When is important for one simple reason – there’s too much stuff and too little time. Like Henry Bemis, we’re all stuck in a world where there’s not enough time to consume all of the intriguing books, blog posts and papers. Because of that, we’re forced to pick, choose and prioritize based on what lands in front of us at any given moment.
Right now, there could be an amazing article that will solve all of life’s dilemmas on my Facebook feed. But by the time I get to that feed later today, it will have been pushed down by a dozen more posts from friends and family. I’ll skim the first few posts then move on without ever seeing that life-changing article.
Now, if that article hit my feed around eleven o’clock tonight, there’s a 99% chance that I’d see it and click. That’s my reading time and it’s also a quiet time for my friends and family so that post will stay at the top of my list until morning.
Timing really is everything.
Which brings us to the results of LinkedIn’s “when do you read” survey.
They found that most people fell into one of three categories: On the Clock (40%), Off the Clock (40%) and Around the Clock (20%). The trick is knowing where you target audience lands since the first two are pretty evenly divided.
On the Clock people know how to compartmentalize. They do the majority of their work-related content reading while they’re at work. These well adjusted workers even take a lunch break and very few will pick up business materials after dinner. They’re also less likely to read on the weekend. For the most-part, when they’re off the clock, they’re off.
Off the Clock people don’t have time to read while they’re performing their daily duties, so they read during traditional downtimes such as lunch and bedtime. They’re also much more likely to read professional materials on the weekend and while they’re on vacation. LinkedIn says this could be because they have highly structured or high stress jobs that don’t allow them to do anything but work, work, work. Think stock trader, nurse or teacher.
Around the Clock people are a small segment who can’t consume enough content in a day. 76% take public transportation to work so that’s prime time for catching up on all kinds of content. Used to be the daily news, but now, thanks to smartphones and tablets, commuters can consume all kinds of work-related content while they ride.
Now all you have to do is figure out which segment describes your audience. Better yet, put up a poll and ask them. If a large portion of your followers are commuters, get those articles up early before the day begins. Highly structured industry? Post articles late in the day for evening consumption.
Here’s another idea; create a downloadable file with 5 of your best articles. Offer it at the beginning of the week and encourage followers to load it on to their mobile devices so they can access the content whenever they have a free moment. That way you don’t have to worry about posting time because your work will already be there when the reader is ready.