As a journalist writing content here at LOYAL, and blog posts, news stories and features for a number of other clients, a large amount of my time is spent researching and trying to think up the best keywords to enter into Google.
Like most journalists, the research stage is the most important part of crafting an article for me. When I approach any piece – from long-form articles to shorter news stories – it’s critical that I have access to accurate, trustworthy sources to produce a well-informed narrative that readers can trust. Maintaining my credibility as a journalist is important.
But hunting down reliable information can be an incredibly time-consuming task that eats into my working day. The fear of missing critical information that could add real value to an article means I often get lost in the research part. I can spend hours hopping between web pages to scour the internet for valuable information, losing track of ‘juicy’ statistics, case studies or quotes that are essential to build a strong story amid a blur of browser tabs.
This is why I was excited to give our own editorial research tool a try. I was curious to see if LOYAL could speed up my job and streamline the process of collecting information. Make the research stage less ‘messy’ so to speak and help me substantiate articles quickly.
I was asked to write a 500-word news story on President Biden and his re-signing of The Paris Agreement earlier this year, using LOYAL to support my research throughout – from gathering initial context on the topic and building a structure for the piece, to adding key quotes and checking I hadn’t missed any crucial information at the end, before I filed the story.
In order to make sure my results were as relevant to this particular news story as possible, I started out by customising my sources via the LOYAL dashboard. This allowed me to hone in on particular publications I trusted that related to the topic which was a big advantage over using a traditional search engine.
Once set up, this gave me quick and easy access to the most relevant content from these sources, along with LOYAL’s carefully curated list of sources, as I wrote, saving me a lot of time. I didn’t have to search specific publications to see if they had covered this topic recently and I could hide sources I didn’t want to see, streamlining my research.
I then opened up my working Google Doc and started out by writing a working headline of the piece: “The US returns to the Paris Agreement. How will this affect climate change?”. I then ran LOYAL from within my writing space to see what it would pick up. I was impressed. The tool had quickly returned valuable information that provided me with a strong background to the topic.
There were a handful of highly relevant articles from reputable publications, which I was able to read to give an overview of the topic before taking a deeper dive into my research. As I scrolled down the inset-panel to the right of my screen I could scan articles far quicker than on a search engine, identifying the logos of publications I trusted.
I flitted between reading content within the LOYAL panel, which ran down the side of my document somewhat like a live newsfeed, and writing. I copy and pasted relevant information into my document and made further notes without having to leave my Google doc to hunt for information on search engines, social media or RSS feeds.
Once I had written a working intro I was happy with, I ran LOYAL again – essentially feeding the algorithm with more text to analysis. A number of additional relevant sources appeared at this point. When I had done some more in-depth reading, I felt confident starting to craft the rest of the piece.
I found it really easy to flit back and forth between writing and researching with LOYAL. I can spend ages darting between dozens of tabs to piece the bigger picture together and add context to a piece. With LOYAL there was no ‘window hopping’ or fear I’d accidentally delete a tab and never find it again.
Also, with LOYAL’s sentiment analysis traffic light system I could easily detect whether an article had a positive or negative stance on the subject which was an added benefit. This gave me a quick indication of the attitudes and opinions expressed in the piece.
Read more about LOYAL’s sentiment analysis technology here.
I was then able to run LOYAL one final time once I had finished the piece to see if it would retrieve any more articles I may have missed, now that I had 500-words of work for it to best-match results to.
I timed my experience using LOYAL against a traditional search engine and found that the tool sped up my research significantly – by as much as 63% when searching for useful articles (see chart above for more time-saving results). I noticed that when using Google, a lot of time was spent typing out relevant keyphrases, opening new tabs and x-ing out of content that only served as a distraction.
LOYAL streamlined this experience and the research tool has now become a key resource when writing any content. It’s saved me a lot of valuable time.