Google Comments Offers New Opportunities for Communicators

October 30, 2007

 Google News 

One of the goals of our Business Wired blog is to provide readers with better tools for communicating their messages in the ever-changing media landscape. Today we are happy to highlight a service we’ve been following with much interest that we and our friends in Google News thought would be of value to Business Wire clients.  

Earlier this year Google News launched a comments feature that allows individuals or organizations that are mentioned in news articles to add their own comments. Comments are then served up alongside those articles on Google News.  

Josh Cohen, Google News’ Product Manager explains: “Google News has always tried to present as many sources as possible to give our users a wide spectrum of views on the news.  Comments is an experimental feature that we believe will continue this goal by letting readers see exactly what people in a story think about current news.  We think this will help us increase the number of diverse and meaningful points of view on the news.”  

So how is this different from any comment section or discussion board? Well, on Google News only persons or organizations who are specifically mentioned in the story can comment. Google News then contacts the person submitting the comment or others in their organization to verify their identity. As a result, each story is expected to have only a handful of highly relevant comments that give readers a more in-depth look at topics in the news. Cohen adds: “their insight will both help readers understand the news, and cover views that may not be well-published or well-understood within the current coverage”. 

For PR professionals and marketers, this is an excellent opportunity to provide greater detail or clarifications when their press releases receive media pick-up. Also, it creates a new channel to follow-up on a press release with updates, success stories, or links to other relevant stories. Finally, it is another form of reaching out to your audience and participating in the conversation. While these comments differ from commenting on blogs or engaging in social networks, they can be a valuable part of the new communications mix.  

So how can you comment on a story that is relevant to your company or client?  According to the instructions on Google News you should send an email to news-comments@google.com containing the following information:

  1. Your comment (hyperlinks allowed, but no attachments)
  2. A link to the story you are commenting on
  3. Your contact details: name, title, and organization
  4. A way to verify your email address

Verification is one of the central components of Google’s comments feature. Therefore it is highly recommended to provide as much information that Google News staff can use (for example adding contact details of persons who can verify your credentials, or, if you are submitting a comment on behalf of a client, demonstrating that you are indeed authorized to speak for them). Keep in mind that Google News will not edit comments once the sender is verified, so they will be posted exactly as you emailed them. 

So the next time your press release or related articles are shown on Google News and you feel you have more valuable input to share, this can be a great new outlet. Please look at the Google Comments instructions page for more details. 

As usual, we’re happy to hear what you think. If you’ve already used Google Comments or would like to share your own thoughts about it, feel free to comment below.


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