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New Media Eliminates PR for Small Businesses?

September 25, 2006

The Wall Street Journal had a good article this morning that highlights how powerful new media such as blogging, podcasting, and other word of mouth marketing techniques may allow scrappy small businesses to make their mark without the traditional (expensive) resources of PR firms. (Article is called How to Get Attention in a New-Media World by Gwendolyn Bounds.)

As a guy with the curse of “ideation*” — a strength (?) of mine that causes me to constantly be thinking of new company ideas, niches in which to provide new products, or wild ideas for changing the world – I like what the article is saying – mostly because it confirms what I’ve been thinking.

Combining a number of inexpensive online techniques can turn the most simple of small businesses into players.

One example is a taxi company in Minneapolis. By a simple online presence and some AdWords from Google, they owner went from Welfare to a booming business.

Another small fashion designer used her blog to create buzz and increase sales dramatically (read the article to find out how dramatically).

What’s the Catch?
You’ve got to do it well – and take your time to actually build community in a patient, methodical manner. The article makes some excellent points on blogging and how NOT to do it. How to begin by simply listening to the community you want to enter, then slowly add comments and eventually contact other bloggers directly. You cannot simply start dropping your product/service name in comments out of the blue and expect the world to start paying attention to you. Take some time, participate in the discussion, and build your reputation.

I posted the other day about the differences between my blog and Charlotte’s Web – one of the big differences is that Charlotte has taken the time to read others’ blogs, comment thoughtfully on others’ blogs, and link to them. My blog here has NOT done that. I haven’t participated. I’ve taken a “half-baked” approach to this.

So, do as I say, not as I do. In this case, it will help you!

PS on Word of Mouth Marketing
The article also presented some extremely interesting research on word of mouth marketing – claiming that something like 90% happens OFFLINE. Whoa. Now what do you do with that piece of information? Chew on it. (don’t ask me the details of the research, context, etc.)

* Ideation is one of about 34 general strengths that Marcus Buckingham outlines in his book Now Discover Your Strengths. I highly recommend you read this book, take the online test, etc. to learn more about what makes you tick and where you might better place your energy. I call it a curse above because I birth tons of ideas but then get distracted with new ideas before I can implement the first ideas. I love the way Nova continually exemplifies this problem as it relates to her fiction writing at distraction no. 99.

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2 comments

  1. Thank you 🙂 And a problem it is!


  2. You hit the nail right on the head!



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