API’s program to create data-driven content strategies

Publishers share a fundamental problem — they can’t really quantify the nature of the content they produce and how the audience engages with it.

The American Press Institute has developed a program that helps publishers build an empirical, modern news strategy. Using API’s tools and guidance, publishers are empowered to create a new content strategy built around measuring and improving.

We use our custom-built Metrics for News content analysis software, new journalism metrics and innovative audience surveys to help publishers build smarter, more data-driven content strategies.

The program can help publishers develop centers of coverage excellence — specific areas of indispensable content that connect to citizens’ needs and passions. Any strategy for the future must focus on increasing the value of content to consumers and advertisers.


Why our approach is different

Our program blends content auditing, new readership and engagement metrics, and deep audience research that helps publishers see how their journalism is connecting with the audience.

Get smarter about how to excel at whatever kind of journalism you choose to do.

Know what content you really produce. By meta-tagging content with API’s auditing software, publishers quantify over time how much content they produce by topic, enterprise level, author type, location and other qualities. The characteristics each publisher tracks are completely customizable.

Get content metrics that are vastly better and different than standard web analytics. Basic web analytics vendors like Google Analytics and Omniture just aren’t built with news companies in mind. Our software imports data about web traffic, social media sharing and reader comments and transforms it into new, more useful metrics you can analyze for any type of your content.

Compare what you really want to compare. We let publishers compare what works best just within their in-depth enterprise coverage. Or within government coverage. By imposing their own journalism values on their data analysis, publishers can stop chasing pageviews story-by-story and get smarter about how to excel at whatever kind of journalism they choose to do.

Instill a data-driven culture in the newsroom. This process puts meaningful content metrics in the hands of your editors and reporters, to inform their decisions and spark conversations about how to do work that better serves and connects with your audience. It still values the judgment of experienced journalists, but removes some of the guesswork.

Get to know to your audience. We design research tools, including an online survey, that probes how readers live their lives and what they are passionate about. We don’t ask people what they think they want to read in the news — a mistake many audience surveys make. Instead, we ask them what’s relevant in their lives, which empowers editors to devise the journalism that will serve their needs and passions.

How it works

Step 1: Quantify your content

The programs begins with customizable software that lets editors analyze empirically what news they are covering and the characteristics of that journalism.

These data are integrated with the paper’s web analytics, social sharing and reader comments to create new custom metrics, which reveal how different types of journalism perform with readers.

Metrics for News reports provide insight into how readers engage with different types of content.

Metrics for News reports provide insight into how readers engage with different types of content.

Step 2: Deep research of readers’ passions and concerns

The program includes a survey and other tools to assess how people live their lives, why they live there, what they are worried about, what they deeply care about.

Unlike conventional market research, the research is not focused on what they think of the paper; nor is it designed to describe your readers to advertisers. The data, rather, are designed to help the newsroom make better-informed decisions.

Step 3: Use the data to create a content strategy built around the audience

News organizations then combine their audience and content data to discover where their content is aligned and misaligned with the passions and concerns of their community.

News leaders develop new content strategies to improve coverage in core areas that will reach new audiences and create new advertising and subscription opportunities.

Getting better means covering some issues differently, not simply more.

In the end, the program empowers the publishing organization to set a clear strategic direction and energizes the whole staff to get better instead of smaller, and to use data to test their assumptions and measure their progress.

Contact us to learn more and discuss how this program can transform your news organization: hello@pressinstitute.org.