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5 steps to extract actionable insights from content

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Advancing from masses of content to intelligence is painstaking work. Cronycle makes it easier to collect, view and extract actionable insights from content saved on Cronycle boards.

Insights & knowledge

Whether you are monitoring an industry or market, preparing briefings for colleagues or projects, or keeping customers up-to-date, growing knowledge is probably top of your mind. The neat Data Information Knowledge Wisdom (DIKW) model makes it clear that we derive value when we move up from Data, to Information, Knowledge, and eventually, Wisdom.

Insights help make sense of information and grow knowledge

In Harold Jarche’s framework for Personal Knowledge Management, this is mostly done through Sensing and Sharing: professionals network to collectively extract insights and knowledge.

In Cronycle, getting to insights can be described with 5 steps:

  1. Insights discovery
  2. Insights collection
  3. Insights extraction
  4. Sense-making
  5. Insights Portability

Step 1 – Insights discovery

Insights are realizations that enable you to reframe your perspective and grow knowledge – essentially moving from information to knowledge.

Tip #1 – Whether big or small, insights change the way you see things and act. Limited sources and individual data points alone will rarely lead to insights. Use Cronycle Topics to increase diversity and provide you with dots worth connecting.

So the first step is to get good and diverse data to move up to the information layer. This is done in two ways in Cronycle:

  • Explore a diverse and dynamic set of content
  • Filter content to get to the most relevant data points which you can use in the next step.

Cronycle Topics make the first easy – enabling you to easily access content from field experts and influencers across 80,000+ topics. The AI-powered discovery works across millions of sources and dynamically integrates new sources and experts.

get reliable information for Topics with the top tweet it was shared in. Here for virology

Cronycle feeds focus on the second part, to filter and get what you need, without the noise. Check this tutorial to learn how to filter down to what matters the most to you, via keyword, language, domain and other filters.

feed interface to aggregate and filter content

Step 2 – Insights collection

In the second step, you pick the most relevant data points and start to organize them. Is it about a specific topic? A competitor? A trend?

Tip #2 – Use several Cronycle boards and a set of tags to keep content organized, searchable and filterable.

Teams can even set organization-wide lists of tags to keep a consistent nomenclature for tags, across all boards and contributors.

Tags on board content help keep insights organized

Step 3 – Insights extraction

Story Arcs to group information together

You can group articles together into a Story Arc from the content view. This will keep the annotations together, vastly helping you to extract actionable insights from several articles into one view / document, make insights more actionable.

Tip #3 – Group articles together when you are preparing a report or original content that will leverage annotations.

To make a group, simply go to your board, and from the Content view, click on Group in the menu (towards the right). Next, select the tiles to group and confirm by clicking on the Group button in the middle. Learn more from this tutorial.

group items that below together to help extract actionable insights

Annotate to extract valuable insights

Next, after a first read of the content in the reader, annotate key ideas valuable to you. They can be new information, surprising facts, or articulate ways of framing information.

Tip #4 – Try to annotate a minimum amount of text to keep your insights focussed and easy to scan through later on.

You can also add notes with annotations. Use them to explain why this is an important point, describe its impact and even what to do with it.

extract actionable insights with annotations in the board reader
Annotation notes

With an Enterprise account, you can even mention other contributors on the board. They’ll get notified by email and in the application (provided they did not switch off notifications). This can be the start of a discussion to dig deeper and make sense of information.

To have a full-fledge discussion, extract the annotation to the board which creates a Crystal – a team discussion thread. To do that, on the annotation window, click on Extract text, then Discuss on Crystal. Go back to the board view and you’ll see a blue tile to start a discussion.

Read our dedicated annotation post to learn more about this.

Step 4 – Sense-making

Now, you need to connect the dots and reflect on them to grow knowledge with insights.

The Insights view

Cronycle boards have a specific Insights view to easily review actionable insights on your boards and take a step back.

From the board menu, click on the insights button on the far right.

This view is showing all your insights: the tags, annotations, notes, summaries and titles you’ve added, alongside reference to each piece of content.

View actionable insights on your board (summary, annotations, tags)

Tip #5 – Use the insights view to check your insights so far, in particular to review your annotations quickly, and take a step back.

It is also useful to identify which items haven’t been processed yet. You can open the articles in the reader and add or modify your insights.

Summarize actionable insights

Once you’ve taken a step back, or earlier while you are reading and annotating, you can use summaries to introduce your perspective or summarize the information, depending on your use case.

In particular, if you are going to share your findings with other stakeholders in any way, summaries are the perfect option to introduce key take aways as they always gets published, across all options. You can also add a summary to a Story Arc (group).

Both the insights and content views let you easily see the summary. For now, you can edit it from the content tile in the content reader and the content board view. Simply click on the yellow box Add summary and start typing. Remember to confirm using the checkmark button. To edit again, simply click on the current summary.

Summarize content on board to extract & publish insights

What’s more, you can easily extract annotations to the summary – building up the summary one key point at a time. To do that, click on the annotation from the insights view. This opens the content reader with the annotation visible. You can also navigate from the article tile on the board content view. Next, click on Extract text, then on Append to Summary.

The summary is always editable. The only limit is publishing: once it is sent to integrations or as a newsletter email, there is no way to change that version of the summary!

Draft reports with rich text notes

If the summary is too limiting for you, for example if you are drafting a report or original content, extract annotations to notes – a good way to organize more complex ideas. Notes on Cronycle boards have a rich text editor with formatting (headings, inline links, bold, colour, etc.) and gives you the option to draft longer texts.

The extraction is accessible from two places:

  • from a single annotation – click on Extract text, then on Extract as a note
  • from the insights view – click on the 3 dots icon at the top of the article or Story Arc, and on Extract annotations as note
insights view with a story arc that contains annotations, and the option to extract annotations as a note on the board

Tip #6 – Extract annotations as rich text notes onto your board to draft reports and other original content / documents.

The result is a note which you can edit, for example to add titles and your own text. The original link it always extracted.

A rich text note containing two quotes copied from annotations in a story arc, and formatted

Step 5 – Insights portability

The last step is to extract actionable insights from boards to where your stakeholders are, or where your next steps happen. There are several options available to you, through publishing and integrations, copy-pasting and exporting.

Publish the content with its summary

If you mostly curate information for your stakeholders and can fit your insights into the summary, publishing the board content may be a good option. The summaries are published with all the available publishing options, and some (such as WordPress, RSS and Zapier) even include the tags added on the board. Zapier in particular is a good option to append new information to profiles and lists in Google Sheet and Airtable, or to text documents.

publish board content and summary in many ways

Tip #8 – To publish annotations directly, extract them as notes onto your boards and publish the notes.

Notes get published to all options, except for RSS. The other option is to append the annotations to summaries – which get published. Learn more about our publishing options here. We also have an API, get in touch if this is interesting for you.

Easily copy-paste tiles, insights or full content to any app

When you are selectively taking content from one or a limited set of items on a Cronycle board to any other app, the good-old option to copy paste can be an efficient choice, particularly if you need to reformat anyway. This is often the case when preparing a newsletter, drafting reports, filling profiles, preparing presentations, updating or creating battle cards or preparing an email cadence with fresh content.

Depending on where you copy from, different information is copied:

From the board content view – good for overviews

You can copy one or several items from the (default) board content view:

  • Copy several items from the board menu: filter first, click on Extract and then on Copy board content to copy the results of your filters, up to a maximum of 200 tiles.
Copy several items on the board from board menu, copy board content
  • Copy one item from the tile options: from the same board content view, click on the three-dots options button at the top right of a tile, then select Copy tile content.
Copy one item from the board tile options

In both cases, information copied includes (per item and when available): summary, title, original source URL, author, excerpt, note body, featured image URL and tags.

From the board insights view – good for annotations and actionable insights

To easily copy annotations, switch the board view to Insights. Then, like from the content view, you have two options:

  • Copy several items with annotations from the board menu: filter first, click on Extract and then on Copy board content to copy the results of your filters, up to a maximum of 200 tiles.
extract actionable insights: from the insights view, filter content and extract to Copy board content (with the insights like annotations)
  • Copy one item with annotations from the insights tile options: from the same insights content view, click on the three-dots options button at the top right of a tile, then select Copy insight content.
extract actionable insights: from a single item in the the insights view, copy insights for this item (with the insights like annotations)

The information copied reflects what you see on that view: it includes summary, title, original source URL, author, annotations, note body and tags.

From the board content reader – good for full content and specific annotations

The last view where you can copy from is the content reader. Here again, there are two options:

  • The top copy button enables you to simply copy the full text of an article or note in plain text, alongside summary, title, original source URL, author, annotations, image URLs and tags.
copy full content from reader
  • From each annotation, click on Extract text, then on Copy to clipboard, and select the options you wish to include when copying using the sliders. The highlighted text is always copied.
copy an annotation from the reader with different options of metadata to include

Export insights and various levels of content

valuable insights per item to take to another app

Export your insights, complete with with summary, tags, annotations, title, link; for one item at a time. To do so, click on the content tile 3 dots icon, and select Export your insights. If you are on the Insights view, you can directly click the download icon.

Next, choose which file format you want – CSV for tables or RTF for text editors. Once you click on Export, a file is being prepared and a link provided to download it.

Export insights you generated for a single item

Export a batch of items with insights to take to another app

You can do the same type of export for several board items at once. To do that, filter your board content by date, tag(s), contributor, search, etc. Then, click on Export (to the right of the filters). Next, select Your insights in the dropdown to export the results with their valuable insights but not the full content or only headlines.

board export for Your insights to export annotations, tags, summary and content identifiers as CSV or RTF

You also have the same options as earlier – CSV for tables or RTF for text editors. Once you click on Export, a file is being prepared and a link provided to download it.

Tip #7 – Filter your board or export insights from a Story Arc to get all the annotations, notes, references and ideas into a single RTF file, to import into Google Docs, Microsoft Word or PowerPoint and prepare reports or original content.

This concludes this tutorial describing the steps to extract actionable insights and move from data to information and knowledge.

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