Every year it seems like Q4 approaches and we are often scrambling to come up with a plan. So this year, I wanted to share a few ways that you can start preparing now for Q4. These tips will be helpful no matter which quarter you’re listening in, because Q4 is something to be preparing for all year long.
Can’t listen to the episode? Read on for the transcript!
Let’s talk about Q4
Whenever I talk about Q4 to people who are not in the food blogging world, they don’t understand why it’s a big deal in this space. So I wanted to start here in case you’re new to food blogging or if you’ve wondered why it’s a hot topic in the industry.
First, Q4 is short for quarter four which is the fourth tax quarter of the year, October, November, and December.
The biggest reason that Q4 is such a big deal for bloggers is that people are using blogs, specifically food blogs, way more than normal. During the original Covid-19 quarantine, lots of bloggers experienced this type of traffic surge. If you haven’t listened to episode 5 of the podcast, go back and take a listen to that one but I will also cover a lot of those ideas in today’s episode.
Higher Ad Spend
Advertisers pay more for impressions as demand increases, so Q4 has the highest CPMs, fill rate and therefore RPMS (or money in the pockets of publishers).
This is also the time when people are planning to spend money, so advertisers capitalize on this by filling ad spots more and they’re also paying higher amounts to fill those ads (hence more money in the pockets of bloggers). I’ll link to a few articles from Mediavine in the show notes that talk more about this and if you haven’t listened to my episode from a few weeks ago All About Ads, definitely check that out too!
More sponsored content opportunities
It’s not just display ads with higher budgets, but companies who do sponsored content also usually have more campaigns and opportunities during Q4.
How to prepare for Q4
Let’s talk about this by breaking this down into a few different sections.
- Content planning and strategy
- Website audit
There are two sides to this. Your existing content and your new content.
Look back at past year’s seasonal traffic to start looking for trends. For example, if you were doing this for Q4, you would be looking back at 2018 Q4 for traffic to see which were your top performing posts.
Include any content that you published last year that was seasonal that didn’t have a chance to take off yet because you want to make sure that you’re going through that and optimizing that content as well.
In your spreadsheet, you want to create a column to track different things that might need to be updated within the post. For example:
- Track whether you need to reshoot photos
- If the blog post content needs to be updated
- If you need to add links to other relevant high quality content
- Where this traffic is coming from (Google, Pinterest, etc)
I want you to figure out how you can set aside time to update this past content and make sure that it’s ready.
Check out podcast episode: https://www.graceandvinestudios.com/how-to-strategically-plan-your-content/
I’m going to link to the Mediavine RPM Challenge because it’s a really helpful resource for going through this content.
Looking at new content
Can you create any supporting content for posts that have already done well?
For example, if you have a pumpkin pie recipe that does really well, could you create a blog post on how to make homemade whipped cream that you could link to in that pumpkin pie recipe blog post?
Maybe it’s not an entire post that you need to create, maybe it’s a free download or a section within a blog post.
Looking at the content that has done well in the past will help you create content that can also do well. Be sure to do SEO research on this as well!
If you’ve ever gone on your website and discovered that something was broken, you might have wondered, how in the world did I not know this and how long has it been broken for without me noticing?
This is really important to deal with before Q4 because you want to provide the best user experience for your readers.
I’m going to link in the show notes to a download that walks you through the most common mistakes I see on blogs to make sure that your website is in its best shape before Q4. This goes over things like your website navigation, social media links, plugins, content, broken links and more!
What are your plans for monetizing in Q4?
Are you going to work with brands or affiliate partners?
Start writing these things down now and start reaching out ASAP. A lot of brands fill their sponsorship spots early on in the year, but especially for smaller companies, you may be able to secure some last minute Q4 sponsorships. It’s also not too early to start looking at Q1 of next year.
Another way you can look at monetizing is by creating a digital product. This can be a way to create passive income through the increase in traffic you’ll see.
If you’re wanting to hire someone to help you do that, start working on that as soon as possible.
How to capitalize on your traffic
Make sure your user experience is top notch by doing the website audit to ensure things are working. Make sure to download the website audit checklist here!
Interlink relevant content to help users find related content.
Make sure you have a way for people to sign up for your email list. Preferably this should be in multiple places on your site. A pop up is a great way to capitalize on this in Q4. Use a strategic freebie to make it more enticing to sign up!
Figure out what you are going to do with these new subscribers or new traffic. Too many times I see people have an increase in traffic and they don’t prepare for it by having a way to capture that traffic.