Why Today is a Bad Day to Publish Your Newsletter

You know how much I like to be ironic. Well, today’s brief newsletter is about why today is a bad day to publish a newsletter (see what I mean?).

The reason today’s a bad day? Big snowstorm hitting the northeast.

Not all of you are in the northeast, of course, but many are. And today, we’re all fixated on the big storm.

Schools are closed, supermarket shelves are bare and it’s all over the news.

And so if you publish today – particularly if yours is a monthly and we won’t hear from you for another 30 days – you’re trying to reach people at a time when they are very distracted.

It’s a temporary thing, but it’s very big.

Same goes for Superbowl Sunday, the week between Christmas and New Years, the last week of August, etc.

One of the questions I hear most often from people regarding newsletters is “When’s the best time to publish?” I don’t think there is a best time so much as there are worst times. I try to avoid those.

That means Monday mornings (lots of people looking for things to delete), overnight (every morning is a mini-Monday morning), major holidays and days like today, where people are distracted.

Yes, a schedule is important. But that’s more for you (to have a routine) than for your readers, most of whom are unaware of your “second Friday of the month” rhythm anyway. You can bump it to next Tuesday just this once.

So for today – and all the “days like today” in your future – consider a postponement.

 

 

32 thoughts on “Why Today is a Bad Day to Publish Your Newsletter

  1. Caroline O'Brien

    Glorious sunshine, 84 degrees F, crystal clear waters, 5 ft rolling surf, squeakly clean white sand and gentle breeze blowing here in Lake Macquarie Australia! Come visit us sometime 🙂
    Good luck with the big storm.
    Caroline

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Let me tell you, Caroline, between the terrific Australians I’ve met/corresponded with and all I’ve read about your beautiful country, it is on my list!

      Reply
  2. Charlotte Davis

    Actually, I was thinking that it was a great day to read your newsletter! I’m sitting in my 23rd floor office in Toronto watching the cars crawl up Yonge Street in the big storm. It’s so quiet here to today because hardly anyone came in to work. That leaves me feeling less stressed than usual and very happy to take 5 minutes to read Michael Katz’s never-fail humour and words of wisdom. Oh well…something to look forward to next Tuesday….

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Thanks Janet! I have to confess I’m kind of looking forward to looking out the window tomorrow morning and seeing what we’ve got for snow. Got the snow blower ready to go and everything’s been cancelled. Fun once in a while!

      Reply
  3. Jack Pignatello

    It’s a terrible day to publish, but a great day to write one! I just had to call myself to see if the phone was working!

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Yes, very, very quiet today here as well. I didn’t even go to my office, been sitting at home all day.

      Reply
  4. Cassandra Bromfield

    Well I was the one that “published” my letter on Super Bowl Sunday. “Let’s Get Married!” went out and to my surprise I didn’t get lowered opens. I know that this is true, to not mail on such a big event weekend and I don’t even know why I didn’t contemplate that reasoning, but go figure. Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you just feel like publishing.

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Exceptions to everything, Cassandra! And, the bigger point is really to just be concious of when you mail and why. And yes, sometimes you just want to pull the newsletter trigger!

      Reply
  5. Mark Hill

    Great viewpoint/perspective, Michael. I get that from my clients all the time: “When is the best time to publish?!?” and I’m right there with you — don’t try for the “best” time, just try to avoid the times that may be the worst.
    Good luck with the storm!

    Reply
  6. Carole

    Sorry to hear about your bad weather. Guess what? It might rain here in England tomorrow. Um, what is a snow blower?

    Reply
  7. Elaine Johnston

    Thanks so much Michael…was about to send out my monthly newsletter today…wanted to get it done and done before leaving for a business trip February 10 – 24, 2013. Even though I’m in Tennessee and most of my readers are from my neck of the woods, many of them have family and friends living through the blizzard, myself included.

    I’ll have my laptop with me so guess I’ll put it off until Tuesday as you suggest. Use Constant Contact, and as you know, they make it a breeze to work with them no matter where you are…

    Thanks again and be careful out there. Know you’ll be right in the middle of things.

    elaine j

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Elaine, why don’t you just schedule it now to go out next week so you can go off and forget about it?!! One less thing to think about while you’re gone.

      Reply
  8. Doug Sowerbutts

    Being consistant on the same day of the month is important to me….I recieve your Newsletter Saturday mornings which suits me fine,,,I have the time to read it and I am more relaxed and am more responsive to the contents. It sounds like a BIG storm is brewing up…I would like to experience it for a couple of hours only. Keep warm…

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Survived without incident, Doug! Looks like about 20 inches out there (that’s 500 kilometers, I believe, if you’re metric). Kind of fun actually!

      Reply
  9. Joyce S. Kaye

    Be safe! We’re expecting “weather” here too, but certainly not as severe as in your neck of the woods. Best regards, Joyce, ex-NYer (are we ever “ex-“?), now Sedona, Arizonian.

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Hello Joyce! All went well, thank you. I wouldn’t mind sitting out on your back deck right now though, I have to admit.

      Reply
  10. Stuart Gough

    Extremely ironic, your email/newsletter arrived an hour before my monthly newsletter was scheduled to go out. I have postponed it until tomorrow. Interesting to see what effect it has on the open/click rates. You are of course completely responsible and will no doubt be as keen as I to see the results.
    Best
    Stuart Gough
    Passport Yachts Europe

    Reply
      1. Stuart Gough

        I delayed by 24hrs as you suggested. Normally my open rate is 50 – 55% with a click through rate of 48% within the first 48 hrs. I believe this is above average, but I have a so called niche clientele base, so I feel that is about right.
        However, I have to report, that as of this moment the open rate for my delayed newsletter is a miserly 28% and it was sent out 26hrs ago. Your reputation is in the balance my friend and the European sailing trip is also hanging by a thread. How say you?

        Reply
        1. Michael Katz Post author

          Say I: The yacht, I mean ship, has not sailed yet. What matters is how many people eventually read it, and so with the day delay, the 48 rule might not work as it usually does.
          I also would have delayed until *tomorrow*, since bumping it one day didn’t really get you out of the storm craziness and those who are at work today are in heavy delete mode.
          Let me know – my bags are already packed for that trip!

          Reply
  11. Evelyn Starr

    I received your newsletter a half-hour after I sent my second-Friday-of-the-month newsletter. So far the open and response rate is consistent with past newsletters. People stuck inside with electronic devices seem to be reading.

    Michael, have you ever heard Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist at Hubspot, present his Science of Email Marketing stats? I’ve seen him do this twice in Hubspot’s free webinars. His data shows that emails (and blog posts for that matter) sent on Saturday and Sunday are most likely to get read. As for time of day, for any day the earlier the better. His explanation is that people like to read their email in the morning like they read the paper.

    Reply

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