Glossy magazines from BMW and Mercedes don't follow a pattern I can spot. They seem random. I don't anticipate them. I don't know if I've missed an issue. Compare that with Wired, which arrives monthly. I don't know the target date but I know the frequency.
If you're sending an electronic publication like a newsletter, a quarterly publication is very easy for subscribers to overlook. We get so much email. If you published monthly instead, you've tripled your chances of getting seen and read. Besides, you get readership results sooner.
In contrast, Best Buy sends an email on Fridays and sometimes on other days of the week for special events. These are predictable and random. That works. You can usually buy right way, unless they’re having an “after hours” sale.
A quarterly publication likely takes more work but may not create the same impact since your readers may receive it at the wrong time for them. What if they wanted to buy last month?
ResourcesWhat’s done quarterly feels like a project while monthly feels like routine work. More important, you build anticipation in your audience with a higher frequency.
We aren't constrained by page size or number of pages any more. We've eliminated the time and money that goes into printing. We can use a fraction of those resources to commit to a more frequent schedule.
HabitsYou may feel you don’t have enough time to publish monthly. That's good because you’re then motivated to find ways to get faster. Maybe you compromise slightly on the quality (more like a blog post than a magazine article). Does that really matter? Remember the 80/20 rule.
It's easy to procrastinate if you publish quarterly. There seems to be so much time. Besides, if you're late by a day or two, who will know? With a mailed publication, they won't. With email they will. Worse, they can quickly refer back to past issues to see if you were consistent.
ExampleI published a monthly newsletter on the second Thursday of the month at 10 AM for 42 consecutive months. I posted the schedule for the year online to make the commitment public (and as a reminder to me). After a while, you don't want to miss a date.
Blogging is similar. There's a fresh post here each Tuesday. Activities which are daily, weekly or monthly become routine and scheduled. Quarterly and annual are tougher.
Why not the first day or last day of the month? The pattern would be easier to engrain but the day of the week keeps changing. Some issues would go out on weekends or holidays. That might matter. Who's going to read on December 31st or January 1st? Also, scheduling your work gets more complicated since you're doing things on different days of the week each month. That may be suboptimal for your workflow.
If You Must Be QuarterlyIf you must do some marketing quarterly, can you pick a memorable day? For example,
- the start of a new season (Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec)
- the second of Jan, Apr, Jul, Sep (the start of a new calendar quarter)
- the first of Nov, Feb, May, Aug (perhaps less competition)