One of the most important challenges for online publishers staring down the 24-7 news cycle is understanding what content draws in website visitors, and why. This idea was the focus of a recent Computerworld article by Parse.ly CEO Sachin Kamdar.
Given the sheer volume of online media properties, it’s impossible to propose a single solution to this problem. Instead, publishers must consider a variety of factors in their own content creation and publishing processes to figure out what will best help them to reach their unique goals.
Below are four questions to ask yourself as you endeavor to amplify your content.
When are readers on my site?
When do you typically see the most traffic? When are your loyal readers looking to you for content? Do your weekday numbers differ from the weekend? Identifying your busiest site times is a great place to start in developing meaningful digital deadlines.
What are they reading?
Does my audience read different types of stories at different times? Keeping track of which topics are popular throughout the day, week, and month will help you to make more targeted decisions about when and how to publish your content. A short post about local traffic, for example, might do well just before the weekday commute; but, your readers might be looking for a “listicle” about travel on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.
Which topics and article formats perform best on your site at any given time? Examining these trends in your data will help you to offer exactly what your readers are looking for throughout the news cycle.
How are they accessing content?
What kind of screens are readers viewing your content on? Learning what devices readers are using to access your posts can tell you what they’re doing as they read your site, or what they’re interested in reading about. According to recent polling data, nearly 80 percent of smartphone owners are now using their mobile devices for regular news consumption. Tracking the peak times and the lull times for different devices can help you post relevant mobile content when it’s most likely to be consumed.
What content is your audience reading on their mobile devices vs. desktop, and how can you time your online publishing to match these trends?
What role does social media play?
How are your readers using social media platforms, and what are the general trends in terms of timing? One third of Americans report getting their news content from Facebook, and other social media outlets are becoming increasingly popular as well. Close to 40 percent of referrals to Parse.ly’s network of nearly 400 digital publishers are from social media. So, online publishers are rightfully interested in figuring out the optimal times for social media sharing, and there’s plenty of data out there to get you started on understanding these general trends.
Which social media platforms generate the most referrals to your content, and when? Examining the trends specific to your audience is a critical step to ensuring that your deadlines complement readers’ social media usage.
Distributing content thoughtfully gives digital publishers the best chance of reaching potentially loyal readers with the content they want, when they want it. Beyond the four questions above, what else do you consider before posting your content?
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