Stategically publishing content — instead of simply publishing when something is ready — is key for growing audience.

“Every platform that you publish content on has an a different ideal publishing time, depending on when your audience is actually publishing on it,” Victoria Fine, CEO of Finally and former director of strategy and audience development at Slate Magazine, explained at the INMA/WWMN Big Data for Media Conference in New York City.

“People may come to your site during a specific time frame, but they may use your Facebook page, your Twitter account, and your other distributed media accounts differently. So what you should do is understand the optimum publishing time for each platform.”

Platforms such as Facebook allow you to see your peak engagement times.

“You want to take your best stories and publish them at the beginning of that peak publishing time so that they have the entire day to long tail. The worst thing you can do is publish a piece of content immediately when it’s done with no thought as to whether or not your audience is online.”

Fine thinks about media growth on distributed platforms in two ways:

  1. To increase the amount of content that you’re doing for an audience that’s hungry for it.
  2. To consider every piece that you’re publishing and to optimise it to become a hit so you’re only publishing things you know will perform well.

“Volume is obviously key no matter what your distribution plan is. Because if you have a velocity of content, you’re going to be able to feed any algorithmic machine off of your site to drive more traffic for you.

“But at a certain point, every distribution platform becomes saturated.”

To counter that reality, news media companies can optimise their content increasingly — producing fewer yet well-optimised pieces of content. The second option of increasing volume focuses on expanding the number of platforms published on.

What you do not want to do is continue to increase volume if engagement is decreasing, Fine said: “Its running faster on the safe treadmill rather than deciding a different path to get to the same high-yield results of traffic.”