PR is a powerful tool. With the right kind of management, businesses can proactively improve the perception customers have of their brand. And with improved coverage comes greater brand awareness, consumer recognition and, ultimately, sales.
But what are the challenges of using your in-house marketing team to do your PR? And what are the benefits of collaborating with a dedicated PR agency?
First things first, PR professionals need to be all-rounders with hard-wired expertise in everything from research and writing to creativity and communications.
While there are a lot of overlaps between marketing and PR, remember that an in-house marketer only has so many hours in a day.
Managing media relations and crafting engaging communications takes time and dedication. PR shouldn’t be seen as a quick bolt-on to your marketing team’s to-do list.
Depending on your target publication, industry sector, business goals – and much more – the process can be incredibly nuanced. Make no mistake, this requires a different outlook to marketing and advertising.
With a team dedicated to PR, agencies allow multiple perspectives on how to improve clients’ relationship with the public.
Ultimately, working with an established agency should be a seamless experience. Collaborating with your business to act as another member of the team, while also tapping into a team of experts behind the scenes.
One of the most challenging aspects of managing PR in-house (especially for traditional marketers) is switching off bias.
Journalists receive a plethora of calls and press releases every day and must quickly filter through the noise. One of the fastest ways to get your news story scrapped is to overly sell a product or service.
Despite the time and effort that goes into PR, it’s important to remember that reporters and editors have the ultimate say on whether or not a story is published.
After all, this isn’t advertising. With the wrong mindset, your team could waste precious time and effort on a story that lands flat on its face.
So why choose an agency?
Agencies with an objective perspective, dealing with a number of diverse clients, will know instinctively whether a story has legs to stand on.
At Purpose Media, our PR team has over 20 years’ experience in journalism. The objectivity that comes with this is essential in choosing which client stories should be released and which should go back to the drawing board.
Relevant, timely and consistent PR has helped us build a reputation with our media contacts. Contacts that will actively reach out for comment and insight when the time is right.
Fundamentally, this comes down to understanding that a story that feels crucial to your business might not be right for your target audience and publication.
A successful PR agency is built on its media contacts.
With access to influential members of the media, this can take your reputation to a new level and shape how your audience perceives your brand. But how does this differ from an in-house member of your team?
Over time, agencies establish the best routes into various industries and publications; across local, national and trade press. After all, a variety of client brings a variety of contacts. This means more area for expansion as your business grows.
An in-house PR professional is more likely to have a close-knit selection of contacts that deliver consistent, but limited, coverage. Even if a team member seeks out the right contacts, this will be the start of a brand new working relationship. At the end of the day, journalists depend on trustworthy sources, and this relationship will need establishing from scratch.
By receiving consistent quality, reporters recognise agencies as a reliable source of news. Often getting in touch when relevant press opportunities become available; knowing that one story could be relevant to multiple clients, and therefore save time in the long-run.
When we use the term ‘contacts’, there is a clear distinction between agencies and in-house.
Contacts doesn’t mean a database or list. Any PR pro can purchase a list. Working with an agency means developing and nurturing media relations over time – years even – to give businesses the most effective reach possible.
PR agencies will look at your business in a different way than an in-house marketer would. Whether your team has a background in PR or not, having the right agency on your side will bring consistency to your media coverage and help deliver a long-term PR strategy.
If you’re thinking about investing in PR, always look for a combination of expertise, objectivity and well-established contacts.
Interested in seeing what PR has to offer? Talk to us about growing your reputation with an experienced press team which has a proven track record of achieving results.