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Christmas In July
If you haven’t written your Christmas articles yet, then it’s probably too late, at least if you’re writing for print. Print publications work far in advance, so if you’re writing for them, you should start planning your Christmas articles in the middle of the year and should deliver them by September to October. Yes, there are exceptions, but what I’m getting at is the importance of planning ahead as a freelance writer.
We all know what the big occasions are. They include New Year, Valentine’s Day, Easter, 4th July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mother’s Day is another biggie. These are all occasions to write seasonal content and sell it to websites and magazines.
However, there’s a trick. You have to do it early. That’s because magazines and other publications want that content there before the big day. Printing constraints and the desire for a long shelf life mean that a monthly magazine will probably be printed six weeks before the cover date, and the content will be decided at least a month before that.
Websites may operate in a similar way, because they are targeting search engine traffic. If you’re going to search for Mother’s Day flowers, what are the chances that you’ll be doing that on the day itself? Slim to none. Instead, you’ll be searching a couple of weeks before — and that’s your target for online publication.
So what do you do? One answer is to keep a file containing seasonal ideas that you can pitch whenever an opportunity comes up. Look in old magazines and see what they covered last year — there may be a new twist or a way of updating it. If you plan ahead, it might feel strange to write Christmas articles in July, but at least you’ll hear the jingle of coins as well as bells when the holiday season finally rolls around.