Stop Trying to Nail Down Your Best Publishing Days

It’s about more than the day of the week

Pamela Hazelton
Nov 7, 2020 · 4 min read
Unmarked calendar propped up on a desk, next to pen, paper, glasses and coffee mug.
Unmarked calendar propped up on a desk, next to pen, paper, glasses and coffee mug.
Photo by @fabrikasimf — premium license via Freepik

I’m going against the grain here, but research speaks for itself. The idea writers should avoid self-publishing on the weekends could be costing you readers. So can trying to nail down the best time to submit to publications to ensure your story goes live at ideal times.

I’ve seen the stats of many writers, pointing out significant drops on the weekends. Yet, I regularly see better traffic on Sundays than Thursdays and Fridays. And on stories published just any old time.

In October 2020, my most significant spike on Medium happened on a Sunday. In almost every week this year, weekends were not the “dead zone” for views and reads.

Bar graph showing spikes on Sundays.
Bar graph showing spikes on Sundays.
Screenshot by the author

What affects readership

Many issues affect readership and views, making it nearly impossible to compare apples to apples.

Whether it be politics, social media trends, or celebrity news, what’s going on in the world can affect visits and reads, no matter the day.

I published For the Love of Eddie Van Halen on the Thursday after he passed. Medium curated it that Sunday and readership spiked, resulting in one of my best reading days ever.

Parler has also been making recent headlines, which breathed new life into one of my early stories about the platform. It was published on a Sunday in June, and the article saw its largest spike on October 18th — a Sunday.

The day’s headlines can help push stories to a trending status, but so can tomorrow’s and next month’s. No matter your audience, what’s going on in the world will affect a story’s traction.

Who makes up your target audience? People’s professional life and interests determine when they spend time online and what they spend that time doing. A single mom may only have time to read late at night when the kids are in bed. A commuter who takes the train to work might be scanning stories an hour or two every weekday. A small business owner may only read on the weekends when the shop is closed.

If you have a niche following, you can better gauge when regular readers are most apt to be online, ready to absorb new information. For most writers, though, readers’ habits are varied.

As I write this, the US is impatiently waiting for the final 2020 Presidential election results. Thus, politically-driven stories and social movements are prominent across most networks. After a time, this will shift to more post-election commentary until the ultra-popularity of political headlines fade and something else takes their place.

Hot content changes regularly, so it’s tough to decide exactly when to publish any type of story. Just know that what shows in readers’ feeds is based primarily on algorithms you have little control over.

Not every publication is the same, and some have a good grasp on the best time to push things to their followers. Publication newsletters and spotlight posts can rejuvenate a writers’ work on any given day.

Focus on what to write, submit or publish next

Forget the days of the week. The beauty of publishing on writing/reading platforms is the ability to control how things are marketed. If data shows your best time to market on Facebook is 8am on a Tuesday, that’s when you should hype your story or article. Best times will vary across social media networks, so your marketing schedule should be optimized per network, not per piece. This allows you to engage people the best way on each channel and gain more readers overall. And isn’t that the real goal here? To introduce ourselves to as many authentic readers as possible?

There is no perfect launch time that works for everyone. Clicking the self-publish button merely triggers the algorithms. It does nothing to guarantee when all the traffic is going to flow in. So unless you have a massive loyal following of real readers, stop worrying so much about the days, and worry more about what you’re going to share with the world next.

Pamela Hazelton is an avid writer, marketer and business consultant. She’s an editor of 2 Minute Madness, Small Business Strong and The Work+Life Balance on Medium, and manages the Small Biz Strong Substack. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Parler.

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Thanks to Toni Koraza

Pamela Hazelton

Written by

Avid writer, marketer & business consultant. // Reward yourself a little every day. 🆆🅾🆁🅺 + 🅻🅸🅵🅴 🅱🅰🅻🅰🅽🅲🅴

Write, I Must

On finding great ideas, overcoming hurdles, and digitally publishing.

Pamela Hazelton

Written by

Avid writer, marketer & business consultant. // Reward yourself a little every day. 🆆🅾🆁🅺 + 🅻🅸🅵🅴 🅱🅰🅻🅰🅽🅲🅴

Write, I Must

On finding great ideas, overcoming hurdles, and digitally publishing.

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