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Giving voice to the screenless CES 2019 was this week, and the buzz this year was on the proliferation of voice-integrated gadgets. Amazon and Google squared off, the former touting 100 million Echo devices sold and the latter, boasting that it will be on a billion devices by the end of this month. Google Assistant and Alexa have been integrated into everything from glasses to lamps and even cookware. With so many devices coming into the market, many companies are looking into ways they can get their content integrated with those screenless gadgets. Our recommendation? Test multiple solutions and pick the best one.

Smart speaker adoption continues its rapid growth

Number of U.S. households with a smart speaker, in millions

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

The best way to sunset your publication (if you must) Market pressures led to a lot of closures in 2018, but the latest blog to join this group will exit on a high note. Design*Sponge, a home and lifestyle blog, is publishing nine months of content to close out its final days. “We’re going to throw caution and sponsorship and all the rules of what we ‘should’ be doing [out] the window and hit the road (literally and figuratively) to see how the creative community has changed over the past 15 years—and what’s coming next,” writes founder Grace Bonney. The announcement was a shock for longtime fans, but it is giving them a chance to savor the final posts. “I’m usually a sentimental fool who hates change … but this feels right. I’m so happy that you’ll get to take your victory lap on your terms,” writes one commenter.

Get to know your audience via email Your company has probably used a survey to learn about its followers, but one group has increased its response rate by ditching the typical format. The National Strength and Conditioning Association sends a monthly email asking users to respond to a single question, nothing more. “So far, click rates are about four times higher than previous campaigns,” writes Tim Ebner for AssociationsNow. The NSCA says its simple questions combined with the accessible format has improved its engagement. If your organization would like to try a similar approach, there are a few options. Membership orgs like NSCA can use a tool like PropFuel to embed surveys and track responses. Other groups can try services like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to embed a single question in email.

What Forbes’ new CMS means for the future of publishing Artificial intelligence continued its slow but steady trek into the media world as Forbes announced its new CMS that generates articles for its writers to polish up. While using AI to generate articles is nothing new, the content being generated has grown more complex, from generating stories about stock market movements to going so far as to recommend images for an article. The debate is still out for what this means about the future for online writers:

  • “An optimistic view would be that automated content will … allow reporters to focus on more qualified assignments.” - Christer Clerwall, Karlstad University
  • “Right now, automated journalism is about producing volume. Ultimately, media companies will have to figure out how to go beyond the pageview.” - Seth Lewis, University of Oregon
  • “AI might aid in the reporting process, but journalists will always need to put the pieces together and construct a digestible, creative narrative. This new era won’t fulfill its apparent promise without the diligent management and care of the journalists learning how to put these new technologies into practice.” - Francesco Marconi, The Wall Street Journal

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