#MediaMonday – Joe Chitwood
October 24, 2011
A Tip for Tuesday – Cultivate Visibility
October 25, 2011

I am always pleased when I see an article promoting the value of hiring a public relations firm.  But I take issue with much of what was said in this article about the reasons why.  I gave my reasons, what else would you add?

Protection of sales.  Public relations, as a corporate business investment, is a strategy that is designed to establish and maintain the brand’s presence and reputation in the marketplace.  Can public relations efforts generate sales?  Do we monitor the media (both traditional and digital)? Certainly, but the goal of public relations should not just be about sales or generating positive reviews,  there is so much more to developing and implementing a communications strategy than that.

Reduction of salary costs. Yes, engaging in a proactive public relations campaign is an investment for a business.  Both in time and money.  But outside public relations counsel still requires inside support.  You may reduce the salary costs associated with  having a public relations practitioner in-house at your organization, but please do not consider hiring a firm as a cost-saving measure.  Your internal team’s time is valuable, we know it and respect it, and we are going to need access to it.

Speed to market.  Yes, public relations agencies are available to our clients 24/7/365.  We take pride in being available and accessible to our clients, the media and other industry partners necessary in carrying out the communications strategy. But we must respect the internal timelines just as the in-house public relations team must.  We are nimble and can respond quickly, but never without authority and approval from our clients.

 So that said, here are some solid reasons to hire a public relations firm:

Public relations firms are integral and trusted partners, who will provide strategic and objective counsel to your organization.  And in the event of a crisis situation, your public relations firm will be instrumental in developing crisis communications plans that ensure all responsible parties take appropriate and timely action

Public relations firms will create strategies that will allow you to proactively engage with important stakeholders such as media, online influencers, community leaders, shareholders, and public officials.

Public relations firms work across a variety of different disciplines and this expertise and understanding of a variety of businesses will prove extremely valuable for your organization.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

8 Comments

  1. Lots of great reasons to hire a PR firm –don’t think the ones listed were it.

  2. Alison Bailin says:

    Could not agree more. Our job is to become part of a client’s team, not take over for it as a “cost-saving measure.”

  3. Dana Hughens says:

    On the Speed to Market points of the original article… I would say a valuable agency will many times stop a company from rushing into the execution of a preconceived tactic. If you think you need the help of a PR agency, share your business plan and objectives. Let the agency tell you how it can help you get there. Yes, we can act quickly when there’s a reason for it, but I caution companies against the temptation to drop in an agency on a project-basis in attempts to quick-fix something.

  4. Mike Kintner says:

    For me when choosing to hire a PR Firm, it was more about understanding my limitations and the desire to hire experts to do the job. I look at the expense associated with our PR Firm not as a reduction of salary costs but rather as a significant value. I know that the level of work, attention to my business and results I get from my PR Firm is worth much more than I get charged every month and the added value it creates basically pays for itself. Lot’s of people like to think they know and are good at PR, I like to think I knew enough to hire some experts to handle a very important part of my business.

  5. David Landis says:

    I think the most important reason to hire a public relations firm is to further positive brand awareness and engagement with a company’s respective audiences, with an eye towards supporting business growth. If done correctly, that support should include not just sales, but also reputation management, talent recruitment and more. PR is not an expense item; when created and executed properly, it is a revenue generator.

  6. I like the term “monthly investment” vs “monthly fee.” It’s tough to put a price tag on a company’s reputation.

  7. Aaron Blank says:

    As a senior PR agency exec, I say we work very hard to embed ourselves into each of our client’s teams. We are an extension of that team with a full army of PR pros ready to pitch in at any time. We serve as connectors and relationship builders. The value comes from how each client and each agency works together to share and build those relationships to achieve a goal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *