I have crossed paths with quite a few companies lately that have taken the DIY approach when it comes to PR. Although they had no real team, no real expertise, and the people specifically hired to handle such tasks had nothing to do with the job at hand, they felt they could do it on their own. Later on, they decided hiring an agency was better suited for them. They of course could have saved a lot of time, effort and ultimately money by hiring the experts to begin with.
Why did they choose not to at first? It’s simple, when companies calculate costs, they usually don’t pay attention to details. They believe that if an employee has some spare time, that time can be used in any way. Effectiveness, ability to learn, natural talent, they are all disregarded, as of course we are all good at promoting ourselves. Much like the physicists in The Big Bang Theory who were supposedly marketing geniuses as well…
A company has three choices when they take the in house approach: use existing personnel, hire someone new with little to no experience and have them trained, or hiring a PR expert.
Wasting the time and expertise of existing employees?
If you hired someone on a certain position, you did it because they were good when performing the tasks the position implied. If now they have some spare time, using it to make them learn something completely new is a waste. Why?
- it would take far more time to learn something new than perfect their existing skills
- if they are interested in a field, making them take an interest in PR might cause them to lose motivation and interest
Inexperienced wannabes to cover your public relations needs?
As I mentioned, they lack experience, they lack the required skill set, they might turn out not to be really good at it. Especially if their past experience is on a completely different career path. Your costs include, among others:
- paying salary for someone who needs months of training
- paying for training – no one in your company can do it, you have no PR department
- even after a few months of training, they will still go through a long period of trial and error, and you will pay for both their time and their errors
Hiring an in house PR specialist is by far the best option of the three. On the other hand, PRs who are really good at what they do are not that easy to come by and they are not that cheap to have either. Other than paying for their salary, you’ll still need to give them time to adjust to your field and learn a few tricks. On the other hand, you will need someone with PR expertise to help you hire them in the first place, and such services don’t come for free.
Why is a PR agency cheaper?
If you’re looking for a long term relationship with a PR agency or an experienced consultant, you can negotiate an advantageous monthly flat fee. For that fee, you will get specific services from your agency of choice. While their fee includes time for research and getting acquainted with your field, it will always be cheaper than formal training. And often times, the monthly flat fee is lower than what an internal PR department would entail. Let’s not forget, salaries are not the only costs, you still have to think of benefits, providing employees with an office, a computer, a phone, etc.
The most important aspect is that you don’t waste time, you start promoting your company’s products and services right from the start. And if you’re considering PR, you know how important starting early and getting it right really is.