How Best to Deal with Black Friday Traditions

Retail Stores spend months preparing for Black Friday. Many began with the tally of sells from the previous year. Executives count the profits, then subtract the cost. After much study of what worked and what did not, they begin to plan special sales for the following year. Decisions are made months before the sales are announced to the public. Orders to suppliers are placed well in advance.

Shoppers begin making lists of things they hope to find on the sale ads Black Friday when they fulfill their traditions and spend all their cash and max out their credit cards. Some begin immediately after shopping the previous year, making plans to beat the crowds to the bargains and to save more money for next year’s sales.

Retail Stores evaluate their employee force and determine how many new hires are needed to take care of the busy days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Physical ads are printed, virtual ads made ready, and e-mails prepared to send to subscribers.

Shoppers get anxious for the special shopping day about the time Halloween costumes hit the stores. The weekend before Thanksgiving, the biggest concern is to get a peek at the Black Friday sales flyers and determine what to spend their money or max their credit on rather than how best to express thanks for what they already have.

Retail Stores send out ads and e-mails announcing sales.

Shoppers make lists, map routes and put on their running shoes.

Retail Stores fill the aisles of stores with sale items and wrap them with plastic so no one gets a head start.

Shoppers run through the store in mobs, trampling all who get in their way.

Retail Stores employees cut the plastic that protects the stacks of merchandise and run for cover, hoping to escape the stampeding shoppers.
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Shoppers wander through the store for hours filling shopping carts with bargains, fighting for the last one the shelf, wait in check out lines for an hour or more to turn their paychecks over to a weary cashier, then finally return home to crash, exhausted on the couch.

How I Prepare for Black Friday
The weekend before Thanksgiving I begin my own preparations for Black Friday. Here is what I do:

1. Make a list of things to take to Thanksgiving Dinner at mom’s.
2. Make a menu for two weeks of meals for my household.
3. Inventory pantry, fridge and freezer for supplies needed for these meals.
4. Shop on Monday for the items on my list.
5. Tuesday, check to see that I have sufficient office supplies for two weeks of writing and make any last minute purchases.
6. Wednesday, finish preparations for Thanksgiving Dinner.
7. Spend Thanksgiving Day with family.
8. Go home and prepare to hibernate and write for the next two weeks.

Traditions are powerful motivators. I shopped the Black Friday sales for several years before deciding the best place for me was at home during this mad rush for bargains, figuring if an item wasn’t available after the rush was over, I could do without it, cheaper price or not. Over the years, my family has done away with a few things that were once traditional and added a few things we considered worthwhile to replace them.

Watch my posts for the next few weeks to see the changes we have made in our family traditions. While you wait, I would love to hear from you. How do you feel about Black Friday? Do you fight the crowds for the bargains?

Baby Steps to Blogging—Part 5—How Can I Get People to Read My Blog?

“How do I get people to read my blog?” Every blogger has asked this question.

In Baby Steps to Blogging—Part 1, we talked about choosing the subjects of our posts to fit the interests and needs of our audience. To do that, we have to know our audience. This can be confusing. Just how do you figure out who your audience is? What type of person is interested in the things you write about?

You have chosen to build your blog around the thing that interests you. Let’s say you like to cook. You like trying new recipes. You frequently make up your own recipes. You are often called upon to contribute to a church social or family get together. In fact, your friends often request that you bring ‘the special casserole’ that you are known for, or maybe it’s a dessert. (If my mom were to show up at a family event without a couple of pecan pies, disappointment would overshadow the entire event.)

If you write about cooking and frequently share recipes, what groups or types of people would be most interested in your expertise?

People who have just moved out on their own or gotten married often have little experience with cooking, but want to learn, will hound the internet for how-tos and recipes. An experienced cook may be looking for a new way to prepare an old dish. Or maybe a man who was recently widowed and doesn’t know the first thing about cooking for himself will search the internet for instructions.

Think about these people—your audience. What might these types of people search for? Group your answers into categories. Below are just a few that might work. I’m sure you can think of others. Three is a good number of categories to have. You may need a need to add a few more, but keep them down to what is absolutely essential.

One Dish Meals

Dinners for Two

Desserts

After you have chosen your categories, write posts that will fit one of them. List them in the appropriate category so search engines can find your post when someone types those words into google or whatever search bar they use.

As you write the post that fits the category, use key words or tags that will help the searcher land on your blog. Key ingredients in your recipes would be a good choice for tags. The method of cooking your recipe utilizes would be another—bake, fry, steam, grill, etc. Be consistent with tagging.

You can check the stats for your blog and see which tags or categories get the most attention. You might want to add more soups if that seems to be what gets the most views. If you find that recipes with chicken get a lot of attention, try to post those regularly.

I have used cooking as an example, but you can used the same principles with your own interests to decide what categories and tags to use for your posts. If you decide the categories you have chosen don’t work for you, you can always change them. It is your blog. It’s better to change to something that works than to continue down the wrong road.

Your Baby Steps assignment for this week is to read over your posts. Chose labels, tags or key words you have used in the post that someone might type into the search bar. Edit your posts to include these tags.

You need to do this so search engines will know what your post is about and lead people to it. It may take a while to learn which words are important enough to include in your tags. Before long, though, you will begin to see what is important and what is not.

For instance, salt may be important for your recipe, but is probably not a word that most people will search for unless they are looking for recipes without salt. If ‘no salt’ is your focus, certainly use no salt as a key word or tag.

You are making great progress! Please post any questions you have in the comment section. I will do my best to answer them. Have a great week, and remember to take one Baby Step at a time.