A Glimpse At Two Ways To Think About “How Much Should I Post” and “When Should I Post”

I probably spend more time than I should these days working with in rooms that have TVs on in the background.

Which…is why when I noticed this.

I figured it was as good a time as any to talk about the two different ways I’ve seen people talk about how frequently they post and how much content they need to create in order to maximize distribution.

While much has been written about how decentralization works (Vitalik Buterin’s “The Meaning Of Decentralization”) and what it might mean for content distribution (I’m a fan of Meghan Keaney Anderson’s “Decentralized Content”) I’m starting to suspect that for many teams, the question of what these changes might mean for post volume are just beginning to come up.

There are probably more ways to think about this than just these two, and I’ve not really picked them for any reason other than being the two I notice teams discussing the most frequently.

I didn’t have a clip-maker handy at the time of writing, so I’ve linked directly to the relevant video clip. We’re interested in the spot between :05 and :25 or so, and we’re really only interested in a few seconds between :05 and :09ish.

There really isn’t any situation where you should see your organic reach fall to zero — on any platform.

Sometimes this gets a quizzical reaction.

I can understand why, it seems counterintuitive — especially when it seems like every other post you read about marketing is about an algorithm change that promises to destroy everything.

But say you wanted to do as Joe Scarborough says and find out if it’s true that when “you go back and look, Saturday mornings are usually the most chaotic times,” how might you do that?

It’d be pretty straight forward. You’d run the tweets and look at the timestamps and if the pattern was there, you’d spot it.

If you were following in real time, you’d have experienced it.

The truth is, there are always going to be people willing to go out of their way to find your content. In some cases these will be the people you know, in others it may be people you’ve engaged with in the past or your most loyal customers.

While you should always be looking to grow the size of the universe of people who check your page in this fashion, there isn’t much to be said about it. Consistently following best practices gets you there given time.

I think this sort of thinking is generally the right way to operate in today’s environment. One of my favorite articulations of the idea is Mike Sall’s “When Is The Best Time To Publish? Wrong Question.”

In some situations, you might be responsible for content that a larger percentage of people are willing to go out of their way for. You may encounter a situation where you need to coordinate impressions across platforms. A common example might be coordinating a post to go live at the same time a TV or radio ad airs.

In these sorts of situations, it isn’t uncommon to use a similar technique to make sure your impressions are translating into real views.

Collecting information about simple things (like when your audience is online) can make it possible for teams to measure the optimal window of time to post in. I’ve even seen teams that capture detailed information on commenters. The point here isn’t what you’re measuring as much as it’s striving to get an accurate read of who you’re communicating with.

Thinking this way, you post whenever you find the optimal window.

Thinking about what your users are doing when they are seeing your message is one really great example of using this sort of thinking in practice (figures prominently in WalktheChat’s “WeChat Posting Time.”) You can see a similar technique based on interactions in Chris Tweten’s “How To Calculate When To Post On Instagram.” The truth is, you could probably come up with an approach like this for just about any metric you could isolate.

I mentioned earlier that I’d only explore those two schools of thought, but I wanted to briefly note the existence of one more, because the truth is that in some circumstances, this level of scrutiny really is overkill.

If, for example, you only post about or around events, this is likely something that you aren’t ever going to need to worry about. By only posting about specific events, you’re already performing this sort of curation — you can post whenever there’s an event you should post about, in whatever format gets the best engagement for the effort required.

But it’s important to recognize that the only reason that exception exists is because there are people who will go out of their way to find content about an event. Were it to not be the case, you would simply alter your thinking accordingly.

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