It’s time to answer the age-old question: should a company conduct its own PR or hire an external PR agency? If you’re confused by the two: in-house PR is when organisations manage their own PR through an internal department. Whereas, external PR agencies are independent units that manage PR for multiple businesses.
It’s important for a company to understand the ‘ins and outs’ of internal and external PR before making an investment decision to ensure effective PR is the only outcome. The pros and cons list for each could go on forever, but basically, you can boil down the decision into five essential criteria – the 5 C’s.
Of course, the team conducting PR must be capable of managing your company’s communication and building good relationships with the press. Experience is essential; whether it’s someone on your team with a strong track record in the PR industry or a PR agency with proven results. PR should be a worthwhile investment, so find a worthwhile partner.
In-house PR can be easier to monitor. You can be reassured that the PR team are working full time on your company. Many PR agencies, on the other hand, charge you for a set number of hours and there can be no way of knowing if they fulfil that number of hours. But good news… there is another way! With some exceptional PR agencies (Wentworth PR… ahem), there’s no such thing as the clock. The agency will work for you until the job is done, and you’re 100% happy with the results.
Close proximity to company information and decision-makers means in-house PR can allow for better communication and collaboration. This is important when a crisis strikes as the PR team can receive news unfiltered and in real time, providing timely responses. That doesn’t mean communication with PR agencies is inadequate; your PR agency is just a phone call away. Some agencies even encourage staff to spend a few days a week working at the clients’ offices to gain a better understanding.
We really mean knowledge… but ‘4 C’s and 1 K’ doesn’t work as well as the ‘5 C’s’, you know? Whoever is responsible for a company’s PR must have extensive knowledge of the industry in which the company operates. Ask yourself; do they know enough about industry trends and your products/services? And not only knowledge is important. Ask yourself; do they have the right media connections? The right connections will land your company in all the right places. PR agencies usually have the upper hand on connections and contact with the media.
For smaller businesses with smaller marketing budgets, cost is everything. The cost of hiring a PR agency varies greatly depending on the agency itself, its experience, and the level of service required. However, a great PR agency should be able to get you value for money. On the other hand, developing an in-house PR agency can be expensive – there are salaries and pensions to consider, and don’t forget about providing access to the correct resources, including media monitoring services and databases.
All in all, the answer to the question “PR in-house or agency?” is… it depends. There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on what you want to achieve and what ‘C’ is more important to you and your company. What we do know for certain is that you should speak to a PR professional first to obtain free advice on PR for your company. Why not give us a call? 0161 973 6763.