How digital publishing technology helps research and analysis firms stay relevant

  • April 13th, 2017

Picture the scenario: you’ve just spent six months pulling together all the information for your latest business intelligence report then, when it’s finished, the printed copies sit gathering dust and the PDF version gets emailed to those who stumble across it – but that’s it, no further info on who reads it, or what they think.

A typical customer of a business information publisher has an expectation that reports, data, and other information will be made available digitally – but as our scenario suggests, it can be an area in which some firms struggle.

Research and analysis firms are not software companies, and for every publisher that gets their digital offering right, there are many that, for one reason or another, are missing opportunities to enhance their user experience and widen their customer base.

Word to PDF, then what?

Many research and analysis businesses still author reports in Word, convert into PDFs, and distribute whole documents either as a download or over email.

This linear process is simple and low-cost, but it has a number of fundamental limitations:

  • How do you know who reads the report? If anyone? Or how many people it eventually goes to?
  • Does the customer really want to read the whole report? Or just certain sections?
  • How do you know which sections are of interest and use? And which are not?
  • Without this information, how do you market accurately in the future?
  • Without this information, how do you know where to focus your research in future?
  • Even with this info, how do you edit reports, in a cost and time-effective way, to keep them relevant?
  • If your business is one-off sales to a single customer, how do you retain them beyond that sale?

Adopting publishing technology

At Publish Interactive, we’ve been helping research and analysis firms make sense of digital publishing for the last 12 years. Over that time, it has become apparent that all the issues they face boil down to two major pain points: how to compile content in compelling ways and how to keep content relevant.

The good news is that technology can easily help a business overcome these pain points.

Put customers in control

Your customer might not want a whole report. They might not even want you to compile the information for them. And what if they need to glean information from several sources and then compile this into a report of their own?

Using a linear approach, sending them a whole document as a PDF, will make their task time-consuming, costly, and energy-sapping.

And they won’t thank you for that.

But if you were to provide them access to a website where they could search every report you’ve ever produced, clip relevant sections from multiple sources, then export these into their own report in a matter of minutes, not only will you be saving them time and effort, you’ll be helping them to work smarter and improve the quality of their own output with timely and relevant information.

And they’ll love you for that!

Smarter authoring

Allowing users to slice and dice your content in a manner that suits them is a great way to stay relevant and useful for your customers. But not only that; providing this kind of access helps free up the end-users’ time to do other tasks and engage more deeply with content; it can also help tell you exactly what they’re interested in as every search and piece of content accessed is logged.

By monitoring customer behaviour and content usage, firms can use this information to serve customers better:

  • How about feeding this info into the decision-making on what topics to focus on and which to ignore?
  • What about using it to inform the decision-making on when to update reports with new information?
  • What about serving up tailored content suggestions to users based on their previous choices?

A smart content platform will not only help you understand content use and customer behavior, it will also allow you to make quick edits and updates without necessitating wholesale changes; therefore, freeing up your time for other tasks and helping to breathe new life into older content.

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