I have a great deal of respect for Aaron Kremer on a bunch of levels.
As an entrepreneur he took the ultimate risk. He saw a town hungry for a new source of daily business news and went after it. He bootstrapped an online news site, Richmond BizSense, went head-to-head with the Times-Dispatch’s “incredible shrinking business section,” and now claims more than 3,000 daily subscribers with a goal of more than doubling that number.
As a PR guy looking for a place to pitch local business stories, and as someone who cares deeply about the success of the greater Richmond business community, Richmond BizSense’s success is very important to me. And it should be very important to others who share in those aspirations.
It also took some guts when he recently admitted to the hundreds in attendance at the Social Media Club Richmond meeting that he didn’t use Twitter and wasn’t quite sure about its value. Sort of like eating a porterhouse while a the podium of a vegan convention. Not many friends are made.
To his credit, he quickly got a Twitter account @akbizsense (103 followers as of this post), offered up a guest column spot to 93 Octane’s John Lindner on the importance of Twitter, and dispatched reporter David Larter to write a series of articles on social media, one on local marketing firms, and one on folks participating on social networking in Richmond.
While the reporting has been solid, my fear is there is an opportunity being missed. These social media roundups have been done before by other news organizations, most recently by the Times-Dispatch. What is really missing is a story on whether social media really works as an addition to the marketing mix.
Richmond BizSense has a great opportunity to do the quintessential story on social media.
A story about themselves.
Kremer has admitted publicly that they are later than most to the party and they are clearly trying to catch up. Why not dive in full force and chronicle those adventures. Report the good with the bad. Use social media as a reporting tool as others have and also as a business tool to try to grow the subscription base.
And report about it along the way. Tell the story of a small business that is adopting social media and whether it works (or doesn’t).
That is the story I would like to see, and the type of journalism that online outlets like Richmond BizSense can provide that others can’t.
What do you think?