Publishing has always depended on the readership of its consumers; without an audience or the ability to spark conversations, publishing lacks meaning and purpose. To this extent, generating a band of loyal followers is essential to the success of creating and publishing written content. With a sizeable and loyal following, publishers can begin to monetise their content by charging membership fees and using advertising without losing consumer ratings and figures.

Building a core following in publishing is far from easy or straightforward. Authors must not only produce consistently high quality content that is either newsworthy, entertaining or educational, but they must also amplify this work and engage with “customers” to generate two-way communication streams and constantly review the way in which their content is received. A great example of this is through online polls and surveys, which let publishers directly listen to the needs of its consumers and allows to tailor the tone of content to resonate with readers, listeners and viewers. More about this later.

Customer feedback is becoming more important to publishers and networks, particularly in an age in which social media platforms mean that consumers have a louder voice and the open stage to air their opinions. In such a competitive landscape, receiving real-time and accurate feedback from consumers about what they do and do not like about content or the ways in which it is presented is therefore crucial for developing publishing platforms.

How are news corporations and publishers embracing customer interactions?

Tackling the issues of customer engagement in publishing involves inviting open communications with consumers. Acknowledging consumer input in the delivery of content encourages responses and feedback, which can then help publishers to improve the quality of their offerings whilst building sentimental connections.

News UK, which includes titles such as The Sun and The Times recently teamed up with Rant & Rave to enhance its user experience. Using Rant & Rave’s Salesforce app – which empowers businesses to connect with customers, partners and employees on an emotional level ─ News UK will be able to listen to its consumers and learn from feedback to improve its print and online services. It can also now report at a richer level of detail by linking insights to customer demographics, tailoring its service to deliver on a more personal level to readers. Customer sentiment will also be used to drive its priorities and decisions for content and news production so that it can cultivate and expand its viewers and readership.

What does the future hold for publishing?

With large publishers and broadcasters turning to their customers in a bid to improve audience engagement and quality of service, the power of consumers through a range of channels has never been greater. Social media and an ever-growing range of communication platforms mean that everybody can essentially be a publisher in their own right.

The future of publishing not only includes customer service, but also considers how an audience can interact in real-time with a publisher to create high-quality and up-to-date content that reflects timely opinion.

Leading entertainment network, SKY, has also partnered with Rant & Rave to engage with its customers and viewers closely – inviting them to share their views in live polls for news stories. This gives SKY the ability to gauge public opinion to enrich its reporting – such as the running of live feedback – and well as the opportunity to find out how useful or enjoyable a news report was.

Using technology from customer engagement specialists Rant & Rave, SKY is also able to use Sentiment Analysis when interacting with customers, allowing them to capture emotions automatically and find out what they are feeling.

This technology is allowing SKY to disrupt the news industry, enhancing the involvement of consumers and giving them more say on what is produced and how it is shared. This means that the company can stay ahead of the game in news reporting and entertainment; being able to give consumers what they want increases its viewing figures of television and online programmes and articles which builds viewership and loyalty.

James Hargreaves is an Account Manager at Rant & Rave, the customer engagement specialists, that works with half of the FTSE. Rant & Rave’s technology enables brands to proactively communicate with and listen to the voice of their customers so they can take real-time, inspired action.

Text messages are such a simple way of gauging the views of the nation quickly and easily. This solution will give our news teams the ability to identify a hot topic in the morning, decide on the target responders and instantly initiate the poll, with results ready for transmission later that same day.

Daragh KellyInsight & Decision Science Director, Sky