Depending on what you blog about, the 4th quarter of the year can either be a busy period of activity or one where the numbers will take a seasonal dip. My numbers in 2013 tailed off towards Christmas in epic style and between the two weeks running up to the event I had roughly 10 people stop by.
Following on from a similar angle that I broached recently, in my last article about the Saturday Slump, I will be looking at whether it is worth me wasting time in an area of low returns this December or dedicating my efforts to some other website consolidation activities.
So I ask myself the question:
Should I now be thinking about December?
- For engaging for December
I like to keep the effort up, I like to be consistent, I like my ranks to stay high and happy.
- Against engaging for December
I have a lot of things that will provide value in January, I normally change my theme around this time, I need to adjust a good few things that I won’t have time for if I tie myself into lots of posts.
Downtime during 2014
There has been plenty of events this year where I have not been able to put 100% into the output of my blog. My study time and general living have cut into blog time repeatedly this year and I’ve lost traction to these events. You could argue that if I’d been able to operate a better schedule I could have done better but the truth is, I can’t work to rigid schedules.
Struggle with the schedule
I tried putting together a schedule for September because I will be into heavy revision during this period. The ultimate decision was to abandon the schedule. I simply don’t have the time to pre-write content at the moment. Of the 30 days of September, I only created 1 post. This is a post that I will still release in September despite it gathering some dust. I like to remain somewhat fluid to what’s occurring in the blogging world. Normally I might be spurred on by something interesting I’ve read on my blogging travels.
Many people advocate the use of schedules, the organised people of this world. Coming from a planning background I should conform to this but find it difficult.
Why is it difficult?
Blogging and the coupling of Social Media, impacts on the environmental factor of “trending”, which plays deeply into the unpredictable nature of writing to an audience.
In simpler terms, we tend to write what is popular and avoid what is unpopular. However some subjects that are unpopular can soon become highly popular and relevant. We then play a game of chasing curves.
Let’s take The Sims 4, a computer game coming out on the 2nd September 2014 for the PC in the USA (and a bit later for the ROTW) as an example. It’s attracting a lot of buzz right now and EA/MAXIS have lifted the reporting ban on the product (so more interesting stuff is starting to drift through).
Because there is a lot more information out in the public, the older articles that were based on supposition are no longer valid. Those who profited by those older articles now need to chase a new curve prior to the release of the new game.
I wrote an article, a long article, over the period of 4 months, which went into detail about The Sims 3 & EA/Maxis because I knew that later on in the year, the Sims 4 would be coming out.
I got a lot more warmth releasing this article in 2014 than I would have in 2013 because it was closer to the event. Simmers were already looking around but had very little information back in January. (Pre Gamescon, Pre E3). I was able to fill a need with my article (which is one of my best long term performers for 2014, released in January.) without upsetting the EA/MAXIS embargo on games reviews.
Undoubtedly the Sims 4 topic has had some curves of interest over time throughout the year. I spoke of Gamescon in Germany. The first time we actually got a decent look at gameplay. The embargo on what was able to be shared was in effect here and this carried through to E3 where the curve ramped up again. The next curve occurred when the Create a Sim Tool or CAST was launched (first to the super fans and movers and shakers) then to the general populace. Now we see more ripples as the Gamescon footage was released and will see further ripples as exclusives come out from the bigger reporters such as Gamespot, IGN and more besides.
Of course all of this is manipulated by EA, the publisher. Hype is ramped up so that EA can make money on pre-orders and first week sales but has been targeted in September to make an attractive “Christmas/New Year” purchase for most of the world.
I hope you can see that this particular topic is indicative of a series of curves that you as a blogger can take advantage of.
You can of course write out of this curve but don’t expect to get as many viewers. A lot of content that we produce often has some form of time sensitivity where we can only expect a limited yield (or return in viewers). Once the crisis or news item is known by many, it ceases to be noteworthy.
Persisting topics (those that either are hard to remedy or are intrinsically difficult to fix) are likely to be over covered. So you have to strike a balance between mild “evergreen” and limited yield when writing because you can’t always chase curves.
I strongly believe that priorities change during certain key periods of the year
There are definable seasonal periods effected by various religious and non-religious activity which can affect how our audience approach searching for information.
Where has my strongest search related criteria evolved from?
My strongest performers are guides, specifically How To. I could most likely create a whole new blog entirely on the basis of How To and do well which has given me food for thought.
What are my plans if I’m not writing articles?
- I plan to change the theme of the site. I did so last year and was pleased with the change from Twenty Thirteen to Bloggy. I will be seeking a change again from Theme Forrest for my next dabble.
- I have a Minimum Viable Service which I wish to pitch to somebody. I can’t divulge what this service is going to be but I do have the first client in my sights and need to apply the necessary heat to get them onboard.
- I have some hacking and slashing to perform because some of my pages are very poor in their performance.
- I need to provide some more guide based materials and need an incentive to join my mailing list.
- I plan to update my brand with a brand new style for 2015, one that will take some time to put together. This has to be rolled out universally across my social media platforms as well.
- I plan to write two epic pieces to start off 2015 with a bang just as I did with 2014.
How would you approach your December?
Given that we are soon moving into the final quarter of 2014, have you given it some thought yet? What are your December writing plans?