Recently a public relations vendor posted an article on its Facebook page about why outsourcing your PR might not be a clever idea. I’m sure I wasn’t the only PR person out there who was annoyed that a PR vendor was advocating not working with an agency, but it also left me wondering who is in charge of the company’s social media. My guess would be an intern, who probably didn’t know any better….which also just goes to show that you should never leave it to someone inexperienced to handle your social media in the first place. All that said, this article inspired a rebuttal.
Claim #1: You will invest a lot of time getting your PR agency up to speed about your business.
Reality: You will invest time getting any new employee up to speed about your business. Your agency doesn’t have to learn the day-to-day responsibilities of say, someone you’ve hired to handle your accounting on top of understanding your brand, so the learning curve can actually be faster.
Claim #2: Many journalists don’t like working with PR agencies.
Reality: Many journalists do like working with PR agencies because a PR agency can usually get them what they need quickly. Your PR person isn’t juggling media requests with a sales meeting or conference call with a supplier like you are. Fulfilling the writer’s request is their priority.
Claim #3: Anyone with a great idea and a bit of common sense can pitch a story to the media.
Reality: Sure, you can pitch a story to the media yourself. But can you separate yourself enough from it to know if a writer will truly find it newsworthy? And do you know who the right person to pitch it to is? While no PR agency can guarantee coverage, a good one will know what a reporter is most likely to cover – or not cover – and will make sure your news lands in the correct person’s inbox.
Claim #4: If you’re willing to invest just a few hours a week in researching publications you would like to be featured in, you can create your own PR opportunities.
Reality: While you can decide upon a ‘wish list’ of publications to be featured in easily enough, it’s going to take more than ‘just a few hours’ to work toward getting yourself included in one of those news outlets…and that’s assuming your business is the right fit in the first place. Just because YOU think you belong in XYZ magazine doesn’t mean XYZ’s editorial staff agrees. A good PR agency knows how to position your company to increase your chances for editorial exposure. It’s their job to know each publication’s readership – and it took more than ‘just a few hours’ to gain that knowledge. And regardless, with all of your other responsibilities, do even have the time to invest in all of this? Your PR agency is an extension of your marketing team, and part of their job is to make yours easier.
Ask yourself this: if you had no experience renovating houses, would you take a stab at fixing up your home yourself, or would you hire a professional? You could read a book, and painting seems easy enough. You would likely spend all of your free time doing the work and the quality won’t be the same, but hey, it will be cheaper, right?
PR is no different. And just like contractors are available to you at varying price points, so are PR agencies. Some work with mega big-box brands and charge $20,000+ a month, and others – like us – cater to small businesses and have price points that accommodate tighter budgets.
So think wisely.