5 Vacation Blog Tips: How To Keep Your Content Fresh When You Are Away

Do you ever have problems keeping your blog filled with fresh content?

Before you answer, I’ll tell you a secret.

While you might not believe it, sometimes I do!

Despite my best intentions, holidays and vacations, big work projects, health issues, or other last minute emergencies keep me from blogging.

Even worse, these events can translate to a lack of fresh blog content for days.

Fortunately most of the time, we can predict when we’ll need to reserve blog content for:

  • Holidays and vacations
  • Heavy work cycles
  • Scheduled medical procedures and planned personal events

But at other times we need to take a blogging break without notice. As a result, most bloggers have few if any blog content options.

Instead of letting your blog go untended, use these 5 vacation blog tips and tricks  to keep your blog content fresh while you’re away. Regardless of the reason for your absence they allow you to take a break from blogging without losing readers or momentum.

 

5 Vacation Blog Tips

Use a mix of these 5 vacation blog tips and tricks to keep your blog going when you don’t have time to focus on your blog.

1. Create evergreen blog content in advance

The blogging rule of thumb for newbie bloggers: “Start with 5 to 10 articles in reserve.”Click To Tweet

 

While you should keep your article reserve full, many bloggers use these blog posts when needed, but neglect to replace them with fresh content.

This option is best because:
You maintain control over your blog content.

But:
It only works when you know in advance when you will need extra content.

With 10+ years of blogging experience under his belt, Mark Schaefer of Business Grow remains the stellar example of the “Plan Ahead Approach To Blogging”. Schaefer feels a responsibility to his readers to consistently publish fresh content. As a result, Schaefer stockpiles evergreen posts.

The catch:
Most of us cling to the belief that “we work best under pressure.”

So we procrastinate.

Instead:
Follow Andy Crestodina’s advice and build habits to become a more effective writer:

“Go to bed early and wake up early to get more uninterrupted writing time!”

Comparison of Low and High Performers' schedules

 

Key Write Blog Posts In Advance Take-Aways:

  • Keep your blog post reserve stocked. Just as you wouldn’t let your pantry rundown, have evergreen post ready to publish
  • Add “extra” posts to your editorial calendar. Stockpile quality content. Further, use any extra year-end budget to create evergreen blog posts.

 

Actionable Vacation Blog Tips:

  • Collect blog post ideas and stump content. Capture blog post ideas and write post sections when you get inspired. As a result you don’t need to create content from scratch. Use a small pad, post-its (my favorite) or your smartphone.

 

 

2. Schedule Special or Major Content

During holidays and other low traffic periods create special content to attract readers.

Instead of wasting effort trying to attract people who aren’t paying attention, appeal to readers who turn to your blog when they have extra time.

Translation:
Go beyond the perfunctory holiday greeting.

For example:
In Thanksgiving Traditions and content marketing, Actionable Marketing Guide researched an article about Sarah Jospeha Hale, the woman who created Thanksgiving traditions with content marketing for Godey’s Lady’s Book.

By contrast, for their year-end double issue, The Economist creates in-depth articles on related issues. This content appeals to readers’ interests who have time for deeper-than-average reading.

When I worked at the online division of The Economist, these year-end long form text articles kept visitors engaged and reading. Although attracting lower traffic rates, these articles increased time-on-site as much as 10 minutes to 15+ minutes. At the time, the average web visitor stayed less than 60 seconds.

Key Write Blog Posts In Advance Take-Aways:

  • Create long form content tailored to your audience’s marketing persona. While overall traffic may be suppressed, attract interested  readers for longer periods of time.  
  • Incorporate mega-content into your content marketing plans. As a result, allocate resources for long form content and make it relate to your consistent content.

 

Actionable Vacation Blog Tips:

  • Include long form blog content in your annual content planning.  As a result, you allocate resources and set timeframes.

 

 

3. Curate content, yours and other people’s

Curate your older content and that of your peers to fill your editorial calendar.

Specifically:

  • Spotlight strong information
  • Enhance it with commentary
  • Add fresh titles
  • Include visuals
  • Add appropriate links and attribution

Depending on your content backlist, also curate mega-content. For their December 3, 2018 archival issue, The New Yorker used previously published articles from their files.

Example of using your own backlist

Also:

  • Create a regular column of curated content. For example, Gini Dietrich offers a mix of fun YouTube videos with commentary every Saturday in her Gin and Topics column.
  • Use roundup posts to curate other people’s input. Note, however, that mega-content roundups like Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 Content Marketing Predictions take work. (BTW, here’s our 2019 Content Marketing Predictions.)
https://www.slideshare.net/CMI/85-predictions-on-content-marketing-in-2019

 

Actionable Vacation Blog Tips:

  • Curate roundup posts in advance. Allow contributors sufficient time to respond but not so much that they forget about your request. Also add visuals and alert participants when the post goes live.
  • Create “Best of BLANK” posts. In addition to being easy-to-create, these articles allow you to give your best content another bite at the distribution apple. For example, Shopify included their favorite posts as well as other forms of content.

 

 

4. Ask blog colleagues to write guest posts

Even if you don’t accept blog posts, hand select peers who you admire to contribute. This retains editorial control since you choose specific bloggers. (Note: We do NOT accept guest posts.)

Or let a guest editor manage your editorial process.

As a result  you:

  • Show you are a real person with a life beyond your blog.
  • Set boundaries on guest content. Since you write everything else.
  • Follow editorial precedents with guest editors.For example, The Best Short Stories Of Year series spotlights a different editor every year.

For example:

Mark Schaefer occasionally allows a few highly qualified colleagues like Steve Rayson contribute to his blog.

Or try these alternatives to guest posts:

  • Add regular columnists. While reducing your personal blogging, you invite experienced contributors. I did this as a ClickZ columnist.
  • Interview influencers, customers and employees. While not truly guest content, it reduces blog creation. For example I do this with author interviews.

 

Key Guest Blogging Take-Aways:

  • Balance your need for fresh content against the resources needed to transform guest posts to your standards.

 

Actionable Vacation Blog Tips:

  • Clearly state guest blogging guidelines to qualify submissions. Many businesses seek guest posts to generate backlinks.
  • Have a professional vet and edit posts. Because guest posts often require more editing.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to get top bloggers to guest post. Ask blog stars for posts or interview when they’re promoting new books or at a conference.

 

 

5. Update and improve existing content

Vox proved that updating and improving existing content yields better results in 2015.

“You don’t need 1,000 articles. You need 100 great articles!” @CrestodinaClick To Tweet


As one of the 5 core content types, long playing content includes:

  • Republished content increases visibility with additional promotion.
  • Updated content provides more recent data and/or examples.
  • Upgraded content adds other content formats to road tested content reach new audiences with visuals, video, podcasts, webinars or live presentations.
  • Augmented series content offers new articles on topics you haven’t covered to-date.
  • Curated content selects existing content and adds an editorial commentary and context.

Take a page from Michele Linn’s long playing content playbook based on her years as editor of Content Marketing Institute’s blog. Follow her 5 data-driven content opportunities.

Long Playing Content

Chart of Michele Linn’s 5 Data Driven Content Opportunities to Yield Increased Results

 

Key Update and Improve Existing Take-Aways:

  • Regularly audit your existing content to maintain quality with the most recent data and examples.
  • Base upgrades on performance to-date. But don’t underestimate the value of lower performing articles.

 

Actionable Vacation Blog Tips:

  • Keep your best content visible and viable with regular updates. This road-tested content costs less than fresh content.
  • Include upgraded content in your vacation rotation. Since it requires limited time and effort.

 

 

 

Vacation Blog Tips Conclusion

For vacations and other planned events, use a mix of these 5 vacation blog tips to create enough content in advance to fuel your blog.

Further, there are some holidays like Christmas where no matter how great your blog posts are, your audience won’t pay attention. During these periods, your blog won’t suffer if you don’t post.

But, when you experience emergency or other circumstances beyond your control, you may need to let your blog go without fresh content. For example, I faced this challenge after Hurricane Sandy since I lacked Internet connectivity for several days. While you may lose traffic, your blog will survive and come back to life when you start blogging regularly again.

As protection against unforeseen circumstances, keep a few evergreen blog posts ready to publish at any time.

Of course, this is easier said than done.

What are your favorite blogging tips and tricks to keep your content fresh when you need to take time off from blogging?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Note: This post was originally published on December 23, 2013

 


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3 Responses to 5 Vacation Blog Tips: How To Keep Your Content Fresh When You Are Away

  1. I agree with Mark Anthony Germanos. I love the scheduling feature for posts. Write extra posts while you’re inspired, and let them simmer on the back burner, as it were. Then, pull them out when you need them. Sort of like freezing left overs for those busy nights when you don’t have time to cook a meal!

    I also love using Visual.ly for infographics. They’re so much fun to look at and usually very informative, too.

  2. Mark Anthony Germanos says:

    You can always schedule blog posts in advance. A lot of people think they have to publish immediately.

    • Lauren says:

      I’ve done that, but what if I need to take a month off…how should I write to my readers that I’m taking a sabatical?