Questions publishers want answered

Short list of questions publishers want answered that I believe could be answered with the right data:

  • Who are my best writers?
  • What topics are my audience most engaged in?
  • Which types of pieces do best over time?
  • What type of stories should I have my writers work on?
  • When is the best time to publish?
  • What’s the best length for a piece?
  • Does including rich media help with engagement?
  • Do my writers actually need to include links? How many?

What am I missing?

Obviously most publishers know most of these by heart, it’s key to running a successful business. What’s more interesting is to use this type of data as a baseline for experimentation.

It’s important to remember the difference between creation and optimization, and how data can be used for each.


Krista January 8, 2012 Reply

One other question (that I struggle with) is: what’s proper frequency to promote articles/issues on various social media to ensure that timezones are covered, without over-communicating and alienating your audience?

Ryan Sholin (@ryansholin) January 9, 2012 Reply

* What does “best” mean?
* What does “most engaged” mean?

Daniel Bachhuber January 9, 2012 Reply

Up for you to define 🙂 For a project I’ve been working on, I’ve looked at the “most productive” (posts and word count) and “most sociable” (most likely to be shared) authors. For most engaged, it could be who’s linking to you most often, who’s commenting, who’s sharing, etc.

It depends on what your priorities are, and what signals you can identify.

Roman Heindorff January 11, 2012 Reply

I like this list. I’d also be keen to see a ‘them vs. us’ view of the publisher’s promotion of a story/asset, vs. that of the author themselves. There’s been quite some revulsion at the notion of publishers coercing journalists to promote their own work, but corporate policy aside, it’s a staple of the traction that (particularly) many smaller teams/properties benefit from. It would be cool to identify just how valuable your most valuable author’s ‘self-promotion’ is, too, for example.

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