As the pace of communication is ever-increasing, it can be difficult to gauge the amount of content to distribute and the frequency at which to do so. While there is no cookie-cutter answer, there are a few things to consider with timing and frequency when planning your editorial calendar – most importantly to ensure you provide quality content at a pace your clientele appreciates.
Know Your Audience
From electronic newsletters to social media outlets, you should know and understand your audience better than they know themselves (at least when it comes to your publications and postings). Each organization is different. Listen to your clients, members and followers and measure their reaction to adapt the right posting strategy. There are numerous analytic measurement tools to help you get started – benchmark from similar organizations to see what works for them. By measuring your organization’s analytics, you will be armed with knowledge to make informed decisions going forward.
Still don’t trust the numbers or are just getting started? When I began utilizing electronic newsletters, Facebook and Twitter for a non-profit organization, we found the easiest way to gain feedback was through an online survey. It can be risky to take a shot in the dark. By gathering feedback on the frequency, timing and amount of content your audience is looking for, you have a great platform to start.
Remember, the number of posts is not as important as overall engagement. Make sure you have done your research and have something meaningful to contribute.
We all receive at least one newsletter that bombards us with information – most of it great, but we simply don’t have time to cipher through the details. Through numerous email communications both internally and externally, I have learned:
Amount of Content — Even though we have a lot to share about the new happenings within our company, it is best communicated when newsletters are limited to six to eight articles. This appears to be the right amount of content, without overwhelming the reader.
If I am requesting a call to action such as event sponsorship, email addresses or follow-up, it is best communicated as the ONLY subject of the email. Just this week, I put together a marketing piece for an upcoming event in July. The same piece was distributed weeks earlier to the same people but mixed amongst several other articles. Only when the piece was specifically directed as an individual email did I see results.
Timing — In regards to timing, you truly need to understand your audience. For example, if you work in the retail industry, 6 a.m. Wednesday morning may be the best time to catch employees before they begin their day. In contrast, if your communication is targeting the restaurant industry, perhaps 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon provides down time for your audience to catch up on current events.
Frequency — The trend for frequency of electronic newsletters is 1 to 2 per week. The key is to distribute your electronic newsletter at the same time and day of each week. This provides consistency, and your audience will know when to look for your communication.
Facebook and Twitter
As a more fast-pace mode of communication, Facebook and Twitter require constant attention. Still, the concept is the same – provide relevant information without bombarding your audience. It is important to gauge your audience to build credibility and followers. Remember, with the click of a button, your audience can turn you off.
Timing — HubSpot research has shown Facebook shares are at their highest during the weekend. Unfortunately this doesn’t lend the social media outlet to our “in the moment” posts for a typical 9 to 5 organization, but it does provide insight. With this knowledge you can schedule Facebook posts to hit your audience’s newsfeed at the exact date and time you want – including weekends. Use this to your advantage and save some material for a Saturday or Sunday.
With regard to Twitter, HubSpot discovered the most retweetable times were weekday afternoons, between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Again, utilize this information and distribute a majority of your tweets throughout the afternoon. You can always adjust if you discover this isn’t working with your audience.
Frequency — According to HubSpot research, companies that allow each shared link a buffer zone of at least an hour on either side see higher click through rates overall. Remember, the right frequency is determined by your audience. But how do you know if you’re overwhelming your audience? Check to see how many friends or followers your typical audience member has – if your audience doesn’t have many followers you may want to reduce your posting frequency. If on the other hand your audience follows many organizations or individuals, you may increase your frequency.
Social media and electronic communications can be tricky to perfect with any audience. The key is to understand how they use the communication in order to spend your time wisely. Once you discover the best time and platform in which to connect with your audience, you open the pathway for successful communication.