Recently, Google announced the launch of their new suite of tools Journalist Studio. Google explains this new suite as “a collection of tools to empower journalists to do their work more efficiently, creatively, and securely.”
As a former college student who spent hours and hours researching topics and data for papers, these tools could have made the research process a lot less painful, in addition to preventing a lot of unnecessary tears from being shed.
“Hold up, Nicole. I’m not a journalist or a college student struggling to write a research paper — I’m a digital sales and marketing professional. How will the Journalist Studio tool be useful for me?”
If your current role involves researching information; analyzing, pulling, or visualizing data; running and taking notes on meetings or interviews; or anything of the sort, you can use this tool. (I’d wager that’s most of you.)
So, knowing that, let’s dive into exactly what Journalist Studio is and how it can be useful for not only for students and journalists, but also results-chasing digital sales and marketing pros like you and me.
The basics of Journalist Studio
Journalist Studio has many tools that can make aspects of your job or a project you are working on more efficient. For example, the Fact Check Explorer tool can easily fact check information.
Why does fact-checking in your digital sales and marketing content matter? Here’s what IMPACT Editorial Director Liz Moorehead says:
“If you’re presenting any sort of data in the content you create for your audience, fact-checking (whether you do that through Journalist Studio or somewhere else) needs to become a part of your process immediately, if it isn’t already.
The last thing you want is for an ideal buyer you’re trying to target calling you out because you presented faulty or flawed information, which is a very efficient way to erode trust with the exact people you’re trying to cultivate it with.”
Another tool called DataSet Search finds datasets to support your information. Then there’s Flourish, which creates visual representations of your data from creative-looking templates. Though there are many tools within the suite, the two most talked about features are Pinpoint and The Common Knowledge project.
Anyone who has had to do extensive research for an article, or basically any type of research project, knows that one of the most tedious parts is filtering through tons of documents or articles to find the information you need.
Previously you may have had to search through dozens of websites, PDFs, case studies, ebooks, and academic bases like EBSCO or JSTOR to find the information you needed.
Liz is also over the moon about this feature, noting:
"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to create a piece of content that required me to back up my findings with some sort of data — whether that’s making the case for video in a digital marketing strategy, or how COVID-19 has impacted sales teams — but parsing through dense, jargon-filled research reports is tedious, soul-crushing work.
But you have to do it, right? That’s what’s best for your audience when you need to present data; you need to do the heavy-lifting on behalf of your audience, so they don’t need to sit down and do that work.
A tool like Pinpoint… it sounds like a dream. It sounds like getting hours back in my week. It sounds like it’ll make me more likely to include relevant data that will help us create more trustworthy content that will empower our audiences to make smarter decisions faster. That’s not specific to me, though.
Every content manager, content director, or digital marketing leader in charge of content needs to think the same way. If you’re not using data because it’s too hard to find it and integrate it into your content, this will help you solve for that. If you are already, this will make that process more efficient and open up newer opportunities for data inclusion.”
Pinpoint allows you to upload large amounts of documents to easily sort through the files. It identifies topics, people, companies, locations, and much more.The tool allows you to upload anything from forms, handwritten notes, images, emails, or PDFs.
“OK, that’s it. I’m marrying Pinpoint,” Liz said upon hearing about this feature.
Another very helpful feature of Pinpoint is that it can convert audio files into text. That way you can easily upload audio files from interviews, focus groups, meetings, etc. without having to type out all of your notes. Once all files are uploaded, you can easily search for a specific keyword or topic in the search bar. The search feature also allows users to select exact match, exclude, or combined keywords
Bonus: All uploaded documents will automatically be defaulted to private documents. There is an option to share the files with others similar to how you can share items in a Google Drive.
Currently, you have to request access to Pinpoint by filling out the form on this page. The form mentions that requests are usually responded to within 24 hours but it might take longer.
What is The Common Knowledge Project?
Google describes The Common Knowledge Project as a tool that can “explore, visualize, and share data about important issues in your local community. Create your own chart from billions of public data points.”
All of the data used in this tool comes from Data Commons, another tool within the Journalist Studio suite that compiles data from public datasets.
When creating a chart, you can search by the following information:
Over 260 different metrics
Source type from the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI Gov Crime, or the U.S. Economic Census
Categories like people, economy, healthy, education and crime
The Common Knowledge tool is currently in beta but is still available for anyone to use.
The one downfall of this tool is that it currently only shows data from 2012 to 2018. As the tool begins to age and the latest census data is released, I believe this tool will be more useful for finding recent information.
How to use Pinpoint and The Common Knowledge Project
Let’s jump into a few examples of how to use these two tools.
How can I use Pinpoint?
As Liz mentioned, the Pinpoint tool can be used by just about anyone. In addition to content purposes, the audio transcription feature is great if you facilitated a meeting over the phone, attended a speech, or ran a meeting with a team of people and didn’t have time to take notes.
Pinpoint as a whole can make the research phase for journalists, content creators, content marketers, lawyers, scientists, historians, etc. much more efficient than having to read through articles one by one or listening to an entire audio file.
You’ve found a few articles, an infographic, two downloadable e-books, recorded interviews with a content strategist and an editorial director, and took written notes during a webinar that you attended.
One of the parts of creating a content marketing strategy that you want to focus on is using keyword research to drive your strategy.
To get started, you will save any articles as PDFs and use Pinpoint to transcribe the audio from your interviews. Once you’ve done that, you can upload all of the information that you found into Pinpoint to streamline your research process.
By searching for phrases like “target keyword,” “keyword research,” or “topic research,” the tool will pull out any instances in those files that use those phrases. This works similar to using the Control (or CMD on Mac) + F feature, but searches through all of the documents you uploaded instead of just one at a time.
Basically, Pinpoint does all of the heavy-lifting so that you can focus on the end goal of your work.
How can I use The Common Knowledge Project?
How can this tool be useful specifically for marketers and business owners? Well, let’s pretend you are a business owner or a marketer in my hometown of Fort Lauderdale. You want to learn a little more about your target age group of 25 to 34 year olds by seeing how many people fall into that age group in your area.
You will search for charts of Fort Lauderdale in the tool then select the chart with the ages of people in that city. Once you find the chart, click edit chart to drill down into your 25 to 34 age group.
Below is an example of what the edit chart feature looks like and how the chart appears once you edit the information.
To make it simple, The Common Knowledge Project is a great tool for finding data from three of the most reputable resources: The U.S. Census Bureau, FBI Gov Crime, or The U.S. Economic Census.
Sometimes the best resources come from unlikely places
Even though Journalist Studio was not originally created for digital sales and marketing professionals, it presents a lot of opportunities for those in our industry.
As content creation is looking more like brand journalism, anyone who is creating content for a business is doing a lot of the research and data validation that a journalist would do. Though the title on your email signature might not say “journalist,” you can still get a lot of use out of tools like this.
For example, Liz is already plotting how to use the Data GIF maker for an upcoming feature article on virtual selling that's super data-heavy.
To that point, it is a great reminder to not count out tools that may seem like they were created with another audience in mind. There are a lot of other free tools out there from companies like Google that could make content creation much easier for you.