Matt Cutts Is Representative Of Next Generation PR
Many of you reading this already know who Matt Cutts is. For those who don’t, he is Google’s head of webspam. Simplified and in plain English, what that means is he helps make sure those Google results you receive for your queries are of high quality and spam-free.
But this post isn’t about webspam or SEO. What’s even more interesting to me as a communications professional is that in many ways, Matt represents the future of PR as a transparent, seamless process internally for sophisticated, industry-leading companies.
There’s a lot of great thinking from Steve Rubel, Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis and others about the future of PR.
- Steve Rubel has been writing for quite some time that customer service is the new PR
- Jeremiah Owyang writes on a potential future of PR: when agencies represent communities –not brands
- Brian Solis just published a book entitled “Putting the Public Back In Public Relations“
There is a perfect example of a company doing all of these things today not at the consumer level but at the industry level, and it’s Google. And, there’s one person who is the outward-facing leader, living and breathing these ideas and more concurrently for both Google and the SEO community as a whole – Matt Cutts.
Communications executives at large brands nationally should aspire to what Matt does, as he sets the bar extraordinarily high.
- Acts at both the macro and micro level to represent not only Google but the entire SEO community
- Actively responds to and discusses topics with both industry professionals and the media, without talking points or scripts
- Is trusted by Google to speak on behalf of the brand
- Is dedicated to his role and mission for Google and uses PR in a big way to help accomplish his goals
- Actively blogs not only about Google, but the SEO industry as a whole on his personal blog and company blogs
- Is dedicated to what he does and it really shows – he works above and beyond 9-5, this is his passion 24/7
- Is frequently quoted across the spectrum of marketing, internet and tech trades as an expert source
- Acts as a high level customer service representative for complex issues at both enterprise and small scale
- Takes the time to respond to queries or pings by industry professionals wherever they may live – whether as personal emails, Twitter @replies, comments in FriendFeed, blog posts, etc.
- Shows the same respect and patience to everyone he speaks with
- In many cases, personally hedges negative PR about Google simply by responding
- Goes out of his way to help the little guy who he knows is doing the right things
- Frequently attends and speaks at industry events across the world
- Produces videos to educate the industry and answer specific questions
- Asks industry professionals directly for their input and feedback, actually listens
This is just what I could think of off the top of my head, he does even more in reality. As someone interested in learning from how all companies communicate, I pay close attention to the nuances of how others represent their brands/their industries and Matt is consistently one of the best I’ve witnessed.
What Matt is doing probably doesn’t scale. It doesn’t need to, he operates at a high level, and not everything requires his attention. But he’s savvy enough to know what does, and is trusted to act on his own accord, which creates a winning combination for him to be a positive PR machine for Google (in many ways similar to how Steve Rubel concurrently represents Edelman and the digital PR industry).
Many wouldn’t consider Matt in PR, but I would argue he certainly is by the scope of what PR is evolving into:
Customer service? Check.
Leading a community (SEO professionals)? Check.
Putting the public back in public relations? Check.
Speaking on behalf of his company in social and traditional media? Check.
Matt is just one element of Google’s communications strategy of course, but it’s incredible how one individual is literally a force for good behind the brand on so many levels. Google is lucky to have him and I imagine many other companies look on in awe.
What do you think? Is Matt Cutts representative of the future of communications professionals? Is it even possible that every company can find someone like Matt to lead an industry on behalf of their brand, or is he a rare find due to his drive/dedication?
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