This is a fairly common question many companies ask.
What are the pros and cons?
What are the costs and risks of hiring vs. not hiring a PR Agency?
What skills and knowledge do Public Relations Agencies bring to the table that business owners or entrepreneurs might not have in-house?
These are valid questions for a business or entrepreneur to consider once they are sure that they have all their business fundamentals in place and is ready to engage in Public Relations.
Forbes lists 7 things a company should do before hiring a PR Agency, some of these are:
Providing a different perspective, Gini Dietrich lists six things to consider before you engage in PR.
Assuming you have all your business ducks in a row and you have determined that your company needs to and is ready to engage in PR, then there are some clear advantages to hiring a PR Agency:
When you hire a top PR Agency, you are hiring talented and experienced professionals who have spent years honing their skills and knowledge. It is not realistic to suggest that an individual who already has a plate full of responsibilities trying to run a company can possibly be as effective as a Public Relations Professional that not only has an education in the field but has spent years working in the business.
A top Public Relations Agency has the skills and relationships in place to help an organization to establish, build or protect their reputation through various channels, both online and offline.
In addition, PR professionals are storytellers. A good PR Agency can analyze your business and help identify the positive messages and then translate those into positive media stories.
Building a brand is not a sprint, its marathon; that means you should start the race as soon as possible and be consistent in your public relations efforts. The effects of media visibility do not grow overnight, it needs time, patience, and consistent effort. The results grow exponentially, the more visible you become the easier it becomes to gain more visibility.
For some companies such as a beauty brand, online cookie company or fashion apparel the return on investment may be straight up sales. But sales are not the only measurement of Return on Investment (ROI). Today, PR Metrics includes driving traffic to your website and increased engagement on social media. A good PR professional is skilled in using various online tools to monitor and measure the impact of campaigns, to assess if a particular article or event had the desired effect. Having this knowledge helps to make informed decisions about future PR efforts. A good PR Agency is well positioned to help an organization to tap into and manage all these sources that ultimately impact the bottom line.
Unless your business is in a super niche market it is likely that you are trying to compete in crowded, established and large markets. A PR Agency can assist you to develop a strategy that focuses on your company’s USPs, differentiators, and strengths that help to make your organization stand out from the masses. Having the right PR partner can help to establish you as a thought-leader in your industry.
Our modern world is called a “Global Village” for a reason. There has never been a more consumer driven economy than we are in right now. Now various websites, social media and many digital outlets are available to write reviews and comment about your company, both positive and negative. Your competitors are out there too. If you see them more visible on social media and mentioned more often than you are, that is for a reason; they are better at public relations than you.
Successfully launching a new service or product is crucial to the success of any business. You need a partner who can build excitement and anticipation for the launch, both online and offline, manage media relations, maximize social media engagements, create events and perform other PR related activities that help you realize a product launch that succeeds in achieving its goals.
A good PR agency will be able to help you to collect important data about your market and your competitors. They can also help you to assess focus groups, customer surveys and other projects to measure the public view of your company. They are able to implement monitoring tools to track the success of your PR efforts in real time.
Having an independent, unbiased, outside PR Agency will bring new ideas and a fresh approach and suggestions. A PR Agency will be able to weigh in on ideas and offer insights on what will and what will not work in reaching the target audience.
A PR agency can help you to discover new ideas, practices and approaches to help identify the best strategic opportunities to leverage. A PR agency can pool the resources of a whole team in a brain-storming session which often generates creative ideas and different story angles, well beyond the scope of what 1 person alone can achieve.
It takes time and effort to build great media relations. A top PR agency will have well-established and extensive connections with the press, bloggers, and influencers. This means the PR Agency will be able to take and advocate your story, message, and brand to the most suitable outlet have the right connections that will get your message and your brand noticed by your target audience.
Once your PR Partner understands your business and your goals, they know when to pitch, how to pitch, and who to pitch your story to.
When a crisis occurs, a PR Agency has the experience and resources in place in order to guide you on how to respond appropriately. Having a team in place that already knows your brand and the key stakeholders makes it a lot easier to know how to respond in times of crisis. The PR Agency is familiar with dealing with the issues that arise during a crisis and can provide guidance on how best to respond to a crisis situation. They already have tools and processes in place to monitor a crisis and to follow online sentiment of how various audiences are reacting to the crisis.
A good PR Partner becomes an extension of your team, working in conjunction with the rest of your company and pulls together the inputs of several stakeholders to create a unified PR plan that takes into account traditional and digital media relations, social media, influencers, events, etc. Most importantly, a good PR partner can assist the organization to meet its business goals and objectives.
It clearly makes sense to hire professionals to manage your PR efforts. Just as you would leave surgery to a doctor and taxes to an accountant, if you are going to engage in Public Relations you should seriously consider investing in a top PR Agency to be your communications partner. Your reputation depends on it.
Please share your thoughts on whether or not to hire a PR Agency.