Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Great PR 

Weatherbug a web service that sends local weathercasts to your computer has created a PR program that not only shows what the Web can do but also ties it closely to users. The full story is here.

Essentially, Weatherbug publishes users' photos on the site along with weather news. The site calls this "participatory journalism," but anywhere I've been, it's darn good PR. Readers have a proprietary interest in weather reports they get because they have a hand in producing them. The company's editors pair appropriate pictures from a reader with the latest reports and send them both down the line.

Interestingly, the service got the idea from Hurricane Isabel that hit the East Coast last fall. The service asked readers to send in photos that showed how the storm had affected them, and it got hundreds of submissions. From that, the idea was born. Serendipity is a good thing, or as a company spokesperson said:

Due to the success of the event, we decided to turn this into a regular feature on WeatherBug and made it easy for users to submit & view photos. Now we receive hundreds of photos per day from users all around the country... photos of their families out in the weather, photos of their pets in the weather, sunrises, sunsets, snow sculptures and dozens of other categories.

Some of the best PR ideas come from accidental and incidental occurrences. Even more importantly, Weatherbug is showing PR practitioners how to get the public involved in building a relationship between a company and its customers.


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