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Should You Post Branded Content on the Weekend? [Data]

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Content marketers think they have it all figured out. They take the social listening they do and the SEO strategy they develop, mix it all together, and pump out blog posts that are the perfect mix of relevant and strategic.

But sometimes, the insights content marketers act on are wrong—or just ever-changing. To keep up with rising demand for brand information, marketers must constantly revisit their Web content management strategies and optimize their publishing schedules to align with what their audience wants. If you read TrackMaven’s “Colossal Content Marketing Report,” you may be astounded to see that publishers’ assumptions over when to post new content does not align with when people consume or share the most content. Or, maybe you’re not surprised at all.

Publishing FrequencyTrackMaven, a marketing analytics firm, analyzed 4,618 blogs published this year and evaluated trends in engagement by capturing the number of social shares those articles accumulated through April 3, 2014. The company’s data found which days brands are most likely to publish content and which days actually generate the highest engagement across social channels. I’ll break down the data into bullet points so we can get to the “So what?” of this article quicker:

Days of Week in Order of Average Posting Frequency:

  1. Tuesday and Wednesday: 18 percent
  2. Thursday: 17.9 percent
  3. Monday: 17.2 percent
  4. Friday: 15.9 percent
  5. Sunday: 6.8 percent
  6. Saturday: 6.3 percent

Days of Week in Order of Average Social Shares:

  1. Saturday: 18 percent
  2. Sunday: 14.6 percent
  3. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 14.1 percent
  4. Friday: 12.7 percent
  5. Monday: 12.5 percent

It turns out that while 87 percent of all blogs are published during the work week, the approximately 13 percent of posts published on the weekend generated the most social shares overall.

Even crazier, when TrackMaven looked at publishing times to determine whether brands should post more in the morning, early afternoon, or night, data showed that blogs posted between 9 p.m. and midnight EST have the most social shares.

What Does This Mean for Content Marketers?

Last year, we published an article that showed how long content lasted online to inspire our readers to think about how frequently they produce new content. Data often tells us what we’ve been doing all along has been wrong, and that’s certainly the case here. While I don’t think all publishers should pivot and publish exclusively on the weekend or in the middle of the night, I do think it’s worth shifting some editorial resources in your Web content management to test this new model and compare the results to previous time periods.

More than anything, this study should encourage content marketers to experiment with new Web content management strategies to see what works for their brands. TrackMaven’s data may suggest that publishers can earn up to 18 percent of their total social shares by surfacing content on Saturday, but I would argue that depends greatly on the type of content being produced, the purpose of that content, the audience, the industry, and pervasiveness of the topic being covered.

To me, publishing at night may be more helpful for organizations that serve a global audience. Time doesn’t matter as much when your audience is waking up periodically across a 24-hour span. For brands that focus their selling and marketing on domestic audiences, publishing content at 11 p.m. EST may not generate a large traffic spike, but shifting your editorial calendar a little later might help reach audiences on the West Coast. Marketers who have posted new content at 9 a.m. EST every day for the past few months might want to start testing a new process of publishing an article or a second article in the afternoon.

This data might not mean anything to you—it might not even come as a surprise. But I at least hope it made you think about your Web content management system a little differently. You don’t know everything, and data can tell you what you’ve been missing.

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