Monday, September 27, 2010

Small time PR

To me, every time the term "PR" comes to mind I think of New York City, a swanky office building in midtown, a celebrity in trouble and a conference room full of business suits trying to put the pieces back together.  Of course this is just one example of how PR works, but what about people in Texas? Or Oregon?  Sure we have nice offices and high powered executives too, but is PR all about the celebrities and the glam?

According to wikipedia (a reliable source, I'm sure) Public Relations is a field concerned with maintaining public image for high-profile people, commercial businesses and organizations, non-profit associations or programs. Now after many PR classes I know this definition to be true, however, I don't think it's as black and white as that.  For example, my sister started her own photography company a few months ago and has been working to get her name out to a targeted audience, the people of Midland.  In a nutshell, PR is the business in which people work their hardest to ensure that their company's good name is not tarnished and is portrayed in the best light possible. Public Relations Practitioners are hired to make sure their client, a company, has a good relationship with their public, employers, and clients.  But for a smaller company with only one employee how does PR work?

When my sister first started her company here is what she did. 
1-came up with a company name, Wynne Elder Photography
2-hired a graphic designer to create a logo for her new company 
3-did free sessions for friends in order to establish relationships and references
4-created a website with tons of information about her services, examples, past clients, calendar for availability, and most importantly a section about herself, which reassures her future clients she is legit and eager to please 
5-used social media to promote her new website, including twitter, facebook, her personal blog, and word of mouth
6-had any of her friends who uploaded her pictures to facebook give her credit underneath the photo so people who saw and liked the picture knew who took it and where to find her
7-created a blog about her sessions, her passion, and everything else any future client needed to know

Wynne did a great job of promoting her company on her own, maintaining a good public image, giving the public a clear understanding of how her business works. Wynne didn't have any PRPs working to promote her new company and she also didn't have a crisis that needed to be worked out.  She was simply using PR 101 to reach out to her targeted audience combined with more modern modes of PR such as social media outlets.  PR isn't always about maintaining crisis situations, it can be about small companies getting started, big companies maintaining a good reputation, and even celebrities dilemmas. PR isn't always black or white.

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