I recently posted on the impact the change to Google’s link schemes is having on what we should teach students about writing press releases for the web. But what does this change mean? There are some concern around the web that this is going to have a very negative impact on PR. There again, some seem to be completely ignoring this issue.
Here is my reaction.
(Note: I should have more clearly emphasized in my original post that this lesson extends beyond press releases into other online articles distributed on other websites – like online article marketing campaigns and widespread guest blog campaigns).
Is Google’s update to its link schemes the beginning of the end of PR as Foremski warns?
Clearly this update places greater importance on creating compelling content that folks want to share organically, or to use Google’s terminology “naturally.”
Will this change devalue the press release? From my standpoint as an educator: Honestly, I’m not too worried about it. I don’t think you should be either.
I like Jason Kintzler’s view on the subject in 5 Ways Google Just Helped the PR Industry (And I like what his team is doing at PitchEngine. Maybe that’s why we are using PitchEngine for our social media release assignment). Particularly, I like his point on engagement – that relevant content is content that meets what an audience is looking for which increases the likelihood that it will get shared. But he also warns that unless folks “wake up” (his terms) “they will be replaced by other seemingly unthreatening parts of marketing and communications.”
So why am I not worried?
Because the savvy strategic communicators you and I are seeking to educate are storytellers, not press release machines. They are creating content for an interactive and interconnected multimediascape that users will find, enjoy, and want to share, naturally.
Wherever communication industries are going or not is fine with me. And I think it should be with other educators as well.
That’s because I believe If someone is going to come along and lead communication and relationship building online, it is going to be the type of student I and many others want to teach. That is what excites me about students. They aren’t afraid. They learn, adapt, innovate, and are not confined by “how something has always been done.”
I believe our goals as educators should be to strive to prepare ourselves and to help our fellow educators prepare our students to be the ones with the skill sets to lead that wave, whatever it is going to be. I don’t know everything, things keep changing, and I’ve got a ton to learn! Isn’t that empowering and motivating?
I am not one for “how it has always been done.” And I know of a ton of educators who are they same. They are the folks bravely driving innovation and new ideas, experimenting, thinking about what’s around the corner, and not afraid to take risks and learn from them. The dozens of educators I have met, follow online, or otherwise observed (such as wonderful Promising Professor presentations at AEJMC!) are not stagnant. They are passionate about change.
Whether this or any future change by Google or some other entity means the press release has less value than ever or not, it shouldn’t matter if we 1) are adaptable and innovative educators, and 2) are teaching our students to be strong writers for the web with an eye for engaging content.
Maybe what I’m trying to say is, what an exciting time it is to be an educator!
I hope you all have an amazing semester! Today is our first day. I look forward to learning from you and growing over the coming months!
Next week I will share how I am teaching writing press releases for the web as part of my Writing Across Platforms course.