How to Choose Between an Outsourced PR Agency and an In-house PR Specialist?

If you believe that your company is ready for the benefits of public relations, then you have a choice: either you hire a full-time PR manager, or you find a PR agency. 

This question has become more pressing throughout the pandemic.  Many companies are suffering from the economic recession and want to optimize business processes, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. Choosing between in-house and outsourced PR is complicated, especially as founders are often not familiar with PR and have no idea how to invest their budget accordingly. 

Don’t worry. We are ready to explain all the pros and cons of both choices.

What Can An Outsourced PR Agency Give Your Company?

There are a lot of advantages of working with outsourcing PR agencies. Let’s look at all of them.

1. Usually, the agency's team consists of at least 5-10 people with different backgrounds who can evaluate the company from different angles and develop the best PR to accentuate each story. For instance, the team may include a person from marketing or a copywriter, a former journalist or editor, a PR manager at Google, or a small construction company. Their strength lies precisely in the unique expertise that they can offer as a team through such diverse experiences.

Besides, due to their experience and sizable client list, the agency usually has extensive contacts in entirely different areas necessary for broad media coverage.

2. If you have little idea about public relations, it’s just easier to сooperate with a competent agency. First, finding a good PR-manager is a pretty challenging task. You should pay attention to whether a person is responsible enough to work without external observation, whether they have experience in your field, what links with journalists they have, etc. Second, even if you have found the right person, they need to be guided — you’ll have set tasks for them and evaluate the results. 

The majority of PR agencies provide you with a cooperation strategy: how many publications will be made, for what period, and in what media. The agency will also explain why this is the best approach. You can then sit back and focus on your business without the need for constant participation — you will only have to be involved when you receive invitations to interviews, articles to approve, or reviewing articles published about your company.

3. You should also hire an agency when a project is experiencing a period of constant announcements, new product launches, or when you’re raising funds. When there is a busy PR period, you’ll need to maintain several employees if you do this in-house, which means that when the constant news ends and a period of calm begins, you'll have to fire them. 

Good agencies understand that when their watch has ended, there is no need to continue working with your startup. At that time, any PR manager can deal with routine requests. Some agencies can help you find the right person to manage all your daily PR activities, bring them up to speed, and build processes so that everyone is comfortable. The next time the company ramps up its need for coverage, the agency will be there to help, support, and organize the best campaigns.

Are there any merits for hired PR specialists?

Of course, many aspects contribute to an interest in hiring an in-house PR specialist.

1. If the PR specialist is part of the team, they will know the product "from top to bottom." They will understand precisely who the customer is and where to focus their PR efforts. Also, they are trusted by the company's employees, and that helps to facilitate brainstorming sessions to discuss strategy and tactics in a calm atmosphere. They’ll know how to use the company’s data, what research the company needs to conduct, and what promotions to offer. This allows the startup to create exciting content that will attract the target audience’s attention to the company and build a platform as experts in the topic. It is more difficult for external experts to develop close relationships with workers; they may not understand all the details, group dynamics, and ultimately, miss important information.

2. If you are a startup, you might not be able to afford an outstanding PR agency. Having an in-house PR specialist is often less expensive. However, outsourced agency costs are temporary. While sometimes a more considerable investment in the short-term, an in-house PR specialist’s salary, benefits, and expenses can add up to much more over time. Testimonials from your friends and colleagues are the best way to find a small, cozy, and inexpensive external agency.

What’s The Conclusion?

For every stage of a company's development, the best solutions are different. Both small startups and large businesses need to recruit PR agencies at times. They can provide unique expertise using specialists from various fields to help you take a fresh look at your business and see non-standard solutions. At the same time, when your business thrives and flourishes and doesn’t have much in the way of news, announcements, or events, it’s much easier to hire a PR specialist who will maintain the current level of media activity.

If you are afraid to rush into cooperation with an agency immediately but want to try how it can work, contact the company you like for a one-time service (PR audit, small event, press kit, media training, etc.). Thus, you can realize if you want to cooperate with the particular agency or seek another one.