We all know that old-school press releases are deader than land lines and that clients get robots to write them now, right?
Right. But nobody told Google.
Yesterday, Reuters reported that a small change in Google’s algorithm will now allow companies’ own statements to appear atop searches.
In the interest of convenience and accuracy, the “Don’t Be Evil” guys may well place your press release ahead of New York Times coverage in both “news” searches and the “in the news” section of standard searches, as seen below:
The key factor is timing. Google PR explains:
“The goal of search is to get users the right answer at any one time as quickly as possible — that may mean returning an article from an established publisher or from a smaller niche publisher or indeed it might be a press release.”
Classify this as earned media, because Google doesn’t get paid for placing said releases in its search results.
Hot take? The change is good news for PR and bad news for major journalistic institutions like the Times and The Wall Street Journal, because whoever posts the announcement first will get top placement and clicks.
It’s a symptom of our digital age, though: new distribution channels allow brands — and, by extension, their PR teams — to become publishers with greater power to drive the narrative.
Time will tell whether this is a good thing. We have some thoughts…