Q4 can be a stressful time for publishers; if pulled off correctly, they stand to make the bulk of their revenue for the year in three short months, but sky-high content distribution prices threaten to stand in the way of meeting their goals.

Our work with hundreds of the world’s top storytellers has taught us that they key to success in Q4 is a strong game plan. To help you prepare for your best quarter yet, we’ve compiled a checklist that you should go through to put together your holiday season content distribution plan (download the full checklist below).

One of the keys to a successful Q4 (and one of the steps on our checklist) is creating a spend strategy for the quarter.

Because of constant price fluctuations, it’s helpful to look at the quarter holistically and in terms of your business goals. This process will look different for every storyteller.

Option 1: Spend When Prices are Low

For many teams, it can be helpful to spend more at the beginning of the quarter when prices are lower. This can help drive business results efficiently and early on. For those looking to drive the lowest-cost audiences, the first week of each month and the last week of the year are also good times to take advantage of lower prices.


Option 2: Spend When Prices Are High

For other teams though, the most expensive times of the quarter can also be the most lucrative. While CPCs may be at their peak during the last week or so of November, so are revenues from e-commerce, affiliate monetization, and display advertising. For many publishers, the revenue generated across these few days can outweigh months of revenue from the rest of the year.

For such teams, spending the majority of their budgets earlier in the quarter would simply not make sense. These teams would allocate the largest budgets to late November, where the promise of ROI is the highest, despite the steep pricing. Even for publishers not monetizing their content directly, we strongly suggest not turning off your campaigns entirely, but rather temporarily scaling down spend and spending only on top-performing stories.



Either Way: Have a Contingency Plan

Of course, no matter how much you plan ahead, there are always unexpected things that can pop up. Every team should set aside budget in advance that can later be used to distribute breaking news and current events stories, or to promote a post that’s doing surprisingly well.

For 8 more items to add to your Q4 to-do list, download the full Q4 Content Distribution & Audience Development Checklist by filling out the form below: