Online PR – Making A Positive Contribution

December 12th, 2008 by Will Scott

My friend, and a very smart local entrepreneur, Chris Schultz wrote an interesting piece entitled 10 Tips for Launching Your Startup in which he makes a pretty bold statement relative to PR (that’s public relations, not PageRank, for you search geeks).

There are a ton of other great posts on startups and bootstrapping including a recent one from a guy I’ve been reading since he was in print Guy Kawasaki.

So, whether or not a young startup needs a PR firm will no doubt be hotly debated for some time to come but I think there’s an important message in there: make a positive contribution .

This was never more apparent than in a phone call I got last night from the Online Editor at New Orleans City Business, Deon Roberts.

Mr. Roberts calls the office last night looking for one of our writers, Andrew Stratton. Turns out Andrew Stratton is an amalgam. I don’t want to call him fictitious, because he’s based on a young man who used to work with us but he represents the occasional work of 30 or so of our writers.

We use these aggregators, if you will, for expedience and issues of ownership. If we had to set up accounts on multiple content sites in the name of a new writer each time our pool expanded or contracted we’d never get anything done.

Well, needless to say, Mr. Roberts was a little surprised at the news. Turns out he found the position taken in the pieces interesting enough to reach out and it turns out there’s no one but me to whom he can talk.

I’m sure there are other companies like ours who understand that publishing content is a great way to obtain links. We publish a ton of content and Andrew Stratton gets the byline on a lot of it.

But here’s the point, and I think it’s well spoken to by Chris’ statements regarding PR . Ultimately we’re responsible for making a positive contribution to the online dialog and I think this is what Mr. Roberts was responding to. He found the position taken a little inconsistent with his view and the voice authoritative enough to give him pause.

Unmasked or not, Andrew Stratton contributed to the dialog in a positive way. We created content in support of a client which was accepted as authoritative and a valid basis for dialog — Mission accomplished.

Hopefully we can keep the conversation going with Deon and City Business and fulfill Chris’ assertions regarding PR .