BM’s Google News guide

PRWeek recently reported on the new Google feature that lets sources comment directly to certain news stories. Now Burson-Marsteller has compiled a set of...

PRWeek recently reported on the new Google feature that lets sources comment directly to certain news stories. Now Burson-Marsteller has compiled a set of guidelines regarding Google comments. The agency gave us a copy of their suggestions, which includes reasons to engage with Google news, and some reasons to be cautious.

The report encourages comments when:

- It's a chance to correct misinformation.

- It is a quick way to engage during a crisis.

- You can add links and text to stories.

- Comments help improve a company's search engine rankings.

But there are drawbacks:

- Comments help improve a company's search engine rankings - not so great when it's a story you'd rather see buried.
- Comments might make readers more likely to discuss the story on other message forums, blogs or other sites.

- Because of Google's aggregated format, readers might be tempted to read only the headline and comments -- not the full story.

- It could take awhile for a Google comment to be approved.

So what is a client to do?

- Consider whether the article needs a comment - like if it is missing key facts, is inaccurate, or could be expanded upon.

- Do you want to the story to get more attention?

- Could there be backlash against a comment?

- Be transparent.

I'd like to hear from other agencies about their involvement with the Google News feature. Does your agency have similar guidelines? What are some other pros and cons for clients?

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