Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Picture This: Photos Play A Vital PR Role

If 90 percent of life is showing up, then in the world of PR, 91 percent is showing up with a camera.

Proof of that is on Page 1 of the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest, my hometown.

There, above the fold so prominently that his red hair juts into the masthead, is my 4-year-old son, Zachary. His face is firmly planted in a watermelon, as part of an activity sponsored by Downtown Oak Park (DTOP), an association of businesses seeking to boost commerce in their shops.

It was one of about a dozen photos I took of Zach and his twin sister, Maggie Rose, another ambitious watermelon contestant.

Moments before snapping the photos, partly proud papa and partly 24/7 publicist, I told DTOP Executive Director Pat Zubak that having photos in hand would at least give the group a chance of some additional coverage.

When I bumped into WJ managing editor Helen Karakoudas a few minutes later, she voiced regret that the paper didn’t have a photographer shooting the watermelon scene. I’ve got photos, I told her. “Please send them to me,” she replied.

Lo and behold, a few days later on deadline, a planned front-page story fell through and Helen needed to fill a hole. Enter Zachary, the face-in-watermelon kid.

This is only the latest example where my modest photographic skills have helped secure coverage. Another recent success came last month, when I furnished photos to a pair of Chicago newspapers, La Raza and Extra.

The images centered on a 16-year-old from Nicaragua who received a new prosthetic leg with the help of the Range of Motion Project (ROMP), Healing the Children and my client, Scheck & Siress. Both papers gave generous attention to the story, with the photos a focal point of their pieces.

Bottom line: if you don’t offer any photos to the media, then you are severely limiting your PR potential. Sometimes, it makes all the difference as to whether you get any coverage at all.

And, yeah, I guess it also helps to have a cute kid or two.


Steve said...

So where is the picture of the cute kid devouring the watermelon? Nice story.

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.