Google wants to help communities share their local stories—and that’s great news for PR pros.
The app, called Bulletin, will source articles from citizen journalists, though it will enable anyone to upload stories and videos through a mobile app.
According to the footage above from blogger Sami Cone who reported that she was at Google’s Bulletin launch event in Nashville, users will be able to update their blogs continuously (as you would with a liveblog post) and see viewership stats to know where readers are coming from.
It’ll be interesting to see how this rolls out and fits into Google’s strategy for grabbing more eyeballs through its News and Search services. Beyond getting people to try Bulletin when they’re starting out reporting local news, it’ll have to incentivize them for sticking around once they get the hang of it and feel the need to grow an audience for themselves.
Google’s app is hosted on a website that is up and running, so the curious can take a peek.
Site managers say Bulletin posts will have important meaning for visitors by helping them discover stories that aren’t being told.
What’s special about a story on Bulletin? A Bulletin story is…
· Impactful: Bulletin helps you tell the stories that aren’t being told
· Open: Bulletin stories are public and easy to discover: on Google search, through social networks, or via links sent by email and messaging apps
· Effortless: No setup is required to create a story – all you need is a smartphone
With Bulletin you can contribute to local stories and be the voice of your community!
The move could be part of the solution as newspapers struggle and local news websites (like Gothamist and DNAinfo) close up shop.
Google is testing the product, with beta-users operating in Nashville, Tennessee, and in Oakland, California.
“This is very much in the testing phase and aimed at hyperlocal stories and events for people to share, and for local media to take advantage of,” spokeswoman Maggie Shiels told me. “People everywhere want to know what is going on in their own backyard at a very local level, ranging from local bookstore readings to high school sporting events to information about local street closures.”
If the service becomes popular among users—enough to warrant heavy investment from communicators—it might become a secret weapon for PR pros looking to get their message out.
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Here are three reasons PR pros should keep their eyes on Google’s new community bulletin board:
1. Citizen journalism needs experts and authoritative voices.
As news organizations shrink and lose their authority on local issues, citizen journalists are stepping in to spread the word about local news and events. However, these bloggers often lack the expertise to properly deliver information to their audiences. This could be a perfect opportunity for brand managers to help create a community and further their business goals.
2. Google+ is out; this could replace it.
Some observers just see Google Bulletin as an opportunity for the internet giant to get back into the social media game after Google+ failed to achieve the success of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Underneath the marketing, however, it pretty much sounds like another attempt by the big G to enter the social networking market, though a bit more low-key and on a smaller scale this time.
This could be a winning strategy, as Facebook’s newsfeed sees a massive overhaul and brands and publishers lose their organic reach on the site.
3. Internet ads are getting less pull.
Google has also announced that it will be expanding its program to reduce ads that can follow users around the internet—also known as “reminder” ads.
“Reminder ads like these can be useful, but if you aren’t shopping for Snow Boot Co.’s boots anymore, then you don’t need a reminder about them,” Jon Krafcik, group product manager of data privacy and transparency at Google, said in a blog post.
Marketers and PR pros must find other ways to get their organizations in front of consumers, including content marketing and other forms of owned media. Google’s Bulletin may represent another opportunity for organizations to turn owned media into news stories that people want to read.
What role do you see for Bulletin in your PR and marketing efforts, PR Daily readers?
Image Copyright: rvlsoft / 123RF Stock Photo