How to use a News API for maximum insights
Most companies use news feed APIs to stay on top of market trends, keep tabs on their competitors or track the latest developments in their industry. Still, cutting through the clutter of information on the internet can be challenging, even with an API for news articles.
The job of a news API is to map, collect, parse, and standardize data from news articles into one feed that is plugged into a platform that generates insight at scale. The feed is generated by the query you build and further filter according to need. You want the feed to contain only what’s relevant, accurate, and valuable to you without the noise.
This quick guide will help you make the most of your news API. You’ll learn the basic steps to get started and configure to get feeds that let you generate maximum insights. We’ll illustrate it with a hands-on example.
How to use a news API in 4 simple steps
Step #1: Sign up to a news API
You sign up with your email address. The web data provider may ask for some additional business-related information to help craft the best user experience.
Before you move to the next step, clearly define your goals and what you expect to get from the API. For most companies, the purpose is to keep track of competitors, market trends, or technological and financial developments in the industry. You may want to keep tabs on how your brand is presented in the media and perceived by your audience. A news API is also helpful in identifying potential threats and difficulties when you enter a new market or launch a new product.
Step #2: Break down your use case into keywords
Based on the purpose of your media tracking, you can now determine the insights you intend to derive from the newsfeed. What is the specific use case and what information are you after? Define the topic and how you intend to use the information from the feed. Then break it down into representative keywords to use in the query.
You might do some keyword research to identify additional related terms that don’t immediately come to mind. Think about how the media talks about the subject and what terminology they use.
Step #3: Structure and run your query
The keywords form the basis for your query and tell the system what to scan for. You’ll want to create a combination of keywords that best describes the type of news and topic you want to get.
You can also define a category and language or other parameters. This enables you to build focused queries and eliminate irrelevant or insincere sources. The structure and number of keywords to enter depend on the specific News API and may vary among providers.
Step #4: Customize your feeds
An advanced news API allows you to further fixate your query. You can customize your feed using a variety of filters. The functions are designed to eliminate irrelevant sources and results. You may only want to see content from official news outlets in your feed. However, many simpler news API providers do not differentiate between news from a blog or forum, or an official news site. This causes your feed to be artificially inflated with content that has no value. We’ll dive deeper in our example.
The setup is usually a simple process. Some news API providers don’t even require any coding. However, it’s critical to ensure the tool is capable of providing a comprehensive, structured, and noise-free news feed.
Make yourself familiar with the options by training the free version or consulting a representative. Take the time to carefully select the News API that will continuously do the job you need it to.
Running a query on Webz.io’s News API – a hands-on example
For our example, let’s assume your customer produces raw materials for plastic molding machines. Their factory supplies tons of little plastic flakes as part of a long-winding supply chain. Oil is a key component in their production cycle. To help them monitor any potential supply chain risks, it’s critical that you pinpoint any issue related to potential shortages in their supply chain. You decide to use a news API to track the news for relevant information so you can spot problems early and react in time.
Step #1: Signing up to Webz.io
We’ll use Webz.io News API for our example. You sign up with your name, email, and company on the signup page. You’ll be provided with an API key and can start running your query.
Step #2: Identifying use case and keywords
You identify the main keywords representing the information you are after. The primary keyword is “oil”. An alternative you might add is “crude”. Next, you need to help the system find articles related to “supply chain”, so that’s another major keyword. To further specify, you would add “shortage” or “deficiency” and, approaching the topic from another angle, “demand”.
Step #3: Structuring the query
Now you have the foundation for your query. In this case, you’d probably not specify any countries, but want to see news from around the world. Alternatively, you could select the main oil-producing countries. You might also apply the language filter to reduce and focus the results to articles relevant to an international audience.
Next, you want to ensure the relevancy of the data you’ll retrieve. You need to make sure the information is reliable and accurate. For your purpose, blog posts by environmental activists or other private contributors aren’t helpful. You need business-related facts and would therefore limit the query to news posts that contain your keywords in the title. You can also specify domain rank to keep out low-quality content.
The query in our example might look like this:
thread.title:(oil$ AND “crude”) AND (“supply chain” OR “shortage” OR “deficiency” OR “demand”) language:english site_type:news domain_rank:<7000 is_first:true
Running this query will retrieve news data on oil and crude shortages and supply chain developments in English. The feed will contain content from news sites only in the specified ranking range. In case a specific text, such as a press release, is published in multiple places, the feed will show only the original publication.
Step #4: Customizing the feed
Webz.io’s News API offers additional filters you can use to customize your feed. NLP software identifies the meaning and sentiment behind the content. Webz.io also structures and enriches the output to make it easily readable by media intelligence platforms.
These are particularly useful when the topic is general and widely covered in the news. You want to ensure to get only truly relevant and useful results. You can experiment with the filters until you receive the optimal outcome.
Once you’re satisfied, simply copy the URL from the API Endpoint into your system. Start consuming continuous data feeds.
What kind of news API is right for your organization?
There are a few questions you should answer before getting started with an API for news articles.
What exactly do you intend to achieve and why? This may vary based on your industry and current business goals. News APIs are typically used by media monitoring companies and other intelligence firms to support market and sales intelligence research. It is also valuable for financial analysis and regulatory compliance monitoring.
Another important factor to consider is how you will use the data and what resources you have to process it. Many providers offer only basic scraping services rather than continuous streams of data feeds. As a result, you receive finite datasets. In addition, the feeds are “noisy”, meaning they include irrelevant content. For example, there is no distinction between an ad and an article text on a specific page, or the date formats are not adjusted to regional variations. This increases structuring time and costs.
Especially when you intend to scale soon, the technical capabilities and limitations of the solution versus your system play a crucial role.
When comparing News APIs check the scope of coverage, source quality, and data latency and history. Check out our full guide to selecting a News API here.
Why Webz.io’s News API?
The idea of using a news API is to generate maximum insights while investing the minimum effort. That’s only valuable with an extensive scope of coverage, low latency, and data structured for machine reading. Otherwise, your solution may miss important content or only get part of the picture. Simultaneously, you need pinpointed focus on your use case.
Webz.io accesses millions of sources across the web. Our News API consumes news data in over 170 languages, providing you with a comprehensive overview of what is being covered in the news anywhere at any time. The sources also include 50TB of historical data starting as early as 2008. You get more than just a current snapshot but can plan a strategized news analysis.
Combine this with the various filter functions and NLP capabilities we talked about and you get a comprehensive, relevant news feed.
Talk to one of our experts to find out how Webz.io News API can help you get the news and all the news you need.