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News feed APIs: What are they and how are they useful to your business?

Article by Malay Mehrotra 3 min read

Introduction

Businesses these days require a constant stream of information on their market and competitors in order to stay informed and make better decisions. While there are a number of sources they can monitor on the internet to do that, tracking multiple sources can be exhausting, and can take up too much time. There's also the problem of tracking relevant sources of information, filtering out information that isn't actionable. What businesses need, in practice, is noise-free, industry-relevant news. That's where news feed APIs come into play. News APIs allow you to connect your applications with online news sources, enabling you to track, analyze, and enrich obtained data to serve various use cases as per your business requirements. In this article, let us understand a bit more about news APIs, what they are, how to use them, and how they can help your business. Let's go.

What is a news feed API?

What Is A News Feed Api

To understand what a news API is, we first need to know what an API is. An API, or "application programming interface", is a platform that allows software to interact. According to Forbes, APIs enable companies to securely and quickly exchange data and information with the outside world. APIs act as building blocks between applications, helping enhance functionality and automating repetitive tasks. A news API is pretty much the same, except it connects online news sources with applications. It is a piece of efficient technology that can be used by businesses to obtain machine-readable data automatically from various news websites, and delivers it to you via Rest API, RSS feeds and/or webhooks. A news API connects organizations wanting to extract information from the media sources they wish to analyze, monitor, and research. It can, thus, be used by organizations to create new products and services, add features to their existing applications, and/or monetize their content.

How do news APIs work?

How Do News Apis Work

Although each news API may have different functionalities, generally news APIs work by scraping relevant text from news websites, blogs and articles. A news API provides programmatic access to news articles from multiple news websites and parses it to extract the news data, text and metadata. This is then delivered in JSON format, which can be integrated into your applications, allowing you to easily stream data feed from news sources worldwide. Fundamental (or simple) news APIs can only scrape basic data like headlines, snippets, date of publishing of the article and the author's name. However, advanced news feed APIs utilize AI-based methods like Natural Language Processing (NLP) as well as Machine Learning (ML) to tag contextual meta-data to news articles. They can recognize categories, sentiments, topics, persons, dates, events, and more to help users discover news headlines and snippets relevant to their use-case.

How can organizations use news APIs?

How Can Organizations Use News Apis

There are a number of news APIs available on the market these days, most of which are offered by large media agencies. However, businesses usually need news that pertains to their target markets. Fortunately, there are organizations that offer custom news feed APIs as well, which can be configured to deliver only business-relevant news. Organizations can leverage such news APIs in the following ways:

1. Creating their own news app or website

Organizations that are building their news app or website can leverage news feed APIs as the primary source of news, which saves a lot of effort spent in manual aggregation. Unless you’re creating your own publication with original content, you’ll need to get news from somewhere, right?

2. Creating their own news aggregation app or website

If you're creating your news aggregation app or website, or your news feed API for that matter, you can combine the data fetched from multiple news feed APIs (including your own) to build a comprehensive news aggregation platform, with news from a huge variety of sources. Read this case study about how news feed APIs have helped Targeted News Service (TNS) build a reliable open-source intelligence solution.

3. Driving their market and competitive intelligence program

One of the use-cases of news APIs recently has been market and competitive intelligence. Organizations can drive a fully-tailored market and competitive intelligence program by integrating news feed APIs with their intranet portals, ERP, CRM, and KMS. This allows them a constant stream of industry-relevant news which benefits all the stakeholders and facilitates informed business decisions.

4. Tracking and monitoring companies

A number of global organizations have to track and monitor other companies for several reasons, for example, to identify the security risks associated with their third-party vendors or those of their clients. A news feed API can be used to identify and add relevant information in a timely manner into such a company’s SaaS-based platform. Read this case study on how a leading risk management solution provider leveraged newsfeed APIs to automate the monitoring of security risks.

5. Identifying sales triggers

Sales professionals depend on certain signals to single out engagement opportunities with prospects and clients, known as sales triggers. These sales triggers include partnerships & alliances, new offerings, M&A activities, funding rounds, customer acquisitions, etc. A news feed API can help identify sales triggers with unmatched accuracy when customized to deliver only actionable sales triggers and filter out irrelevant marketing content like webinars. Read this case study to know how news feed APIs helped power company insights for a sales software.

How to choose the right news API for your business?

How To Choose The Right News Api For Your Business

These days, organizations have lots of news feed APIs in the market to choose from. However, the 'right' news API depends on your requirements. Here are the things that you should be paying attention to when choosing a news API for your organization.

1. Sources

What kind of news do you want to monitor on a daily basis? Perhaps big media outlets like New York Times or BBC News for the latest news on trending topics? Maybe you're interested in Financial Times or Bloomberg for financial news? Or maybe you want news, articles and blogs pertaining to a specific industry like Tech? Either way, you need to check the coverage and sources of the news API you're going to choose.

2. Language

It is important to check what all languages your news API offers news in. If you want news in languages other than English, make sure your news feed API offers multiple languages. If it is a custom news feed API, it'll probably have multi-language support.

3. Coverage

Make sure you understand how much coverage your news API offers, i.e. does it only provide headlines, snippets or full text from news stories. Headlines and snippets may not be enough for a number of use-cases, so it's always smarter to go with a news feed API that provides full text.

4. Ease of use

Make sure you choose a news API that allows developers ease of use. Check its documentation beforehand, and share it with your organization's developers, as they're the ones who'll have to integrate it with your apps, and/or websites. Also, always get a free trial and perform due diligence to convince all the stakeholders before deciding to buy it.

Why choose Contify's news feed APIs for your business?

Contify is a market and competitive intelligence platform that offers its news feed API as a solution for businesses. Contify's news feed API offers wide coverage of clean and company-based intelligence data relevant to a specific business or industry, instead of keyword-based feeds. It collects news data from 200k+ sources, including company websites, online news, social media, reviews websites, regulatory portals, job boards, niche and premium publications.

In addition to that, it allows you to integrate your preferred sources for fetching user-relevant data from anywhere around the world. Contify also provides multi-language support through SmartTranslate so that you can source intel from publications in hundreds of languages.

Contify combines AI and machine-learning technologies with human intelligence to deliver deduplicated and actionable data feed, identify trends, and maintain system integrity. The platform also includes noise-filtering algorithms like NLP, NER, and disambiguation, to ensure a constant flow of quality updates.

With API endpoints and customized taxonomy, it structures all the sourced data with its endpoints to align your business goals, allowing you frictionless collaboration using fully dedicated account management.

Conclusion

A news feed API can help your organization in more ways than one, whether you're using it as a data source, building your own product, gathering intelligence or simply for news aggregation. News APIs enhance the functionality of your applications and can decrease development time significantly. Even if your app isn’t necessarily about news, adding a little news on the side about your industry can keep your users up-to-date and interested. Just be sure to go with a news API that fulfills your requirements and is appropriate for your business. Hopefully, this article provided you with a good understanding of news APIs, and will help you with your decision of selecting one for your organization.

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