How to Make a Splash for Your Small Business

Q&A with Kevin McLaughlin of Resound Marketing.

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You have to be very proactive—those agendas go out six to 12 months before an event. If you pinpoint the events you'd like to be involved with, you can reach out to a conference organizer in advance. Send a pitch or abstract out about what you can speak on about a topic. The strong events are regular and in your community. If you look at last year's calendars, then you can know which events will be happening again. If you monitor your key event organizers like your chamber of commerce, then you will get an early notification.

How have changes in the Internet—more of a focus on blogs and social networking—changed PR and marketing for small companies?

I think it's intimidating because there is so much out there. If you start small and then think to grow it, then you can do it. It's hard to go to the New York Times when you're a small-business owner. But with blogs, what they've done for small companies is that they've given them better access. There are more niche-oriented blogs so you can find a blog in your niche that attracts a high-quality audience. The same goes with social media. It gives you more touch points with your customers. We have customers who have created a strong following of fans, whether through MySpace or Facebook. By interacting online, you can use your customers as ambassadors.

So where do you begin in the massive world of blogs?

Start with a more refined list. If you look at, say, all the blogs that cover consumer electronics, it's going to be monumental. But if you looked at them and said, "I want to reach the top five in online music," you can whittle down the list.

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