5 Ways To Use Generative AI In Publishing in 2023

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For publishers and media companies, generative AI is an opportunity to win. While there’s certainly reason for some Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt, the emerging consensus seems to be: “it’s not publishers vs generative AI: it’s publishers with Generative AI, vs publishers without Generative AI.”  We believe that, with the right strategies and technologies, generative AI can elevate quality publishers back to the center of the media conversation. 

The current generation of generative AI tools (e.g., chat GPT and Arena’s AI offering) can create text quickly. The output isn’t always going to be perfect, but it doesn’t need to be: it solves “the blank page problem” and can also help make quick edits to get written copy to fit different character limit requirements in seconds. In the hands of capable editors, it is extremely powerful.

1. Fill Your Staff Coverage Gaps

AI support for editors

Most publishers need more talent skills of various kinds, which helps the quality of coverage. There are various ways to fill the gap, like working with special correspondents and freelancers. When a publisher has the opportunity to plan, those strategies may be enough to fill the gap.

There’s just one problem – breaking news is stubbornly tricky to forecast! Who would have predicted the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank? Breaking news, political events, etc are also challenging to forecast effectively, even with the best models and data.

Generative AI can fill the talent coverage gap. You can ask a staff journalist to cover multiple stories and use generative AI as an assistant. This simple use case can raise coverage productivity. Alternatively, you can use generative AI to draft stories on topics you haven’t covered, or fill in supporting paragraphs where the reader may want context, but the editor doesn’t have the time to research from scratch.

Generative AI makes it easier to cover new beats. For instance, your sports coverage audience may increase engagement with data-based articles like top scorers. You can use generative AI to create many player profiles with standardized data. You can then direct your staff to enhance the most popular player profiles with original reporting.

Generative AI can help you release quality coverage faster when breaking news occurs. 

Take footballer Cristiano Ronaldo – his recent move to Saudi Arabia attracted considerable attention. A publisher using generative AI can quickly put that type of move into context by comparing his move to other high-profile athlete moves.

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2. Personalize And Remix Content At Scale For Different Segments

Meeting the needs of your audience is vital in today’s environment. People are used to online algorithms tailoring content and recommendations to suit their interests. The traditional approach to meeting this expectation includes creating custom web pages, landing pages, and newsletters. 

That type of customization does work, but it is highly labor-intensive. Another option is to leverage generative AI to support personalization at scale. 

Let’s illustrate this use case with sports coverage and outline how it could attract different subsegments. Your audience probably includes casual fans, data enthusiasts, and followers of specific athletes. Generative AI can help you remix your existing content to connect with focused niches better.

For example, you can use generative AI to enhance your business coverage, such as a section dedicated to the top-performing sticks. When a company releases a new quarterly earnings report, being the first to publish new content covering that win (e.g., updated earnings per share, profitability, and revenue trends) will help you get your data enthusiasts engaged.

3. Fill Your SEO Gaps Faster

Projected search field

The business of attracting audiences from Google and other search engines remains an essential priority for publishers. Rapidly creating content to meet every potential SEO opportunity is difficult to manage, however.

This is another area where generative AI can support your growth. An editor or analyst might start their day by reviewing SEO trends on their analytics platform. This daily review will likely uncover several underserved queries and keywords that could be served with the publication’s existing content. 

Generative AI has an influential role to play in enhancing existing pages. Using Google Search Console, some of your older pages are starting to lose search traffic. Rewriting the page may be impossible, given your organization’s other priorities. 

That’s where generative AI can help to refresh your page with minimal effort. Make a list of 10-20 keywords that should be included in your page based on your SEO research. Then tell your generative AI tool to revise the existing content to include the keywords. Rinse and repeat this process several times, and you’ll have an excellent opportunity to drive higher search traffic.

4. Match or Exceed Social Media’s Live Coverage

Live Coverage

For years, many publishers have struggled to match the speed of social media when there is a breaking news event. Historically, publishers countered with a different advantage – quality. A news outlet might sometimes beat social media to release news. Still, a publisher may win by focusing on quality: gathering the facts, putting them in context, and verifying critical facts.

With generative AI, the trade-off between quality coverage and speed is starting to change. To be clear, AI tools still lack context, proper understanding, and the ability to develop sources. Despite those limitations, every minute counts regarding a breaking news story. If your publication can release a quality story 15 minutes faster than the competition, it’s an advantage worth pursuing.

The use case for generative AI for breaking news will depend on the user. An editor might use the app to create a detailed brief and suggested list of questions, edit the output, and hand it off to a reporter. In comparison, an experienced journalist can use generative AI as a virtual assistant.

5. Create More Explainers With Generative AI 

According to the Digital News Report 2022, explainers have increased significantly in popularity since the pandemic. The report explains that this content “may draw in a segment of news avoiders who simply want clearer, more relevant information.” 

Explainer content is also helpful in situations with a developing news story or scandal. The Review of Journalism defines explainers as “stand-alone articles that support major stories and give readers more reporting context and background than just a single term or concept. Usually written by an editor, explainers read like bullet points of who’s who or what’s what in a story.”

Generative AI can help to draft both short and long explainer content quickly. In some more straightforward cases – like defining standard abbreviations – the generative AI output may be ready for immediate use. In other cases, the tools may be best used as drafting or outlining tools.

Adding more explainers to your publication is another way to increase engagement and keep visitors on your website longer.

The Path To Higher Engagement

Adding generative AI to your publication’s workflow will take some time and experimentation. As you build that capability, it’s essential to keep growing online engagement. Talk to Arena today about using online engagement tools to keep your digital audience engaged on your website.

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