Snake Oil Salesmen! PR on the web

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Snake Oil Salesmen! PR on the web, Public Relations

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 unlikely prospect.

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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