report shows that 57 percent of respondents create a shopping plan ahead of time. Additionally, 42 percent of respondents plan to make purchases as soon as deals become available.

What does this mean for publishers? 

The more you can plan ahead, the more effective your content will be at driving sales.

Don’t worry. If you’re running behind, there’s no time like the present. You’ll want to increase your posting frequency between the weeks leading up to Black Friday all the way to the New Year. More content translates into more chances for conversion.

Deck the halls with data

When designing your holiday content strategy, start by looking at what worked in the past. Use affiliate management software to dive into performance data and make informed decisions about where to put your energy this year. An SEO audit of your site will identify top-performing articles and holiday-specific keywords with high volume. 

Evergreen content might require some maintenance. You may need to revisit articles and products so they’re up-to-date and have functional links. Software solutions like Tracknomics by impact.com—part of the impact.com for Publishers suite—automatically catch broken or out-of-stock links, ensuring you never lose a sale to link rot.  

Get the gift of revenue with the right types of content

It takes a careful balance to maintain audience trust and editorial integrity while getting the most revenue out of your commerce content. Lucky for you, the holidays are when your audience needs this content the most. And isn’t enriching your audience’s life through timely and useful content the goal?

Let’s take a look at a few common categories of revenue-generating content that you’ll want to build your holiday content calendar around.

How-tos

Sadly, we’re not all born with the skills to host the best Halloween party or photograph the best action shots on Christmas morning. That’s where your expertise comes in. Some publishers overlook the revenue-generating potential of this kind of content, but it provides the perfect opportunity to connect your audience with products from brands that can help make the holiday memorable.

For example, an article from Apartment Therapy on how to hang holiday lights slips in affiliate links for various light-hanging supplies throughout the piece. At the beginning of the article, they include a general supply list, then follow by peppering tools throughout each step where applicable. This gives their readers a comprehensive answer to their question, connects them with the right tools, and taps into the holiday spirit—all while providing opportunities to earn a commission. 

Reviews

How many times have you needed to make a choice between several seemingly identical appliances? As your audience makes their holiday purchasing decisions, they need to know they aren’t wasting their money. Product reviews can help consumers find the item that best suits their needs, whether that’s highest quality, lowest price, or something in between. 

Good Housekeeping’s review of the best self-cleaning litter boxes gives readers a well-rounded look at multiple types of products in this category while incorporating affiliate links from several brands. 

Gift guides

What do you get for the person who has it all? Gift guides are the meat-and-potatoes of holiday content. Your readers will always need them, and they’re easy to work referral links into. It’s a match made in commerce content heaven.

Food & Wine’s gift guide for cocktail enthusiasts provides helpful ideas to readers while also plugging 22 different products the publisher could potentially earn a commission from at a variety of price points.

Sales roundups

Once your readers have their gift-buying list worked out, they’ll be hunting for a deal. To build a reputation for having your finger on the pulse of consumerism, reach out to your PR contacts and retail partners. You may even be able to score an exclusive promotion for your audience. 

For example, Hunker published a roundup of home decor sales directing readers to the biggest deals at the beginning of 2022. This gave the publication ample opportunity to provide value to readers while potentially collecting commissions from their partners. 

Consult the data when planning your content

While all of these content types hold revenue-generating potential, some content will convert better than others. Dig into your data to reveal which content resonates most with your audience. 

Ultimate guide to commerce content maturity

Find out how you can nurture your commerce content programs to maturity and see more green.

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Revisit your mobile content strategy

The impact.com Black Friday consumer research report found that 50 percent of respondents planned to shop from their smartphone in 2022. Though every publication’s audience prefers different devices, it’s important to take note of overarching trends and adapt accordingly. 

To create a seamless mobile experience for your audience, ensure that you:

  • Implement a responsive web design
  • Get rid of as many pop ups as possible
  • Minimize loading times with smaller images and similar measures
  • Have a web navigation system that’s easily accessible 
  • Don’t have autoplay implemented for videos and other multimedia
  • Format your content so it’s easily consumable (short paragraphs, proper spacing, etc.)

Make the most of holiday content

With so much to do and so much riding on the outcome, publishers need to create efficiencies where they can to earn the most revenue possible. 

Software like Trackonomics by impact.com provides several features that streamline your partnerships program:

  • Generate links: Simplify your link generation and tracking by doing it all under one roof. 
  • Track conversions: Get a complete view of your audience’s path to conversion with impact.com’s holistic tracking capabilities. This information will empower you to improve your strategy as you prepare to make next year even better.
  • Check articles for broken links: Broken affiliate links can be a massive drain on a publisher’s commerce content revenue. Scan your website for broken and out-of-stock links to ensure you get every conversion possible.
  • Identify your partners’ best offers: Find all the deals a brand has to offer or ask for custom offers for your audience. 
  • Create and develop new relationships: Find new brand partners and collaborate in a streamlined, efficient way. 

You have a lot to do to prep for Black Friday and beyond, but impact.com can take some of the chaos out of the holiday content rush. Access cutting-edge tools to jumpstart, grow, and scale your commerce content program with Trackonomics by impact.com, part of the impact.com for Publishers suite.

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