Q4 is short for ‘fourth quarter’ and is used to refer to the last 3 months of the year — October, November, and December. Q4 is typically a boom period for the publishing industry as a whole including bloggers and creators. This is because Q4 typically sees increased user traffic paired with an increase in advertising spending from advertisers. Q4 is also host to some of the major holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – which present huge opportunities for content. The Q4 boom peaks between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The end of Q3 (September) can usually be also high. Food publishers historically see a huge spike in Q4 however, all niches benefit from Q4. It is an industry-wide peak.
Why is Q4 Lucrative for publishers?
Increased Online Traffic
There is typically an uptrend in traffic in Q4 for several reasons. More people start to spend more time online as they start browning for holiday shopping. According to the PMG 2022 Holiday Report, last year (2021), consumers already started shopping for gifts in October. People spend more time online not just for shopping but for great content too. E.g People who want Holiday prep tips like Thanksgiving and Christman, Halloween costume ideas, Halloween party ideas, etc. Q4 is also a great time for Ecomm as conversion rates peak in Q4. Q4 is a good time to focus on producing more eCommerce content with affiliate links. Or if you don’t already have one, start an e-commerce strategy for your blog or website. The global pandemic also amplified Q4 trends as the PMG report also showed that people now start their holiday shopping sooner than before.
In Q4, Companies typically have a bigger marketing budget to boost holiday sales. In addition to that these companies and brands typically have leftover budget that needs to be spent before the end of the year. This leads to a higher ad spend from advertisers as these brands aim to capture the Q4 consumer behavior uptrend and increased user activity. Increased demand leads to competition and so you see advertisers paying more for impressions as demand increases. Higher demand = Higher CPMs = more fill rate which equates to higher RPMs = increased revenue for you.
How to Optimize your Content for Q4
Make the most of the Q4 peak period by tweaking your content strategy. Your Q4 content strategy should be a combination of producing new content and updating old articles and content on your site.
Create a Content Calendar
The first thing you should do is prepare your content calendar. Having a content calendar helps you plan the topics and formats of the content you plan to post on your site, and ensures that your overall publishing strategy is properly implemented while also giving you a chance to make a detailed content plan. Even something as simple as outlining your proposed content ideas in a spreadsheet will help you be more organized. Read our detailed guide on how to create and implement a content calendar.
Increase Publishing Frequency
In Q4 it pays to increase your publishing frequency. We usually recommend publishing up to three or four times a week to see a significant increase in traffic.
Let Trends Inform your Strategy
Food content is one of the best performers for Q4 so f you write about food, ramp up your number of food posts. Write content around key Q4 holidays, significant dates, events, and trends. Read on to see tips on how to spot and track trends for content ideas.
Get Ideas from Top Performing Content
Another strategy to use when ideating new content is to create new supporting content around your top-performing topics/content already on your site.
Check your GA and SHE Media dashboard to see your top-performing content and create similar content to what is performing well. Interlink this new and the old content to help your site visitors find new related content.
Add more Content Formats
Produce Content with varied content formats — add more images, galleries, videos, social embeds, etc.
Write Compelling Headlines
And always remember to use compelling and enticing headlines and CTAs. Write down a few headline ideas and choose the most compelling. Make sure to include keywords in your headlines.
Distribute Your Content
Recirculate and Share Old and new content. Boost your top-performing content. Reshare to social, newsletters, add to landing pages, etc. Use Traffic Sources such as newsletters and social sharing, especially Pinterest. Create pinnable graphics and pin and share them with proper CTAs and hashtags. Look into PubExchange and Pushly.
Update and refresh old content from the last Q4
Look back at your traffic from last year’s Q4 content and note the top performers- refresh those with new examples, shoppable links, photos, etc. As you update old articles also clean up your site by performing a site-wide audit to make sure there are no broken links, stale information, etc. As you update old articles do not update or change any links. Watch our editorial workshop on how to update old articles and blog posts for more tips.
Understanding and Tracking Trends in Q4 (And year-round)
You can find out the best trends for your niche by perusing industry trend reports. These reports are great doe content idea generation and
preliminary research for content strategy. See some key trend reports below
- Pinterest Trend Tracker and Pinterest Trend Reports
- Facebook IQ Trend Report
- PMG Intelligence Q4 and Holiday Report
- Hubspot Trend Reports
- GWI – Global Web Index
Top Q4 2022 Trends
Amplified food-themed experiences
Freshness, authenticity, and “shop local”
Main Q4 Events
- Veteran’s Day
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Giving Tuesday
- Boxing Day
- New Year’s