To some this sounds like a timesaver, but to the PR professional it sounds like a bad dream. Email is one of the essential channels we use to build media relationships, communicate the latest news and build awareness on our clients’ behalf. Having algorithms push our emails to the bottom of the heap means we must overcome another obstacle that stands between our information and journalists.
But PR professionals need not despair. Google Priority Inbox simply means good PR tactics will be even more essential. PR professionals will need to:
- Know the media landscape even better
- Have real relationships with key contact
- Send even more tailored pitches
- Think about using key words in pitches
- Create better subject lines
- Continue generating interesting and compelling ideas
Additionally, journalists haven’t been enamored with Google Priority Inbox. Adam Pash of Lifehacker found the feature useful for his personal email account, but when it came to his Lifehacker account (which receives hundreds of emails every day, according to Pash) Google Priority Inbox wasn’t reliable. Pash decided not to use the feature - for now anyway - because he couldn’t count on Google knowing his account well enough to decide what was important. He wasn’t convinced tweaking the preferences would ensure reliability for his high-volume account. Pash also commented on the situation’s irony since his Lifehacker account is where he needs sorting features the most.
Jefferson Graham of USA Today also reviewed the feature and said, “don't waste your time with it.” He concluded: “By letting Google make decisions about what's important, the good stuff gets buried, and the bad stuff goes to the top of my inbox. Because Google is making decisions about what I should see -- instead of a first-come, first-served e-mail list -- I'm not seeing all my correspondence as I should.”
Graham’s point is interesting considering both PR pros and journalists have professional reasons for not seeing their emails through Google glasses. PR pros don’t want their communications channels restricted, while journalists don’t want to miss what’s important; both groups depend upon this. Although Google’s algorithms continue to save people time and effort (Google Alerts come to my rescue regularly), Google Priority Inbox may not be anyone’s dream-come-true. I’d love to hear what you think and if you’ve tried the new feature.