Back in August, some of you may remember I blogged about the power of news aggregators, asking the question, How Do We Make Them Read? Since that time, I have been watching new aggregators come on to the scene, new products being offered, new interfaces introduced, new pricing models worked out and all the while, I still can’t help but wonder how we make them read. Though, three new trends I am seeing out there in the world of aggregators is getting making the job of getting attorneys to read the news just a bit easier.

  1. Several of the products on offer, have started to include robust back end analysis and metrics with the aggregators. Clients (especially people like me in the competitive intelligence community) want to know who is reading, when they read and what articles have my clients clicked all the way through to read the full text. What are the trending topics of interest with a particular practice. Then I can be a step closer to understanding the issues of interest and how can I turn that into action, or identify a lead. Library Services, meet Business Development.
  2. Semantic analysis, though it can never replicate the human element completely (more on this in item #3). Some of the aggregator out there such as Digimind are offering a semantic analysis with the tool. The accuracy can be hit or miss on the tone owing to the algorithms and taxonomy, but it is nice to have a baseline for what you are reading, coded right into the article and interface. Certainly when helps to know if all the press on a given client is negative, or even perceived as such even if it is only 60-75% of the time. Maybe some crisis management or litigation is in coming down the pipe….Public Relations, meet Business Development.
  3. The most intriguing offering to me at the moment is the pairing of aggregators with other industry professionals. There have been others, but the most recent to come to mind is that of ShiftCentral announcing earlier this month, that former lawyer turned law firm CMO Mark E. Young, has joined the aggregator to head up what they are calling an Intelligence Agency. Competitive Intelligence meets Marketing.

As I sit with partners and watch their inboxes fill up with newsletters/bulletins/internals blogs and other informaton/intelligence items we have aggregated, I still can’t help but wonder how we’ll make the shift from better packaging and synthesis to action. News aggregators, like the ones reviewed in the past, or mentioned here today, certainly can take us part of the way. I think we are almost there…but the rest….