A few weeks ago, Google launched a website called News Lab that provides easy access to its repackaged suite of digital reporting tools ready for journalists to take advantage of.
A nice perk is that content creators of all kinds will be able to make use of Google’s features. Bloggers, SEOs, and copywriters alike now have streamlined access to ways to bulk up their future content with numbers, multimedia, and references.
News Lab follows up this year’s focus on enriching news content. Earlier last month, YouTube Newswire was launched to introduce curated and verified newsworthy videos on their channel and in newsletters.
It’s another push towards Google’s vision of an Internet filled with quality content by providing different ways to enrich the content development process. The goal of News Lab is to help ensure innovations in news lead to more accessible and useful information for anyone to read.
Google breaks down the citizen journalist process down to four simplified different steps: Research, Report, Distribute, Optimize. News Lab showcases tools for users to take advantage of in each part of the writing process. Each subset of tools comes with lessons for new users to utilize to maximize the ROI on learning these tools.
The goal for this set of tools is to ease users into optimizing their story idea process. Google’s research tools include power-searcher favorites like Advanced Search and Google Alerts. Google Trends features the search engine’s most searched and discussed keywords and stories. Users are introduced to the oft-forgotten photo verification tool called Reverse Image Search and reminded of the value Google Translate can offer.
For enhanced references, Google News Archive is at the fingertips of anyone who wants access to digital publications and older newspapers. Gather insights from real people with Google Consumer Surveys and visualize it with other high-quality data sets from Public Data Explorer. Google Scholar is available for anyone in search of whitepapers or released studies throughout the years.
Report With Context
The meat of the reporting tools is meant to enhance the visualization of stories. Unsurprisingly, YouTube is at the top of the list here with a lesson on how to integrate video into storytelling.
New standouts to the game are Google My Maps and Google Earth Pro. Both tools allow for an interactive, location-based contextual tool to provide readership with a better picture of where a story takes place. Attribution tools are provided to give use of these visualization tools a bit more legitimacy. Google News Lab Alerts provide satellite images of breaking news straight to the inbox to support the writing process.
Distribute To Different Channels
It’s no secret that social media helps with story discovery. Though this tool is more useful to editors and webmasters, teams of one will find this section useful to filling any gaps in the big-picture distribution process. Google’s agreement with Twitter makes tweets easier to navigate in everyone’s favorite search engine. The more platforms a story is shared to, the easier it is for readers to find.
Circulate your published stories on Google News, Google+, and Newsstand (yes, you can do that). Learn how to monetize content with YouTube’s Partner Program and AdSense platforms. With a bigger focus on video, Google has included lessons on how to implement SEO into your YouTube channel to facilitate discovery.
Analytical data takes center stage here. Though the lessons are a bit more complex, journalists and webmasters can take advantage of the data provided by YouTube and Google Analytics to find out who reads their content. Using these data insights, content producers can learn how to attract new visitors whether it’s on their blog or on their YouTube channel.
There’s also a section in optimizing content for search engines, with bite-sized information on the importance of location metadata and keywords for queries. Google wants any new videos through its toolset to be optimized effectively.
Though most of the tools are already being used and being featured often, News Lab has set up an infrastructure ready for the evolution of the content creation process. A few lessons are “coming soon” and some sections have some room to be bulked up.
The tools included in News Lab are focused on shaping the future of the Internet to have as much useful variety in content as the search giant can provide. For now, SEOs will have to wait and see how Google fills up the rest of the toolbox.