When you should and should NOT hire a public relations agency.
As a public relations agency with more than 20 years of experience, most people would assume we tend to say, “Hire a public relations agency, you need one.” But that’s not always the case.
PR firms can provide great value to an external organization, as well as a brand, if there is a balance between the services being offered and the requirements of the client. Expectations need to be set at the beginning of engagement to create fitting goals for the communications strategy to be implemented.
There is also determining the organizational objectives and how public relations can support them. It is unlikely that you will be able to convince executives at a large corporation or non-profit that public relations is a good use of its time, money, and personnel, if PR does not contribute to the greater benefit of their endeavor.
We like to think however, that in most cases PR can be a major benefit since the practice encompasses a wide variety of tactics to better align an organization with its target audience. These range from media relations, social media management, crisis communications, digital media, speech writing, to anything related to internal communications – to name a few.
So if you’re wondering “do I need a public relations agency?” your answer is yes if:
1) You need additional arms and legs to support your PR effort.
2) You need specialized PR expertise for a specific project, event or during a crisis.
Below are some examples of what this could look like:
- You have encountered a crisis that affects employees, investors, suppliers, customers, the law, or the general public.
- An executive or spokesperson at your organization needs to make a speech.
- Representatives at your organization have never been trained on speaking with media.
- Staff at your organization is unfamiliar with common social media norms and procedures.
- A big change is occurring internally at your organization – this could include a merger or acquisition, going public, large layoffs of employees, or the appointment of a new CEO.
- Your organization requires a new website or social media content collateral to be created.
- Your communications team needs support with public relations tactics, such as creating a press release, a media list, or a pitch email.
- Your organization needs help building relationships with key media contacts.
- Your organization is trying to change the public perception of your product or services.
- You are trying to increase awareness of your product or services.
- Your organization is creating a crisis preparedness plan and wants to have a public relations firm on retainer in the event a crisis occurs.
- You want to learn more about your stakeholders so you can serve them better – this can include but is not limited to suppliers, lawmakers, industry regulators, customers, and employees.
PR can be used as a resource in so many ways to protect, enhance or build reputations through the media, social media, or self-produced communications. Plus, it’s typically less expensive than advertising, can provide third-party validation through the media, and engages with key publics where they are already active.
If you would like to find out more about if hiring a public relations agency is the right call, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202)-289-4001.