When a brand considers including PR in its marketing strategy, they have the choice of hiring a PR agency, a PR consultant or appointing an in-house PR professional. It is however often times difficult to identify which of these options would be the best, especially if the brand is new to PR and not sure which direction the PR strategy should go.
In this blog post, I will explain the pros and cons of each option and hopefully you will be able to identify which would be the best fit for your brand.
PR agencies could either specialise in a certain field or they have a variety of professionals on staff that each have their own field. It would thus be easier for the agency to find an account manager suitable to the needs of a specific brand. At the same time, some large PR agencies have multiple people working on an account with one person being responsible for the strategy and the other for the execution. This sometimes leads to unhappiness with clients when they expect the same expertise from all of the people working on the account.
PR agencies typically work on a retainer basis and create work monthly, making it an expensive option. At the same time, though, a quality PR agency often is the best choice due to the amount of expertise, media contacts, proven track record and host of skilled people they can bring to the table. A PR Agency can also work on a project basis, with an outcomes based focus on a short to medium term campaign.
At CF Communications the Account Manager wears both hats and can advise, implement and manage strategy. Our expertise lies in professional bodies, membership organisations and industry associations. Our strongest experience is within finance, HR, energy and aviation.
PR Consultants typically step in when a brand requires professional assistance with a short term project or to handle a communication crises which could tarnish the image of the brand. They charge by the hour and can easily handle a variety of different clients.
Because they work alone, they typically would not take on too many clients and manage their time the best. At the same time, a PR Consultant would not be the best option to sign a retainer with – work would be done only when required thus saving the brand money.
In-house PR professional
A brand can find it beneficial to have a permanent PR professional in their employ. This person would typically also be responsible for marketing, events and in-house communication. Having a dedicated person on board that only focuses on the objectives of the brand allows for a greater knowledge of content and better use of resources.
The negatives would however be the cost of having someone employed full time, especially if it is a small business. There is also the risk that the person can get stuck in a rut while using the same techniques and contacts instead of continuously researching and networking for better results.
So which is the best for your business? Take into consideration the size of your brand, the budget available, the industry you operate in and the reason you want to include PR in your marketing strategy – and you should be able to come the correct decision.
Which ever you decide, ensure the person / agency has demonstratable success and knowledge of the industry you are in or the type of project you require.
If you need some advice, let’s do coffee. I will be happy to advise and point you in the right direction.