Much has been said about the publishing life cycle of news content online and in print. At Forbes, where we’re kept apprised of the brand’s new print and digital developments by chief product officer Lewis Dvorkin’s blog posts, we can see how important analytics and audience development have become in content creation.

Dvorkin argues that the top-down "caste system" of traditional newsrooms has been outmoded by the way content is consumed and shared digitally. "The self-imposed newsroom caste system has run its course," he says in a recent post. "The three vital voices of the media business [content creators, audience members and marketers] now publish together and actually form relationships with one another."

The new newsroom, he says, is no longer a one-way operation where content is simply created and delivered to readers, rinse and repeat. The digital platform demands a much more interconnected process that links content with data (both demographic and feedback) and a strategic approach to production methods.

Interestingly, as Dvorkin describes the four columns that support the newsroom structure, we can see how important analytics and audience development are to the entire process.

Dvorkin’s four main support components of his newsroom are:

1. Analytics–consisting of a small team that monitors activity at the page and site levels. The data is then used to help editors determine what content resonates and drives engagement.

2. Audience Development–another team that uses the data produced by the analytics team to develop KPIs and uncover new areas for audience growth.

3. Contributor Support–These folks work closely with the content creators, combining production tools with data insights to help creators optimize their production.

4. Programming–these guys also depend on AD and analytics to fast-track specific content packages and formats to maintain momentum created by content that resonates well with readers.

Dvorkin adds that, depending how you look at it, data could be king, or audience development or content. Yet that classification is diluted by the circular nature of the process.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that the entire structure moves forward on the basis of what the analytics and audience development folks are picking up from the community. The business of content generation and its concomitant sales operation are perpetually refined or even re-engineered through this process.

Bill Mickey is executive editor of Audience Development magazine.

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