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There's a popular saying that there's no such thing as bad PR. That's probably true ... for movie stars. For your business, bad PR is, in fact, a bad thing.
PR, or public relations, is how your business interacts with the public, frequently via media outlets. Large companies often make PR a subset of their larger marketing efforts, but for a small business, PR can be especially important because it may be the only marketing available.
A common misconception is to confuse PR with advertising. They are not the same thing. Generating a buzz about your business can begin with a positive mention of your services by a local newspaper columnist, a review of your product in a trade publication read by your customers, or a popular radio station DJ talking about your store during the morning-drive show.
What's the best way to start a PR campaign? One method is to hire a professional PR firm, which can put an array of resources to work for you -- but that's often expensive. Another option is to hire an independent PR consultant to promote your business on a tighter budget. A third idea is to handle PR on your own, and there are resources on the Web and in the business section of most libraries and bookstores to help you learn the PR basics.
However you decide to handle it, giving thought to your company's PR is important, whether you're looking to garner specific media coverage or generate a general buzz. And leave the bad PR to the movie stars.
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