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Become a Virtual Public Relations Advisor

by Yvonne Buchanan

If you're looking for an in-demand home-based business, consider becoming a virtual public relations advisor. “Virtual” public relations firms are cropping up everywhere. Their members serve clients via e-mail, fax and telephone. You may opt to join an existing virtual PR firm or start one of your own.

Why Public Relations is a Great Business
Public relations services are in high demand. Most small businesses and nonprofit organizations can't afford to pay the fees charged by established public relations firms. Some of these firms charge a minimum retainer of several thousand dollars a month. But even small businesses need public relations services. Services such as:

  1. Strategic promotional planning
  2. Event planning and coordination
  3. Press release writing and mailing
  4. Newsletter writing and design
  5. Media contact management

There's never been a better time to enter the public relations field. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted public relations to be one of the three fastest growing fields through 2008. (The other two are technology and healthcare, two major consumers of PR services.)

If you have a knack for communication and are highly organized, consider training yourself to become a public relations advisor. Virtual public relations advisors charge $50-$150 per hour, depending on experience. Small businesses are happy to pay these fees because they are much lower than those charged by established public relations firms which have significant overhead costs.

Steps to Take
Here are three steps to take to become a virtual public relations advisor:

  1. Train yourself in public relations. If you don't already have experience in public relations, you should educate yourself on public relations services, strategies and tactics. You can do this by interning with a public relations firm or taking a course in public relations. Make certain that the course covers all the bases. Learning how to write a press release isn't enough. You must educate yourself on the strategic aspects as well.
  2. Develop your portfolio. As you create public relations deliverables, add them to your portfolio. Include only those you would be proud to show a potential client.
  3. Specialize. If you're great at event planning, but not so great at writing, partner with a writer, and you've created a virtual PR firm.

You don't have to be virtual. You can go the freelance route, and if your market is strictly local, great. But there are several advantages to going truly virtual. (Just try attending a meeting to a local client in your pajamas.) In short, there's never been a better time to become a virtual public relations advisor. If it's an avenue you'd like to pursue, the time to start is now.

About the Author

Yvonne Buchanan has been a public relations writer, editor and freelancer for more than 20 years. She is an instructor at The PR Academy - http://www.learnpr.com, a professional development institution that provides public relations instruction and career strategies.

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