If you publish corporate material on an intranet presumably you want staff to read it. Yet how many communicators really think about when is right time to publish for maximum impact? Steve Nichols of InfoTech Communications takes a closer look.
The easy answer is to publish your content when you have something to say. But this presupposes that your audience is same, whatever time of day, or day of week. This is just not so. The type of content management system (CMS) in use on most intranets just exacerbates problem.
Most CMS work on a scrolling, "first in, first out" basis, with new news being given priority. Once three or four stories have been published, any previous content is pushed either off screen or appears "below fold", needing a scroll to see it. This means that for maximum readability an important news story must be left on its own for a period of a few hours at top of tree.
Once three or four more stories have been published on top it effectively becomes invisible. But content management aside, is there a right time to publish? Anyone working in an office will know that Mondays and Fridays are usually favourite days for holidays or "sickies". The extended weekend, whether approved or not, is fact of life within most organisations. The truth is that if you publish important news material on either of these days a large percentage of your readers may never see it.
Core days tend to be Tuesday through Thursday, although you can never guarantee any given day will give you maximum exposure. If any of these butts up against a public holiday then, again, you may miss staff. So given that midweek is best, what about timing? This is another difficult question, and will depend upon your workforce and nature of their work. Before 9am is probably a no-no, and period between noon and 2pm will catch many at lunch. Leave it until after 3.30pm and chances are that some will be heading home.