When to Spend Money on a PR Firm and When to Do it Yourself (or not at all)
Public relations, which focuses on earned third-party exposure, is an appealing service desired by many large, small, and independent businesses. In the same breath, the fees associated with hiring a well-established firm or bringing in an in-house team can see business owners running in the opposite direction.
Before we answer the initial question of when to spend money on PR vs. DIY, it’s important to understand what public relations is.
Put simply, public relations involves building and maintaining a positive relationship between an organization and the public. Typically, this is done by creating a communications strategy that is seamlessly executed to create a positive brand image and reputation, as well as build trusting relationships with the target audience.
Elements of a comprehensive public relations campaign may include pop-up events, editorial placements in print, broadcast, radio, or online media, press releases, influencer partnerships, issues management, event sponsorships and more. Sounds like a lot of work, right? That’s because it is!
Those who choose to invest in public relations know that the advantages of hiring a professional agency can be well worth the cost. Those who opt to DIY often become overwhelmed or face backfire due to inexperience, costing them more time, money, and resources than initially planned.
Save yourself the trouble, time, and money, and do not DIY. Instead, take some time to assess the company’s needs, objectives, and budget. From there, research agencies who specialize in your sector and offer all the services you need under one roof. The right agency will be responsive and will set up an introductory call or meeting within days of you reaching out.
Companies who do not have the means to hire an agency, for example, due to budgetary restrictions, should consider hiring an in-house specialist or freelance specialist on a hourly basis.
There’s a laundry list of reasons why we recommend hiring a professional instead of attempting DIY, but for now, we’ll focus on the most crucial benefits:
Successful PR is not executed without the creation of a well-thought-out and well-positioned communications strategy. It sets up the foundation for success, allows for administrative onboarding and the establishment of communication channels, as well as ensures structure and organization.
A strategy is tailored to each client, and is developed in a way that provides the highest ROI. Tactics used can include influencer partnerships, media relations, press releases, among many others.
When hiring a professional, specifically a PR firm, businesses receive the benefits of multiple perspectives, levels of experience, and specialties. In some cases, a business can have up to 3-5 professionals actively representing the company, allowing for strategic alignment at all stages of the business.
Fresh Pair of Eyes
An agency offers an unbiased assessment and recommendation of the company, campaign, or project. Bringing with them a fresh pair of eyes, an agency can provide new perspectives, while generating new ideas or revisiting those that were overlooked or disregarded in the past.
This fresh outlook can be instrumental to many areas of the business, including design, issues management, partnerships, or overall direction.
Measurement and ROI
Professional agencies can bring sophisticated software to the table allowing for an accurate measure of a company's investment and ROI.
Strong agencies will have measurement in place, understanding the importance of software tools and are trained to operate programs such as Cision, Meltwater, Sprout Social, Google My Business, Google Analytics.
Access to Media Relationships
Navigating the 24/7 news cycle can be intimidating, but PR professionals spend years learning the ins and outs and building relationships with writers across the country.
One of the many benefits of hiring an agency includes the deep relationships PR professionals hold with the media. We’re talking about years of cultivating and maintaining relationships with journalists to learn their beats and what makes them tick, having the potential to dictate the success of the story and whether or not it lands. Any agency worth its reputation will have a rolodex of media who will fit your story.
When hiring a full-service agency, a company is not committed to using all of the services offered, but it’s important that they’re there to be leveraged when needed.
An agency’s services, including public relations, design, branding, content creation, issues management, digital marketing, can be a la carte or paired together, depending on the needs, objectives, and budget of the client. In some cases, dependent on the overarching goal, an agency might recommend bundling a few services which would work in conjunction to produce an even greater ROI.
Another important point to keep in mind is that having one agency assist with all facets of the company can certainly help with developing and maintaining a clear brand identity and presence.
Are you interested in experiencing the benefits of hiring a professional agency, but don’t know where to start? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1 855-854-5594 and our team would be happy to set up an introductory call or meeting and see if PR is the right fit for you.
About the Author:
As a Senior Public Relations Coordinator, Anneliese focuses predominantly on media relations, while also managing day-to-day client communication, influencer campaigns, partnership opportunities, strategy development, and event coordination and support.