The key to high engagement is… timing

Quantity and quality are all well and good but a well-chosen moment can push your content into the stratosphere

It’s an old joke:

– “What’s the secret to good comedy?”

– “I don’t know. What is the se…“

– “Timing.”

This week, Content Desk was lucky enough to attend the WAVE 2017 Influence 2.0 Marketing Summit in London, organised by Qube Media. The event featured various marketing heavy-hitters and looked at social influence, advocacy and engagement.

Alongside in-depth discussions of how influencers and advocates are a must for any brand communications, there was another underlying theme that grabbed my attention: the importance of knowing when to publish.

Content in context

Copa90 is a football media group with a difference. Its interest is only vaguely on the game itself – or at least, the action on the pitch. As far as Phil Mitchelson, marketing director at Copa90, is concerned, that stuff is comprehensively covered elsewhere.

Instead, Copa90 positions itself as the voice of football fans. The camera is turned on those watching football, and the stories behind their love of the game. Videos are sent in from fans across the globe, memes are created at breakneck speed and the content is ‘from fans, for fans’. Not, as with traditional platforms, from old ex-pros in shiny suits.

And the idea is working. More than a billion content views, 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube and over 500 creators in 50+ countries are testament to that. When Copa90 has something to say about engagement, it’s worth listening.

Work to the audience’s clock

Copa90’s aim is to put the audience in the spotlight. Appropriately therefore, its eye is also firmly on publishing content around the audience’s schedule. In their case, that audience has been identified as predominantly male and very young.

Snapchat stories are pushed at 7.45am to grab the rush of viewers heading to the school bus. More content goes out at five-to each hour – to accompany that walk along the corridors between a maths and science lesson. In Copa90’s view, you can’t second-guess an audience, you need to be that audience – or at least surround yourself with the right demographic. If the company’s 41-year-old CEO likes a video they’ve produced, says Phil, they know they’re on the wrong track.

Looking at B2B content is no different. Who are you talking to – CEOs, finance directors or HR execs? When (and where) are they checking emails or browsing social media? If you don’t know that, how can you be expected to pop up on their radar at the right time?

A co-ordinated effort

When to publish is not the only thing you need to consider. To give your content the best possible chance at flying post-publish, you need to have your ducks in a row.

In a different session at the summit, Steve Rayson, director at BuzzSumo, advocated spending 50% of your time creating the content, and the other 50% on content amplification. And that means priming influencers and contributors to share the content in sync.

When approaching contributors, consider how their input will help spread the content once it’s published. Seek out relevant contributors for the subject and let them know the precise time and date of publication. Then, just before it goes live, prompt them that they should get ready to share through their personal channels. They are unlikely to refuse and will most likely be glad of the reminder. We’re all in this together, after all.

Buck the trend

Steve also showed a striking, if somewhat dispiriting, graph. Over the last seven years, there has been more and more content published. However, the rate of engagement with content has veered downwards. Is it content saturation point? Maybe – but it’s more likely due to content fatigue.

It’s not such a simple equation though. While we may have reached saturation for some subject areas, there is always a steady supply of new ones entering the fray. There was no call for articles about fake news 18 months ago. Now, such articles are highly read – content creators can’t write them fast enough.

And that comes down to judging the public mood or more accurately, your audience’s mood. If timing is everything then you can’t afford to be one step removed from the people you’re talking to. Find your audience, listen to what they’re talking about and add value to the conversation. Brian Solis, principle analyst at Altimeter Group opened the summit with a session entitled RIP Influencer Marketer. One line in particular rang true: “In a marketing role, we can never be the person we’re trying to reach. In our real life, we are that person.”

Timing is everything – so cut out the middle-man and seek out your audience wherever they are.

Editor's pick

Most popular