The logic behind content marketing is getting the right message out, at the right time, to the right audience.
Here we’ll explore the importance of timing in content marketing in more detail, so you can make informed decisions about your publishing schedule.
Why does timing in content marketing matter?
Getting the timing right for publishing or promoting your content means you’ll reach more people and generate more leads.
If you fluff this up, you’ll miss your target audience completely – meaning that carefully-crafted content won’t have the impact you originally intended.
However, the importance of timing also depends on the type of content you’re creating; topical or evergreen. Ideally, you want a healthy mix of both in your content marketing strategy, so here’s a bit more info:
1) Topical content:
Topical or ‘real-time’ content is tricky to master. It includes content based on:
- News stories (commonly known as ‘newsjacking’): Politics, socio-economic news, comedy items, scandals
- Events: Countdowns, informative blogs etc.
- Holiday-based content: Blogs, social media and emails can all be tailored to include some holiday spirit. That reminds us – you better get brushing up on those Christmas puns, it’s not too far away!
Anything that centres around a date, time, or event is considered topical. You need to schedule things just right for this content type to be effective, but pulling that off can be more difficult than it sounds.
Send it out too early and your article may become factually incorrect by the time it becomes relevant. On top of this, people won’t be searching for it, so it could dent your place in the search rankings.
Publish it too late, and no-one will read it. For example, nobody wants to hear about the ideal Christmas gift on 26 December! However, they do want to know all about the January sales.
To get it just right, you need to publish as close to the event as possible. If you can write a piece from a refreshing angle, that sets you apart from the other content out there, then that’s even better!
2) Evergreen content:
Evergreen content, as the name suggests, doesn’t date.
Whether it’s a blog, guide, web page, product page, or something else entirely, it will remain useful to your customers for months and years to come.
This is probably the content type that brings top-of-funnel customers to your site all year round, so it’s really worth investing in.
While timing isn’t as important for evergreen content as it is for topical content, it’s always worth considering when your audience might be looking for content, and publishing then … but we’ll have more on that later.
Timing your content for the customer journey
To effectively time your content, you need to be super-aware of your customer’s journey and their place in the sales funnel.
The content required differs from stage to stage, so it’s important to make sure you’re issuing content that’s relevant to your visitor’s position. Here’s a quick guide to the different stages:
- Top of funnel: Content should answer questions and solve problems while raising awareness and interest in your product/service.
- Middle of funnel: Here, you should speak directly to potential customers and give them the product information they need to encourage them to buy.
- Bottom of funnel: This content should nudge leads over the edge and help them make a decision. Testimonials and reviews work very well here.
- Beyond the funnel: At this stage, you want to retain customers, advocate your brand, and offer something useful to the customer; a how-to guide could be effective in this case.
As you get further down the sales funnel, your customers will become more receptive to a piece of well-timed content. In fact, it could be the thing that persuades them to purchase.
It’s all about having the right information available when your audience wants or needs it.
Other areas where timing matters
There are several other examples where you need to think carefully about timing in content marketing:
- Posting a series (blog, email or other) – Needs to be at the same time and day each week to establish a following.
- Email marketing – While this can be based on customer interactions, too many emails in close succession may be overwhelming.
- Social media promotion – Social media is a ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ form of promotion. If you don’t post on the right platform at the right time, your target audience won’t see it. Try posting multiple times a day for a higher impact.
- Customer interactions (social media, website, email) – You need to respond fast to any customer interaction or you’ll lose momentum and your audience will lose interest. Not good!
So, when is best to publish your posts?
We’ve taken a look at the ‘why’ aspect of timing in content marketing, so the next burning question to answer is ‘when?’
Kissmetrics have released a report on this very subject. Here are a few of their key findings:
- 70% of users read blogs in the morning
- Blog posts get most traffic on Mondays
- 11am is the best time to publish
- Blogs get more comments and shares on Saturdays
- Blogs get more inbound links on Mondays and Thursdays
It really depends what your content marketing goals are. Are you trying to boost traffic, increase engagement, or build inbound links?
The results in this report might not match up with your customer base. For example, the report also showed that more men read blogs in the evenings. So, if you’re targeting a predominantly male audience you might wish to publish then, and not at 11am like the statistic in the report suggests.
The inference here is that your optimum publishing time can differ depending on your specific target market – so no one study can tell you what that is. Instead, you should carry out your own research using Google Analytics and test different times of the day to see which are most effective.
Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective and timely content strategy – now doesn’t that sound satisfying?