Should I hire a PR agency or do it myself?
There are a number of advantages to hiring a PR agency:
Relationships – A good PR agency should have relevant and meaningful relationships with journalists. This is a large part of what you are paying for when you hire a PR agency. They may well give you access to journalists that you couldn’t achieve on your own. The agency may have worked with the journalists for many years and built up a level of trust and understanding that your brand can in turn benefit from.
Knowledge of the media – similarly your agency will know how your media works and what kind of stories they like or don’t like.
Presentation – a PR agency will know how to present your message to your media in the best way possible to give you the best chance of getting a result. This isn’t spin, it is just about understanding how the media works and how it likes to receives information.
Resource – PR agencies can provide additional resource and may mean that you don’t need to employ specialist skills in-house and spend the time finding or recruiting the right staff. A good agency will be able to get through the work quickly and efficiently as they deal with journalists and write press releases every day, while your in-house team may not be so experienced.
There are also a number of things to be aware of:
Sector knowledge – most sectors require a degree of technical knowledge if you are to be able to communicate effectively. In addition, there is often a wider context that comes from working within a particular industry and knowing its history. You should look for a PR agency that can demonstrate a real knowledge of your industry and show how they have helped similar businesses communicate with the press. Without this context, a PR agency will struggle to add value for you.
Internal knowledge – often organisations underestimate the degree to which working with a PR agency is a partnership. Appointing a PR agency is usually the start of a significant commitment on the part of the organisation and few PR agencies can thrive without support from within to help dig out stories, brief them, introductions to key members of the team and to manage the sign off of press materials.