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May 6, 2010
Why PR's Headed Online

Almost back-to-back, we came upon two contrasting pieces of Web advice on whether small businesses need PR services. Since small businesses can become bigger ones -- especially if they do PR well -- it's important to pay heed to what these two sites are saying.

ReadWriteStart offers "Media Relations 101 for Your Startup" with the message, "First off, you do not need a PR firm. The retainer is usually not worth it, especially for a young, growing startup because your product is still drastically changing and because your conversion rates are probably very low."

Well, we thought we might as well pack it up.

Then we clicked on the Small Business Trends site and read their piece, "Small Business News: How Will You Compete?" Close to the top of its tips is a section on, you guessed it, social media. ReadWriteStart didn't even mention social media, except indirectly (a young business might want to get featured on a blog, and certainly the proprietor should be on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn).

From the headings on the Small Business Trends section on social media, we were reminded that the new online tools -- blogging, collaboration, and social media relationships -- don't come naturally to a lot of new business people. They need counsel and guidance on how to proceed, and they might even need blog-writing services. 

Sure, funds may be sparse for a start-up, but PR sensibilities focused on the new media are key to helping it grow. That's why we especially liked the 'PR Starter Packs' service that iMindsPR offers and that we noted on Monday. It's aimed at helping a new business get focused and become aware of tools and approaches that are available to it. 

Increasingly, successful start-up techniques are online ones. If PR firms are to grow with the times and their prospects' best interests, they need to have online capability, very seriously so. Nobody's going to get very far these days by trying to do it all, especially if that involves neglecting a concerted online strategy, as ReadWrite's "Media Relations 101" seems not to recognize.

Small businesses need a strong presence online, and PR professionals may be the only people available to help them establish one. 

Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net





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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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