Is there a magical time to reach out to your audience and share blog posts, email blasts, or tweets? Yes – and no.
I began blogging in the days when the rule was “The early bird gets the worm.” The result was waking up to the depressing sight of an inbox that had multiplied exponentially overnight. That led to ruthless inbox clearings of unread messages. And I began to wonder if reaching out to blog readers in the evening was better.
The fact is, there is no right answer for all bloggers. Each blogger must determine the unique time in the 24 hours they’re offered that best suits their specific audience.
To find the best time to publish blog posts for your audience, start by asking yourself a few questions.
Will someone else beat me to it?
Will countless people be writing about the same topic on the same day? Bloggers on certain topics are more likely to experience this phenomenon—breaking news, technological updates, and Hollywood gossip are three that pop to mind. Will your readers automatically pass by your post because another blogger already updated them? Then, by all means, reach out bright and early! Have that message waiting for them when they stare blearily at their smartphone seconds after turning off the morning alarm.
But what if your topic is less time sensitive? Will they really read it as they stumble to the kitchen for coffee or as they pedal madly to nowhere on their early morning workout? Or will they delete it in hopes of getting their inbox to a manageable size before they officially start the day? If your topic has less immediacy, it might be better to share it later in the day.
What am I giving my readers?
More accurately, what do you expect your readers to do with the information in your blog post? If you’re giving them information they can use in the workplace, then it should reach readers during the workday. Product information—that may lead to your audience making a purchase—should reach them at a time when they’re likely to make that purchase.
Blog posts about personal purchases are probably best during evenings or lunch hours while those about professional purchases should reach readers during work hours (which also offers a better chance of them sharing with other professionals).
Are you giving them something fun, something related to a hobby, something for leisure reading? Reach out to them during leisure hours – evenings or weekends.
Who is my audience?
Evening for stay-at-home parents with toddlers is entirely different than evening for people who work in the financial industry. The first may turn to leisure reading around 8 or 9 p.m. while a Wall Street worker will turn to leisure reading at midnight or 1 a.m.
Chances are you’ve pinpointed your audience and have an idea about when you should reach them (morning, workday or leisure time). Now it’s time to consider when specifically morning, leisure time or workday occurs for them.
Finally, reach out to the expert on your audience: your blog. Google Analytics can help you pinpoint when people visit your blog—both the times of the day and days of the week. Set up Google Analytics to analyze your blog audience. It’s free and easy.
Then, publish high-quality posts on a variety of days and times for a month, and let Google Analytics crunch the numbers for you. Is there a time (or day of the week) when you have a better reaction from your audience? Then that may be your best time to publish.
Pay attention to the type of posts also. Perhaps specific kinds of posts get more readers at different times than other types of posts.
Don’t limit yourself to the initial month of research. Make analyzing your information an ongoing habit. Your audience and its preferences may change over time, and you have to learn to change with them.
The early bird may get the worm, but late birds eat in the afternoon and evening. Take time to find out what birds read your blog and when. Then post accordingly.
Tell me in a comment below.
About the Author
Jodi Webb has written advice columns on organization, text for Nintendo DS games, trivia questions for charity fundraisers, and toy and book reviews in addition to annual reports, press releases, and company brochures. She’s written hundreds of articles for magazines such as Birds and Blooms, PTO Today, and The History Magazine. The former blog tour organizer at WOW—Women on Writing, she currently works for a small regional newspaper
Image copyrigh: dolgachov