There is little doubt that big data has an increasing influence on digital publishing. The online environment is ideal for providing a world of industry data, related resources and media to users and advertisers, so that they can gain broader knowledge of their area of interest.  In this capacity lies great potential for publishers to drive deeper content engagement and monetization.   What’s more, user data—the information gathered about each user—provides publishers a tactical understanding of the audience and their needs.  The more data you have about your customers, the more you can present relevant data to them in the proper context. Incorporating more data into both layers of your publishing strategy should be a priority. 

We know that readers are looking for more immersive, interactive experiences across multiple devices. The availability of data that they can not only access easily but also analyze and share, creates a richer reader experience and presents an opportunity for publishers to further personalize content and showcase expertise and resources. Providing reliable data with key, unique insights can build on your existing content and engage your audience more deeply.  

Yet, incorporating data still presents some challenges, as the technology continues to evolve. Namely:

  • Connecting data silos. Large volumes of data are still a challenge to bring online, due to licensing roadblocks, as well the simple scale of effort it takes to create online components to present different types of data and also convert them to suit a variety of devices.
  • Architectural shortcuts. Many content management systems were developed without the type of flexibility and scalability required to meet the technological requirements posed by incorporating big data into online content.

The good news is you have time to consider the future implications of the data/content evolution and prepare for when data isn’t just appreciated, but expected from your readers. Start with these foundational steps:

  • Identify the kind of data that is relevant to your audience and how you can deliver it creatively and insightfully.
  • Examine your content strategy and make sure your content management platform has the agility to match the pace of changing technology and customer behavior.
  • Test the tenacity and adaptability of your team/vendors. Are they competent with the platform you have in place and do you have team members who are looking into the future and thinking creatively about how to adapt and flourish?
  • Check your speed. Are you currently keeping pace with changing trends? How can you become more efficient?  Does your CMS streamline your work processes? When you make changes to your workflow or add components to your CMS/website, are the transitions smooth and timely?
  • Rattle your platform. Do you have a well-integrated suite of best practices and components in place—with content management, web analytics, social analytics, advertising/lead generation etc. all working together seamlessly?
  • Lock down your security.  Make sure your website and CMS integrates the most up-to-date security features and look for developing tools in relation to data sharing.
  • Use data to build context awareness. Make sure you are utilizing a platform that allows you to analyze your consumers’ behavior and take advantage of that capability. The more you know about your customers, the more you will know about the type of data they are interested in and the more you will feel comfortable integrating that into your content.

If you consider these steps carefully, you will find yourself poised for when big data gets even bigger in online publishing.