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The Philanthropic Publicist
6 Strategies for Optimizing Seasonal Content
By Jon Henshaw, Raven Internet Marketing Tools
The key to any successful blog isn't just creating good content — it's creating both evergreen and seasonal content.
Long-lasting evergreen content can provide a steady amount of traffic for many years with few changes or updates.
Good seasonal content can provide significant boosts of traffic for a limited amount of time. Here are six proven strategies to get more visits to your seasonal content.
1. Plan in advance
One of the best ways to keep a steady stream of traffic to your seasonal content is to write about as many events throughout the year as possible. Holidays are the best place to start. Wikipedia has many lists, including holidays by country.
Since there are only so many holidays throughout the year, consider sports events like the Super Bowl and non-profit events like Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Also, don't forget the actual season. For example, if it's summer, consider talking about tips for surviving the heat. Keeping a calendar stocked with holidays and events throughout the year can help you stay organized and on track.
2. Publish at the right time
Most people don't know this, but if you have a well-established site — one that's trustworthy and authoritative — Google will often push your new content to the first page of the search results for a brief amount of time. It does this to promote fresh content to searchers and also to test the relevance and interest of your content for related search queries.
To capitalize on this, publish at the right time. For example, if you know when spring break will be for most schools, consider publishing an article several weeks before that focuses on the best places to stay for spring break. Follow it up just before spring break begins with an article on spring break packing tips.
If you time it right, the freshness of your content will net you good rankings and the quality and usefulness of your content will help you maintain those high rankings.
3. Use original images
Even if you can't get on the first page of Google's search results, you can still get significant traffic from Google Images search.
If you can, skip stock photos and try to take original pictures to complement your seasonal content. They have a much better chance of appearing at the top of Google Image search results than images that are already being used by other sites.
Attractive and original images are also well received (and highly shared) on social networks like Pinterest. The visibility and traffic you can receive by creating original images should quickly cover the cost of your camera equipment.
4. Leverage social networks
Speaking of Pinterest, sometimes seasonal content just needs some social sharing to bring it some attention. Seasonal content has the added bonus of being relevant to what people are talking about. Don't miss a chance to share your content on as many social networks as possible.
Unfortunately, if you don't have many friends or followers, sharing may not get you very far. In that case, you may want to consider using Facebook Sponsored Stories, StumbleUpon Paid Discovery and Zemanta to affordably bring attention to your content.
Using social media advertising like Facebook Sponsored Stories isn't just for sites that don't have a lot of followers. It's also a great way to increase visibility for your brand and gain new followers. And the best part about that is that as you grow your followers, they will share your content for you, free of charge.
5. Focus on common themes and problems
Most holiday and event content consists of planning, problem-solving and other related issues. Sometimes the issues are obvious, but it doesn't hurt to get a little help from Google.
Use Google's autocomplete feature as you search to get ideas. Autocomplete will display popular searches, giving you valuable information about what people are searching for. For example, if I type christmas diy it will suggest gifts, decorations and crafts.
An even better resource is Google Trends. Google Trends will display popular searches related to any term. For example, when I search for christmas, it lets me know that songs, lights, cards, gifts, movies and several other terms are quite popular. I can then take that information and come up with content ideas for my site that I know will appeal to a large audience.
6. Make interactive seasonal content
Interactive and customizable content, if done well, can be tremendously successful for seasonal content. JibJab's popular holiday ecards are a perfect example of that.
While most of us don't have the budget that JibJab does, we can still create interactive seasonal content that grabs people's attention. A perfect example is the Christmas Clock by Monochromedia.
Use your imagination and create a tool or something fun for visitors to interact with. If you have the budget, create a simple game that people enjoy and can easily share.
Jon Henshaw is the co-founder of Raven Tools, the all-in-one Internet marketing software for small businesses and agencies. Follow Jon @RavenJon
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