Newsletter Schedule: How To Set This The Right Way

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Timing is everything. How many good initiatives have failed because of poor timing? Unfortunately, when newsletters are concerned, timing is even more important. If you want your newsletter to be read, you need to know how to schedule it.

Plan for Delivery in the Morning

News happens all the time but your newsletter, even though it has ‘news’ in its name, isn’t Reuters or CNN to report news the moment it happens (or shortly thereafter). It is highly unlikely that your users are checking their mailboxes every minute in anticipation for your newsletter.

Rather, it is just the other way round. You need to plan your newsletter to be delivered when your readers are checking their inboxes because of the other emails they are getting. You need to do your best to fit into your readers’ attention span. This is why you can’t publish your newsletter whenever you want to but only when your readers are already tuned it.

schedule you newsletter

The best time to have a newsletter delivered is in the morning. For many people the first thing to do when they go to the office (or even when they get up at home) is check for emails received overnight. If your newsletter is there when this check is performed, it stands a better chance to be opened. If the content inside is valuable, the user will either visit it right away, or mark it for later use.

On the contrary, when your newsletter is delivered in the afternoon, or even worse – in the evening, your readers are busy with other things and even if they notice it, the best they will do is set it aside for later use (which usually means the next day when the newsletter is already old). You just need to take these reading habits in account because timing alone can make or break your open rates.

Always Publish at the Same Interval

In addition to the time of the day when your newsletter lands in your recipients’ inboxes, another timing factor to consider is the interval at which you publish it. I already mentioned you can’t publish an issue every time something newsworthy happens, or whenever you simply want to. You need to develop a schedule because this creates a habit in your readers.

If you want your readers to say, “Hey, I didn’t get my newsletter today! I miss it!”, you must create a publishing schedule and stick to it. If you have lots to say, then it is easy because you can publish daily (same time each day, remember).

If you don’t have that much stuff to include, you can publish three, two, or even one time(s) a week but you need to be consistent – i.e. if it is three times, always publish on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, for example and stick to it for a long time. Test which days the readership is best and stick to them. Sometimes Mondays (post-weekend) and Fridays (pre-weekend) are poor in readership but this varies from one topic to the next.

If you are publishing a monthly newsletter, then you might not stick to the day that strictly. However, it will always be good, if you publish let’s say on the first/second/third, etc. Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday, etc. (or at least in the first/second/third/fourth, etc. week) of the month because this also creates a habit.

Special Issues Are for Special Events Only

You might think that such a strict schedule is boring and it ties your hands. What if there is an important message I need to communicate and the next issue is days ahead? Of course, under special circumstances, when there are special events, you can have a special issue.

However, if you misuse the special issue concept and start issuing special issues there is nothing special about, soon you’ll lose the interest of your readers because they might remember the last few times you had a ‘special issue’ with nothing special inside and they will simply disregard your message. This is why you need to be careful with special issues and use them only when you really have to.

To an outsider, these timing tips might sound strange but to everybody, who has had the pleasure to deal with newsletters and ponder why the open rate is so low when the issue is ground-breaking, they are more than welcome. I hope they will help you, too.

This guest post was written by Ada Ivanova. Ada is the Blogger Relations Manager at WinkPress, which is a web resource about leveraging WordPress, its themes, and plugins to create versatile and unusual websites. Visit the site to learn more about WordPress newsletter plugins.

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  1. Michelle

    Oops! I’ve been sending mine out every evening before I go to bed. Thanks for all the tips!

    1. Samie

      I’ve been doing the same thing! At least now we know better. Thanks for the great guest post!

  2. Mike

    This is all very solid information about newsletter success, and one more thing I would add is to make sure that the titles and graphics of the newsletter are attention-grabbing in some way. Whether it’s open-ended questions, or clever witticisms, you want to make sure that once your readers have opened it, they will actually read it all the way through. I had a problem with the person writing my newsletters making them very dry, not good for keeping readers interested.

    1. Affmaster

      Mike, in case you haven’t already looked into it, there are sites out there where you can hire people who can do that for you professionally online. A lot of people will charge minimally for something as simple as a newsletter, and it saves you the time from doing it yourself. It could be worth looking into.

  3. Anon

    I really don’t think people even read newsletters. Maybe %50 of them will skim them but more than likely won’t retain any of it. People nowadays see newsletters as spam.

    1. Sarah

      Maybe you say that because you haven’t had much luck with newsletters, but that could be because you haven’t been following some of these tips! I use newsletters very often and have seen very good results, don’t underestimate the power of a good newsletter!

    2. Anon

      I understand what you’re saying, Sarah, but one thing to take into account is what your audience is. I can almost guarantee you that there’s a generational difference in approaches to email, the younger generations ignore it and focus on other media (whatever is new and trending) and the older the audience gets the more attention they will pay to newsletter emails. It could be that what works for some does not work for others, but I respect your opinion, and wish you the best of luck!

    3. Sarah

      That’s some solid feedback :) Thanks, and best of luck to you too!

    4. Affmaster

      This is a very good point. The audience must always be taken into account. I wonder if there’s any research to support what you’re proposing, Anon, that generation effects how people view emails and newsletters.

  4. Chris

    Nice guest post! Just to add a little tidbit of my own wisdom, I always try to keep newsletters short, simple, and to the point. Even the most avid readers won’t want to take the time out of their day to read an essay. Break up paragraphs into bite-sized chunks, easy to process and simple. Your readers will thank you for it!

    1. Liz

      Oooh, that’s some good advice there too! All of this has been very helpful! What a great guest post and comment thread!

  5. Amanda@buysellwordpress

    I’m among those people who check my e-mail only in the morning, after this I have a lot of work to do and that’s why I don’t look at it. So I also agree with you that it’s better to send letters at this time

  6. Ada

    It might be logical to send a newsletter at the end of the day but since the delivery is almost instant, unless you have thousands of subscribers and the mail server can’t handle them all at once, when people get a newsletter in the evening, they might be out with friends, or watch TV, or do something else and they will disregard everything that looks work-related. Thanks for the feedback.
    Btw, I will be curious to know if the results improve after you begin sending the newsletter in the morning.

  7. Gorman

    Looks like someone is following their own advice about guest posts building blog credibility. :) It’s totally working, that was a great post!

  8. Jony

    It’s funny how a lot of these tips seem like common sense, but it seems like nobody has been adhering to them. Glad to have read this.

  9. Ada

    Right, many of us have a problem with common sense – i.e. the things that are too obvious to see. :))

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