By: Vishal Dutta (Co-founder of DrumUp)
Every business is a content creator today. With so much stress on content marketing and building a strong online presence, companies are churning out huge numbers of articles, blogs, social media posts and videos. People who earlier had no business writing articles are now trying to get better at this art.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. In fact, it’s great that more and more people, especially decision makers at companies are now expressing their opinions publicly and communicating with their customers through multiple online channels.
The challenge however is for the reader. All of a sudden, the internet is full of content of all forms and on any topic one could imagine. Here are two numbers that highlight the scale of the problem:
- 4.7 billion indexed pages on the internet
- 5 million blog posts written every day
And these numbersare increasing every minute. It’s not a big problem as long as the content is for casual reading and does not have much of an impact. But for professionals and businesses, the ability to get access to the right content at the right time could be the difference between success and failure in their endeavours.
1. Applying computer intelligence for solving the content discovery problem
Analysing tens of thousands of new stories on a daily basis is not a human’s job. Computers have enough processing power today to do this for us. There are many technologies available today that can be applied to solve this problem, especially natural language processing and machine learning, and this is exactly what we are trying to do.
2. Each user is unique and should be treated that way
With technology at our disposal, today we can allow the user to track the content of his choice. For example, if a user says that he is interested in “automobile technology”, “mountaineering”, and “football”, then we can analyse a huge amount of content and come up with stories that are highly related to these themes. This way, the user is able to discover content from a much wider range of sources, allowing for a rich stream of news that are very closely related to his interests. He can also apply negative filters to block content that he is not interested in.
3. Teaching the machine through user interaction
A user’s interaction with the system generates very important signals for refining his content recommendations. The system can detect whether he likes a particular source or not, whether we are able to understand his context correctly or not, and many other subtler aspects of content that he likes. This can significantly improve the user experience and at the same time give vital real time feedback to content creators.
4. Win-win for content creators and readers
An effective content discovery system is good for both content creators and content consumers. It allows publishers and bloggers to significantly increase their reach. More importantly, they are able to reach a highly targeted audience – people who are actively searching for content that the content creator is publishing. Matching the right content with the right audience makes the whole industry more efficient and will lead to more satisfied readers. It also allows high quality content creators to naturally gain a larger audience and thus be rewarded for their efforts. In a way, it is evolution at work in the content industry.
For the readers, it can save a huge amount of time and avoid the frustration that comes from content being force fed to us. For a professional or business user, say a business consultant, it can give a significant competitive advantage over his peers.
5. Leveraging the power of smartphones
All the advantages of content discovery can today be in your hand, literally. We have been able to create a sleek user interface that connects to a powerful backend to offer a real time source of relevant content. A user can easily share content from the mobile app, delete what he doesn’t like, and add newer themes that he would like to start tracking. Staying up to date with his industry need not be a chore for the user any longer, as he can simply open the app at any convenient time and quickly browse through only what he interested in.
Vishal Dutta is a co-founder of DrumUp (http://drumup.io), a content discovery and social sharing app. He is an IIT-Delhi/IIM-Lucknow alumnus and was previously a business consultant with Accenture.