Is there ever a good time for a “selfie”?

A picture says a thousand words… but only if the camera is pointing the right way!  So isn’t it about time we all started thinking about our audiences instead of focusing on ourselves?

In one of my recent blogs I said that Good PR is rarely about you.  A mantra I can often be found repeating, and repeating. So it was great to come across this blog on the CIPR site from fellow pro, Max Tatton Brown – Press releases are the selfies of the marketing world.  Yes, yes they are, and they needn’t be! It seems many others are banging the same drum, and it got me thinking. If considering your audience when choosing your subject matter is key, is there ever a good time for a selfie?

Pre-iPhone era, way before selfie’s induction into the Oxford English Dictionary,  I used to pop to the chemist to get my holiday snaps processed. I’d hold myself together for the four day wait of excited anticipation, and then open the envelope to dismal disappointment. My regret – every single time – was not getting people, the people that matter, into these shots.

That anti-climax was even worse for my poor friends and family that had to sit through the showing. Look mum! A Giraffe (we went to the zoo), a seascape (err, we went to the beach), a church (we always went to a church, and yes they all looked the same) and so on. 

It was people, the faces they recognised, that were the missing context and point of interest for the poor viewers of my holiday snaps. Something (or someone) that they could relate to; a smile to show I’m enjoying myself on that windy mountain top, a raincoat to prove how bloody cold that beach was, that weird couple we met that are pretty hard to explain if not pictured.

For my family a photo of me was, believe it or not, the subject matter that meant they could give a damn about my holiday photos. Today, I’m far better at taking pics with that in mind,  and that means the occassional selfie. That’s okay though, because you’ll never see them. I know that for others (on Facebook or Twitter, say) that would appear pretty self-centred, uninteresting and frankly irrelevant. That’s the same for PR. It’s really not about you, it’s about relating to your reader, your viewer.

Are today’s press releases really marketing’s equivalent of a selfie? If we’re talking about appearing inward looking, and being all about your product when trying to engage your audience, then  yes – all too often they are.  I’d perhaps go even further than the press release to say that the old (but still very much alive) mindset of corporate PR – ‘go forth and broadcast my story to the world’ – also falls into this category. 

It’s simple really; a good story, press release or pitch, has to turn the camera around to point at the subject that will capture your intended audience’s attention. For me, and my mum, that’s my lovely mug. For anyone else, it’s definitely another angle.

 The original blog piece in full is worth a read – it raises some interesting points, and some great press release tips and best practice too.

Oh, and as far as poor holiday photography goes, it’s not just me that’s trying to banish the days of bad, uninteresting snaps. Check out this Holiday company PR campaign – is it time for your very own professional holiday photographer?  

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