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Personalizing News to Enhance Consumer Loyalty

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There is an exponentially growing pool of news resources available on the Web. Additionally, with the rise of the blogosphere and personal publishing, it seems that there is an ever-increasing amount of content out there. Hence, people no longer go to a couple of sources for news of their interest. Rather, they now invariably end up going to a number of sources depending on the category of news they want to learn about. Moreover, the channel of consumption (pc, smart phone, tablet computer, etc.) of newsmight also influence their choice of sites.

Given the plethora of news sites and blogs, consumers are finding it very cumbersome to effectively track news. Therefore, there is a growing need to automate the collection, organization, and syndication of news. This is where news aggregators come in.

Aggregators are sites specifically designed to bring multiple news sources together and repackage them in a more convenient format for the readers..
Traditional news media was all about distributing a one-size-fits-all message to a wide audience; new media is more about personalization and customization. The most important aspect of news aggregation is personalization, which is no easy job.

Here are four important steps to make personalization “work” for your website:
1. Know the reader: 
You need to first understand the likes and interests of each and every reader visiting your site. Allow readers to log in using their Facebook profile and you have a readymade list of their interests. Integration with their Twitter feed can help you understand the topics / people they follow. Some other ways of getting information about the readers include, checking the profile information, examining click stream to identify the topics of their interest, etc.

2. Aggregate and Personalize:
Next, you must have an easy-to-use filtering / sorting mechanism that remembers users’ preferences, identifies information of interest, and displays them in an orderly manner. News aggregators like Trove used by The Washington Post, scour multiple sources of content and list stories of interest based on user profiles and behavior. Trove also leverages Facebook Connect to identify and accordingly personalize news stories based on preferences as outlined by users’ Facebook profile.
Also, personalization would be incomplete without providing for sharing. Give users an option to easily share, post, retweet news of interest among friends through social media.

3. Adapt and Continue to Learn:
It is important to progressively learn more about your readers over time. Consider using a mobile app that not only provides users access to the latest news but also allows them to keep track of their favorite news topics. Information on content accessed by users on-the-go can help you refine their profiles and accordingly alter, for example, the information you display, how you display it, and in what order you place the stories.

4. Allow Discovery to Retain Freshness: 
Personalization must not lead to extreme predictability and, therefore, boredom. Even as you personalize content, you must retain a sense of discovery. Give your readers a chance to “discover” topics that is outside of their usual realms of interest. For example, it is always a good option to retain the “Top Stories” section even on a customized home page. Irrespective of their preferences, users demand that they stay informed of all that is happening around them. Displaying stories that are “liked” by readers’ friends on Facebook is another means of allowing discovery. Readers might like to read a story that, although not of immediate interest to them, is liked and recommended by their friends.

Personalization is a tough job and we are just scratching the surface here. But it is time to make a start quickly or be left behind in the race for winning customer loyalty. Tavant has been working with several leading media companies to make this beginning in a strong way. Want to know how we are making personalization work for our customers? Click here and read on.

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