If you were reading the news to follow the US presidential elections and simply used “Clinton” or “Trump” in your search, chances are you received a lot more information than you ever could have possibly hoped to read. In the case of “Clinton”, were you referring to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton or maybe the Clinton Foundation? In the case of Trump, you might get family members, business dealings or real estate announcements bearing his name in addition to election related stories. There were millions of stories available over the past few days alone. Even if you weren’t searching on either term you might not have escaped the flood of stories but getting back to the original intent, a single keyword search was not the best approach.
The same applies to news and information for your job or business. If you are in financial services and were interested in company specific news, a simple search on a company name or ticker symbol will deliver a lot of information. Will it return too much information? Probably, but a news filter or two can narrow your search to match your interest. Let’s say you were interested in earnings information specifically, you would want to search on your preferred company AND earnings. For those of you familiar with using Boolean logic, navigating the world of search is a little bit easier for you and you totally understood why I used capitalization for “and”. Boolean operators can help you perform some pretty sophisticated searches on everyday search engines. This can be the difference between getting a handful of stories that help you make a timely decision and taking time to scan pages of results until you find what you need. As well let’s not forget the sponsored content you inevitably stumble upon that takes us down an unintended path only to realize you’ve gotten way off track. Boolean logic is very useful however that may not be for everyone.
The ability to filter your news down to the topics and categories that apply to your business needs is table stakes in my opinion. Free services like Google News are useful for seeing the big picture but not so much for getting into specifics. If you are able to pay a little bit, information services will offer that next level but it is worth a thorough review to ensure that these filters or categories accurately return relevant results. Not all categorizations (also known as taxonomies) are created equal. Acquire Media spends a great deal of resources into developing and maintaining our taxonomy. A good taxonomy really is that important for efficient and effective information gathering to support sound decision making.