Investing in public relations (PR) can help companies reach new audiences, improve their reputation and generate more business. When it comes to finding and hiring the right person or team of people to develop and implement a company’s PR strategy, there is good news: you have options.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each model of PR, but the fact is they all can work well. The question is which model works best to fit a company’s goals, preferences and budget.
Internal Public Relations
For companies with significant PR needs, it may make sense to hire someone to manage all aspects of PR – from campaign planning to implementation – to work in-house. Depending on the specific needs a company has, a PR team may be required, rather than just one individual. If your company regularly produces press releases, bylined thought leadership articles, award submissions and news stories that result from media outreach efforts, there may be a large enough need to warrant hiring someone full-time.
By employing someone internally, you ensure marketing and PR efforts are synced up and fully intertwined. An in-house PR professional has easy access to existing materials – like case studies, e-books and white papers – and can find ways to generate new PR content, like thought leadership articles and media interviews, from them.
If hiring just one person, it will be imperative the candidate has enough PR management experience to truly own PR within the organization. This role would likely not be a fit for someone just starting out in PR unless it was being managed by someone who is proficient enough in PR to fill in any experience gaps.
Agency Public Relations
Many large and medium-sized companies lean on PR agencies to strategize and lead their PR efforts. World-renowned agencies that represent the nation’s biggest brands are likely not a fit for most companies. But there are countless niche agencies that focus on promoting companies within certain industries and smaller agencies that may be more affordable and impactful.
Agencies come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their costs. Some firms charge a couple thousand dollars a month, while others charge tens of thousands. While agency PR often requires a contractual commitment and retainers can be expensive, there are some major benefits. Typically, agency clients are working with a team of PR professionals. That means strategists are working together to put as many ideas onto the table as possible; it’s a powerful thing. Naturally, this can lead to more media coverage. For marketing leaders who want to leave no PR opportunities uncovered, an agency is a good fit. Agencies can also work well for companies needing substantial support not just for media relations, but also social media, influencer marketing, award nominations and more.
Freelance Public Relations
Many marketing leaders already tap into the gig economy for tasks like writing, design and web development, but freelance PR is a little less common, especially in Indianapolis. But, just like hiring freelance writing support, there are substantial benefits to freelance PR support. Freelancers are nimble and often able to take on projects that aren’t a fit for agencies.
For example, some companies may have just two or three announcements they want to focus on in a given year. A freelance PR pro can be hired to plan for the announcements and manage media relations surrounding them. This temporary support – perhaps as little as five to ten hours’ worth of work – can help companies restricted by budget make a splash in their target markets without spending an arm and a leg. Many freelance PR professionals are also able to take on ongoing PR support needs, too.
When seeking freelance PR support, find someone who has experience not just doing PR work, but strategizing, too. Outside aid is more effective if the person hired understands how PR works as a cog within the marketing machine to achieve specific goals.
So, What Should You Do?
If you’re still unsure which model of PR would work best for your business, do a little digging. Reach out to professionals working in each model and ask about services and rates, and if it makes sense, request a proposal.
No matter which model of PR is preferable for a particular company, it’s important to remember that despite a drastically changing media landscape, PR remains as relevant as ever. Take advantage of the resources that make the most sense for you, and tap into the benefits of a results-driven PR plan that helps achieve your goals.
Nikki Trojanowski offers freelance public relations, marketing and writing services to companies of all sizes in Indianapolis and beyond. Learn more by clicking here.