When and How to Repost Content
You know that not all of your readers share the same schedule. Someone may find a piece of content that’s important to them — that solves some burning question or struggle — days, weeks, or even months after you initially posted it. You also know that the struggle to avoid getting lost in the shuffle is real.
The truth is, the timing of a message can be just as important as its content. Individual teams and departments in businesses of all types know this fact, and have developed best practices based on either their own intuition, their analytics, or what they’ve seen competitors do. But are there other guidelines available?
In our 2016 Smart Social Report: Volume Five (and our Social Media Pocket Guide), we dove in to answer this question. For example, when planning on republishing an existing message, does your new Tweet or status update need new copy — or will the old suffice? With the weekend coming, should your content team have new blog posts waiting to go live, or is reusing assets their best strategy? With all of the competing publishing voices on social media, is it even possible to determine a signal from the noise?
The data and the initial trends
Here’s how our research and insights team found answers to these questions: They gathered 12 months of Tweets from Buzzfeed, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Hollywood Life on Twitter. Then they opened all the links — more than 170,000 of them — to see when the same web page had been pointed to more than once.
They found some immediate trends:
- Links are essential: 94% of all Tweets contained a link
- Reposting is expected: 33% of all links were posted more than once
- The best content gets re-posted: A link that was eventually reposted had 33% higher performance on average on its first run than links which were posted only once.
OK, so when should I post?
Publishers’ posting patterns allow us to infer best practices both for debuting content and for sharing it again. We grouped all of the content that was eventually re-posted at least once in our database by the hour it was posted and if it was the first or second time the link had been shared.
We found that first-run content is predominantly posted in the morning and then peaks around noon. At that same time (noon), publishers were least likely to be sharing content a second time. Instead, for reposting, there was an initial jump beginning at 3 p.m. and then a steady increase in reposting throughout the evening and into the night.
Another way our team considered the data was to group the same set of posts by the day of the week they were posted. First-run content is posted most often during the working week, reaching its peak on Thursday before falling off. However, when that content is shared again (becoming reposted content), the pattern is consistent no matter the day of the week — and on the weekend, reposts see twice as much volume as original content.
How to Keep your Content Alive
There’s much more detail in our Smart Social Report: Volume Five, but it’s worth noting: sometimes intuition can lead to the same conclusions as data, but it’s always best to see if data bears your hunches out. Here’s how the content reposting lifecycle can help inform other marketing efforts:
- Craft multiple messages: It was very uncommon for re-posted content to have the same copy as the original messages. The publishers have shown that to maintain interest it’s worth re-messaging content, even if it was successful on its first run. Content that was re-messaged performed 15% better than content that only used one set of copy.
- Time appropriately: Knowing that content will be reused will help your team to produce multiple images and target specific times of day when audiences are available to view content. At the very least, plan on posting in the morning and afternoon for new announcements and place older content in the queue during evenings and on the weekends, when people are catching up on their feeds.
- Check back in: Analyze the performance of your content over time and set benchmarks noting when to take it out the lineup. If you find a previous all-star content item not meeting your average engagement standards, consider waiting longer before reposting the content again, refreshing it entirely, or letting it go and starting a new campaign.