What time of the week should I publish?

Posted by Tony Hallett on12.02.2012
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Here’s what should govern when you post content. This applies whether you’re a professional editor working in the media, a blogger or publishing other content for brands out of a marketing function.

Most B2B publications online, even many consumer titles, used to publish during the ‘normal working week’. That phrase is of course open to interpretation but it mainly means Monday to Friday, if not between 9:00 to 5:00 (what a way to make a living) then at least during recognisable working hours.

This writer worked on more than one B2B title where traffic was strong from Monday morning until about Friday lunch time, when it fell as much as 80% for the weekend.

At the same time, consumer online publications might see traffic that is strong during evenings and weekends, and also at times of year such as Christmas and Boxing Days. (Think presents being given, compared, exchanged.) But you wouldn’t have always known that based on when new content was posted.

All this is changing rapidly. In fact it has changed already at leading titles. There are two main reasons.

 

Content anytime, fuelled by devices and social media

First, consumers of content are online at all times, using all manner of devices – that smart phone on their commute, that tablet at home on the sofa and so on. They want fresh content at all times of day. And literally so, if you consider for international titles the idea of morning, afternoon and evening are relative.

Social media has fuelled this consumption, especially channels such as Twitter and Facebook where trusted sources and friends are drawing all of us to text, audio and video when we wouldn’t have been otherwise on the lookout.

 

Anytime-content

Second, there has been a resurgence of ‘anytime content’, meaning evergreen pieces, often list- or features-based.

This is in part a reaction to Google, which now rewards unique, original content more than it did even a year ago. It is also because – especially for some niche information providers – news doesn’t happen all the time. Even if it did, most organisations would find it prohibitive to cover it to any serious degree.

So there is an ability and desire to forward plan content online, something that 10 years ago was still the preserve of print, not online, with its faster-faster-faster approach.

 

When, then?

So users have the desire and wherewithal to consume content at any time. Publishers, by and large, have the ability to forward post, even to forward tee up promotion for posts through newsletters and social media channels.

Ultimately it comes down to knowing your audience, what they expect and when.

Three years ago, when working with an up and coming business and management title, we were upset to notice Friday traffic was very weak. Like a Saturday, in fact. But on closer inspection, the stats showed that Sunday evenings had become the new Monday morning – execs and other managers were getting a jump on the working week. This was a great time to feed their need for information – through new posts, newsletters and interaction via platforms such as LinkedIn.

Within the last year one leading consumer title we worked with noticed an uptick in early morning traffic, probably caused by a rise in browsing from more capable, larger-screen smart-phones. But they didn’t capitalise on it by moving forward content posting or various alerts, never mind breaking news.

If you know your audience there is now no excuse for missing out on when they want to be served.

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