The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Publishing Industry

    Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

    Edited by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and…Read more

    ai in publishing

    Paulina Kubala-Chuchnowska holds a position of Marketing Specialist at PressPad Digital Publishing, a company that creates mobile magazine apps, digital newsstands for PDF issues, and...Read more

    Artificial intelligence solutions have settled in the whole publishing world for good. There are many areas in which AI is, and will continue to be, extremely useful. This applies to newspapers, magazines, and books alike. Despite this fact, many publishers wonder if artificial intelligence is going to replace writers, editors, translators, or other job positions related to publishing.

    Is there really anything publishers should be afraid of?

    Artificial intelligence – what’s this?

    Simply speaking, it is the ability of machines to imitate human skills such as reasoning, learning, or planning. The goal is to perform tasks and successively improve operations based on the collected information. This term is strictly related to machine learning and deep learning. However, AI is a bigger concept.

    The truth is, solutions based on artificial intelligence are everywhere. Sometimes we don’t even realize how much we owe this technology.

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    I’ll give you an example.

    Do you watch Netflix? When you finish watching the movie on this platform, it will offer you other productions tailored to your preferences. This is because learning systems analyze your behavior and remember it. Then, they use the collected data to identify preferences and propose titles which, with a high probability, fit your tastes. The same steps also apply to Spotify – the app proposes music titles and artists on the basis of songs that have been heard so far.

    It’s nothing more than artificial intelligence.

    Where is AI used today?

    Artificial intelligence is used in many various industries, e.g. healthcare, finance, transport. According to Harvard Business Review it is most commonly used in four companies’ departments:

    • information technology,
    • marketing,
    • finance and accounting,
    • customer service.

    When it comes to the publishing world, it looks quite the same.

    Frankfurter Buchmesse and Gould Finch carried out research related to the connection between publishing and AI (all conclusions you can find in the publication entitled “The Future Impact of Artificial Intelligence on The Publishing Industry”). According to these researches, publishing companies implement AI in marketing and distribution departments in the first place. AI is also recognized as a valuable tool for both editorial and production teams. The last places in the ranking were taken by the administration and press departments.

    Frankfurter Buchmesse and Gould Finch carried out research related to the connection between publishing and AI

    As you can see, AI with supportive functions is recognized as a valuable tool for many different departments and can take publishing to the next level. It gives opportunities to improve and speed up different processes, manage editorial workflow, and improve promotion strategies – in one word, it can help people without replacing them.

    How does AI exactly help publishers?

    AI in publishing

    Many people, when they hear about artificial intelligence in publishing, associate it with the fact of writing books by robots. Of course, such attempts have been made, but the results were far from ideal. AI is not going to replace writers, but it is able to strengthen this business on many different levels.

    What’s the role of artificial intelligence in the publishing industry?

    • Automated text analysis

    This is an extremely important function in the era of publishing content on the Internet when we are flooded by infinite amounts of texts written by many different authors. Automated text analysis can detect plagiarized content without human input and thus reduce editorial workload. This function can also monitor copyright infringement on third-party publishing platforms.

    • Content translations

    Thanks to AI, there has been significant progress in creating professional translation automation tools, which improved availability to the different languages content. AI also removes the risk of human error and simultaneously speeds up time-to-market for translated content.

    • Content personalization

    It’s like in the case of Netflix or Spotify. Artificial intelligence helps with transitioning to customized content curation within newsletters and audience segmentation. Each group of readers receives individual content. Thanks to this strategy the customers get products, news, and opinion pieces consistent with their preferences.

    • Automated formatting

    AI simplifies processes like editing, formatting, and checking grammar. It gives publishers and writers more time to focus on more important things like higher quality content.

    • SEO

    There are many proven SEO tips for publishers. Artificial intelligence helps with improving this process even more. It can take over actions like keyword research, performance optimization, and distribution. The effect will be greatly increased relevance and content visibility.

    • Contracts and rights

    I don’t mean preparing contracts by AI. Sometimes publishing companies need to identify clauses from specific contracts quickly. This process can be made easier thanks to artificial intelligence, allowing publishers to automatically search the document.

    • Text auto-tagging

    This is the most common application of AI technology in publishing. It’s all about the use of metadata tagging to improve the discoverability of content. Creating an online article, journalists normally have to rely on automated tagging available in CMS or add tags manually. Automating content classification saves a lot of time.

    • Chatbots

    Publishers can create intelligent bots to automate and personalize interaction with the readers. Bots are widely used in the publishing industry in the form of chatbots. A bot learns a human language and answers questions instead of a human. Bots also fulfill many other functions in publishing.

    • E-mail marketing

    AI improves marketing strategies including e-mail marketing. It could be helpful with personalizing emails. According to Zeta (a customer lifecycle management marketing company), the average open rate for static emails in the media and publishing industry is around 19.24%. The same metric for personalized emails increases up to 63.22% (the click rates are 13.16% versus 26.29% accordingly). Do you see the difference?

    Successful Examples of AI in publishing

    The above list of potential usage of AI in publishing includes only a few main points, the list is long and, it’ll be developed for sure, as long as the technology will evolve.

    Many publishing organizations are using artificial intelligence to generate shareholder reports, legal documents, press releases, general reports, and schematic articles. AI is a great tool to help cover things where reporters can’t always get to for example local events.

    AI technologies are used by different types and sizes of publishers, but they’re the most useful for news.

    Statistics show that news publishers most often use artificial intelligence to improve content recommendations.

    News publishers most often use artificial intelligence to improve content recommendations, source: Statista

    How do publishers implement AI solutions to their businesses?

    • Forbes. They have rolled out an AI-powered CMS (Content Management System) called Bertie. It’s an artificially intelligent publishing platform, designed specifically for the in-house newsroom of journalists, expert contributor networks, and partners. It provides all of these people real-time trending topics to cover, recommending ways to make headlines more compelling and suggesting relevant imagery. Forbes announced to roll out new AI technologies regularly to make the work of your employees even easier
    • The Washington Post. They released Heliograf – in-house automated storytelling technology created for hyperlocal coverage. It can generate entire articles from quantitative data and enable them to cover all Washington, D.C. area high school football games every week. Thanks to it, The Post will be able to cover any game that they have data for, and fans will have near-instant coverage to read.
    • Bloomberg. They use a solution called Cyborg. It helps with content creation and management. It can generate thousands of articles about company earnings reports at the end of each quarter. Cyborg is programmed to identify and extract all its key numbers immediately.

    Using AI is more and more popular among big publishers having a stable position on the market – they can allow for spending money on this kind of development. There are a number of challenges in the way of introducing AI improvements to the publishing industry, and financial issues are on the top of the list.

    Challenges to AI solutions implementation

    According to Frankfurter Buchmesse and Gould Finch’s research, the main problem in AI implementation is finance. Many publishers may believe that large amounts of money need to be invested and there is no guaranteed return. In addition, the introduction of such innovations requires the employment of new qualified employees, which also generates costs.

    According to Frankfurter Buchmesse and Gould Finch’s researches, the main problem in AI implementation is finance

    Other challenges could also be issues like lack of quantity training data, lack of data strategy, lack of knowledge, not being ready or sure to adopt this improvement, bias problems, and… myths.

    A chance to assuage possible fears and hesitation is to see that many benefits from implementing AI can be reaped. This can be achieved by educating and showing examples of newspapers, magazines, or publications which succeed.

    The future approach to artificial intelligence

    There are three key findings in Frankfurter Buchmesse and Gould Finch’s researches:

    • artificial intelligence is not going to replace writers, but it is able to strengthen core-business,
    • investing in artificial intelligence doesn’t mean fewer jobs for humans,
    • minimal investments can still bring in monetary benefits.

    Automation has already had a real impact on improving content creation, distribution, consumption and it is crucial for future journalism. AI is already improving processes and publications for publishers and the role it plays will only increase.

    One thing should be remembered – the greatest effects will be achieved when artificial intelligence will cooperate with… humans.



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