Unless you run a website where a lot of your content centers on current events, the right time to start planning your holiday content is about two months before the holidays actually hit. This is a strategic move that will simplify your life, especially if you’re working with American writers.
Let’s face it, no matter how popular you are with your writers and no matter how much they enjoy working with you, they’ve got spouses, significant others, family and friends, and like you, they probably want to spend at least a little bit of time with them. Unfortunately, you make it difficult for them to do that if you approach them in the eleventh hour with a “content emergency.”
It speaks to poor organization on your part and it won’t win you any friends with your best writers in the long run, even if you convince someone to take one for the team and work through Christmas dinner to knock your latest order out. Planning holiday content ahead neatly sidesteps that issue the vast majority of the time.
But what about right now? Right now, with the holidays looming, if you haven’t planned ahead and you really need some new content for your site, there are ways you can get it. Here’s how:
First, understand that even if your writers are normally at your beck and call, they’ve probably got holiday plans. Accommodate that, or they simply won’t take the job from you. Build in extra time, or if it’s truly a time-sensitive matter, bump up your pay rate accordingly.
Second, let’s talk about that pay rate. If you’re asking your writers to take time away from their families to do work for you, offer to pay them more to help take the sting out. A twenty percent premium for holiday work is not out of line, and you can sweeten the pot further by offering an early completion bonus.
Third, spread the love. Even if you’ve got one writer you consider to be your go-to source for content, don’t overload that person on the holidays. If you do, even the bump in pay and early completion bonuses won’t be enough to keep it from leaving a bad taste in the writer’s mouth and once the dust settles on the holiday season, you may find that writer to be reluctant to take additional assignments from you.
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that your favorite writers are people too. While their business model differs from yours, it is a business, and they’re struggling to balance the demands of work and family, just like you are. Plan ahead and help make things easier on them.
The bottom line is simply this: Your best writers are a valued resource, not a commodity. It takes time, patience and diligence to cultivate a great team. Don’t work hard all year to build a good relationship with your team, only to blow it during the holiday season by pushing too hard or asking too much.