Publishers deliver more for less with AI automation

AI automation
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Tightening economic conditions are adding to the commercial challenges publishers face. While there is little to be done about rising costs, organizations are eyeing AI automation as a way to optimize content performance and maximize the ROI of their content production.

  • Antoine Amann, founder and CEO of publishing automation firm Echobox, has said AI can reduce costs and increase ROI in many ways. But, writing in DCN, he spotlights two use cases that are particularly applicable to publishers: 
    • Optimizing decisions at scale using real-time and granular data to improve performance and yield.
    • Automating tedious, repetitive tasks to reduce time, and costs, spent on these processes.
  • Amann noted the widely held industry belief that only larger publishers can successfully integrate AI and automation. But he doesn’t believe publishers need the financial resources of larger organizations to invest in developing and implementing AI systems. He said:

Ready-made, third-party AI solutions require far fewer resources and can be implemented within the existing framework of a publisher’s workflow.

AI In use

In his DCN article, Amann shares some examples of AI in action, with a particular focus on content distribution strategies, increasing output and improving performance without increasing resource costs.

Scaling output
For smaller publishing teams, AI can be a cost-effective way to scale coverage and create engagement. From curating content to writing and posting social media and email messages, publishers can automate the entire distribution workflow. The non-profit San Antonio Report runs its social media presence without any staff dedicated to social channels.

Extend coverage
Newsrooms are using automation to fill gaps. The South China Morning Post supplements its social media teams to cover unsociable hours; automation allows it to serve a global audience 24/7. The newspaper can respond to stories that break overnight or at the weekend without investing in out-of-hours staff.

Maintain referral traffic
The major platforms make regular adjustments to their algorithm. These changes can have a serious, negative,  impact on referral traffic and advertising revenue. Using AI, publishers can stay responsive to these changes. By monitoring huge datasets automatically, they can spot patterns and trends and react to changes quickly.

Add value
Content creation requires investment. AI is helping publishers maximize the ROI on their content by optimizing reach and exposure. Reposting stories on social platforms is a cost-effective way to maintain a stream of social content and AI can calculate the best time to post and repost automatically. Amann said:

Our research shows that reposted content offers significant value, gaining an average of 67% of the clicks a piece generated the first time around.

Avoid guesswork
Understanding your audience is crucial. Publishers including The Telegraph are running A/B tests on Facebook posts to judge the importance of certain stylistic choices, shorter headlines for example. AI supports journalists, editorial and social media staff by automating the testing process or suggesting subjects to test based on algorithmic analysis. There is a similar use case in email newsletters, running ‘continuous and complex multivariate tests’ to optimize emails for individual subscribers.

The future

Amann sees AI performing multiple publishing functions, from data analysis and social media management to audience development. And, as technology costs fall, use cases will multiply.

By leveraging its power, publishers can generate significant efficiency gains, reduce costs, and free up vital human resources to focus on activities that elaborate their distinct value proposition and ultimately drive ROI.

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