SNAKE OIL SALESMEN! PR on the web
by Mike Valentine
The popular media image of the "PR hack" makes the snake
oil salesman look good by comparison. I've spent my entire professional
life on the edges of PR, and now find myself in the center promoting
my own online ventures and those of web clients as well.
As a newspaper photographer, I was often called upon to "make
__fill_in_the_blank_here__ LOOK GOOD" even when that was an
Later, as a magazine photographer, I was often called upon to do
the same thing.
Again, as an advertising photographer, I have been challenged with
making "EVERYTHING look good" because that's what I'm
paid to do. The interesting thing is that, more often than not,
I become an enthusiastic promoter of those things I've been paid
to "make look good". I'm proud to show the photograph
of the rivet gun in my portfolio beside the jewelry photo and the
wine bottle photo because I was successful in my mission to "make
them look good".
My point here is that when I believe in a product, I become an admirer
and then a promoter. The key seems to be in the honest personal
appraisal and true enthusiasm over the subject of the PR. Nobody
blelieves you if you don't believe it yourself. This could be one
reason why PR directors move so often from one product or subject
to the next, because when they lose the enthusiasm for the new product
or discover flaws in the service they can do nothing to resolve
the suddenly hollow praise. It's time to improve or move.
The internet is the same for me. I create something new and innovative
and then set about "making it look good" while in the
process, if I don't fall in love with the idea or product, I can't
honestly praise and promote it. I only get involved with clients
that I feel the same way about. If their service or product is just
another version of the same ol' widget, I can't go very far in my
praise or enthusiasm.
How do you feel about your website? Can you honestly talk about
it with enthusiasm and promote it with pride?
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