The question of hiring an in-house PR professional or outsourcing to an agency is trickier now than ever before. As the media has dramatically evolved, so has the public relations industry. It’s no longer as simple as writing a traditional press release and distributing it to the media.
In order to stay relevant and competitive, your PR team must continue to evolve and keep abreast of trends and changes in the industry. In the past decade, the internet has vastly changed the media landscape. With the advent of social media and blogging, opportunities for citizen journalism have grown. Search engine optimization is now more important than ever for public relations professionals.
Penny wise and pound foolish (short term) thinking can outweigh reason for many business owners. Often, they miss the big picture when making the decision of hiring in-house versus searching for a great agency.
Internal employees may know your product or service well, and they may even be able to write a very good press release. But is it getting picked up and producing results? If not, you should really evaluate the reasons why.
As someone who has managed internal corporate public relations and worked for an agency, I recognize the perceived value of hiring an internal communications professional and managing it all in-house. However, here are seven benefits of hiring a public relations agency that you may not have considered:
- You will receive a team of experienced and strategic professionals who regularly brainstorm and collaborate about the best ways to tell your company’s unique story.
- Your company will receive third party objectivity. Sometimes it’s necessary for someone to take a step back, truly assess the situation and offer fresh ideas and perspectives.
- An agency has experience tailoring creative media pitches that will break through the clutter and noise.
- Established credibility with journalists. While an internal employee may have more passion about your company than an external firm, the “news” may appear biased, non-credible and even annoying to journalists.
- Professional spokesperson media training. An experienced agency will work with the spokesperson and teach techniques for answering tough media questions, as well as how to stick to key messages and the art of speaking in sound bites.
- Experience handling difficult crisis situations. An experienced agency has helped its clients handle numerous crises over the years and will help your company manage everything from monitoring situations to full-blown crisis management. (A PR agency should also help you identify potential crises or issues before they occur.)
- Agencies often invest in premium PR management software, media database and SEO tools that may be cost-prohibitive for a business to purchase.
While there are many benefits to hiring a public relations agency to help you tell your story to potential customers and investors, we also recommend having an internal employee to help manage the agency. It helps to have a point person in house who understands the importance of reporters’ deadlines and can help coordinate interviews. Regular meetings are also a must. We always ask new clients if we can regularly sit in on employee meetings and sales team conference calls.
Just as you wouldn’t buy cheap tires for your brand new Mercedes, you should not cut corners when it comes to your business or brand. Do a little research and hire the right PR agency that will help you meet the needs you currently have. You'll get a partner who can help you maximize your public relations efforts, events, awards and other activities to give you a leg up on your competition.
If you are interested in learning more and finding out how we can help your company, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FletcherPR is a national communications firm that specializes in reaching women through the power of media. Headquartered in Knoxville, TN with staff in Nashville & Los Angeles, we are a full-service agency providing strategic public relations, social media and marketing communications services to our clients throughout the U.S.