Is Digital Publishing Becoming Automated?

Written By Jim Kersey
Posted On July 18, 2019

Automation technology has revolutionised the way online publishing is performed today. While not all publishers and media outlets have integrated the same processes into their workflow, we now live in an age where much that was performed manually in the past, can now happen without any manual intervention whatsoever. 

This includes things like content curation; reviewing and editing; links, tags and other meta functions; as well as content personalisation and even content creation in some cases. Many of these advancements are thanks to developments in the world of CMS platforms, which have adapted to meet the changing needs of businesses and online publishing outlets. 

With efficiency and productivity at the core of any good CMS build, the result of gradual progress in this field has been a reduction in the time and cost of content production as well as more effective content targeted at specific audiences. Let’s explore just how far this trend has come. 

More personalisation, not less 

Personalisation is a key part of any successful publishing brand or outlet. Across all sectors, businesses have invested in how their content is personalised to match the needs of specific audiences. 

You might think that automation would lead to more generic content pushed out to greater numbers, but in fact, this isn’t true. With intelligent use of data, more relevant and bespoke experiences can be created for audiences, executed through automated processes.

One such example of this in action is how websites can track user behaviour and build profiles on each visitor. Based on this, your CMS can subsequently tailor the experience you have through automated suggestions, recommendations or offers based on your profile. 

Also, your CMS and website can be designed to alert your marketing team when certain topics are trending. Editorial decisions can then be made based on this new information completely changing the approach that content developers take to planned media coverage or content promotion – delivering the kind of content that individuals want to consume. 

In order to do this however, businesses will already require suitable data networks and analytics tracking in order to measure the activities of each user. Therefore, as more online businesses and publishing brands invest in these foundations, we may see more and more brands offering bespoke and personal experiences for their users. 

Just look at Netflix

If you want to understand how automation leads to personalisation, just look at Netflix. These guys have mastered the way user behaviour and actions translates into recommendations and tailored experiences. Machine learning and automated processes based on data tracking allows the popular streaming platform to curate collections of films and shows for its users based on what it has learnt about them. 

Will machines actually create content too? 

Yes and no. Content which relies less on creativity and originality, and more on set patterns and formulas, can be automated with the help of algorithms that produce new content based on patterns set out by previously published content.

Things like data reports, sports coverage or stock summaries can be compiled quite easily using automation. As long as a suitable system is put in place to extract relevant data and set it out in a predefined layout, this is possible. 

When done right, this can free up the time of any press hub or marketing team from manually crafting the content themselves, perhaps giving them more time to delve into more analytical topics that require the human touch to produce. 

It is hard to see how CMS platforms will be able to churn out hard-hitting and groundbreaking editorial features without any human involvement at all, as unique creative input is always needed for content to stand out. However, it is more than possible for a CMS to help draft articles in rough based on what it already knows about a subject. 

For instance, with the help of tags, links, keywords and an effective archive system, a CMS can gather information from internal sources to compile rough editorial copy that can form the base of a writer’s story. Going beyond internal records might be a little harder to set up, but still, not impossible for those who are willing to invest the time and money into these systems. 

Forbse’s publishing AI

Forbes has been successfully publishing content online for several years. One of its tricks for getting this process right is investing in the right processes that add efficiency and quality to their workflow. The publishing site have ambitiously paired writers and publishing AI systems to help writers develop content with the help of machine assistance. Rather than taking over the role of the writer completely however, these systems are designed to assist and offer added value during the content development process. 

Harnessing automation through your CMS

A growing number of available devices and platforms requires workflow processes that support the publication of content across multiple channels. Automation plays a key role in executing various functions to allow these publishing actions to take place as and when they should.

Without such capacity, the complex production processes that are used by numerous media outlets would be incredibly time-consuming, requiring constant maintenance and review from members of their marketing teams. 

Content can now be easily modified to meet the right requirements for any given platform, with the help of automated CMS processes. For more on this, you can take a look at our recent article on Headless CMS.

In short, automation allows publishers to complete multiple complex tasks faster and more efficiently, in order to streamline the publishing process and even improve the quality of the content that is produced. 

If you want, you’re CMS can be designed to execute a variety of automated jobs based on pre-assigned automated workflows. 

Examples of publishing automation 

  • Fact checking
  • Trend spotting
  • Article drafting
  • Data gathering
  • Improve workflow
  • Links, tags and meta input
  • User recommendations and suggestions 
  • User behaviour alerts to inform editorial decisions 

Securing the future of journalism?

Reuters Institute’s annual report surveyed over 200 editors, CEOs and digital leaders, in 29 countries and found that over three-quarters (78%) think it is important to invest more in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help secure the future of journalism – but not as an alternative to employing more editors.

Integrating automation 

For some online media outlets and publishing brands, AI and automation is already very real and is integrated into everyday work processes. As experiments and investments from major players proves to show strong results, it’s natural that more and more automation trends will become mainstream. 

There are some celar concerns from those in the publishing industry that this trend is gradually impacting on job security for a great many people, however, while this may be true in a sense, the best automated systems are those that work collaboratively with humans to improve the quality of content, or simply free up time for individuals to invest in more important tasks that require human involvement.  

Jim Kersey
Content Creator
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