How To Evaluate And Hire A PR Agency

Prev1 of 2NextUse your ← → (arrow) keys to browse Last Update: April 28, 2015 Entrepreneurs and small business owners have unique needs when it comes to managing PR...

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Last Update: April 28, 2015

Entrepreneurs and small business owners have unique needs when it comes to managing PR efforts. If you are considering outsourcing your public relations activities, you have more options than you probably think.

In-house, freelancer, boutique agencies, firms … but which type of PR team is the best for your business?  The type of PR support you select is highly dependent on your brand’s specific needs.  So, here’s a brief guide to help weigh the pros and cons of each.  Keep in mind these are generalities and there are always exceptions to every rule.


In-House PR

  • Pro: With an in-house person or team you have exclusivity and full attention devoted to your brand only, offering increased productivity in contrast to an agency or firm juggling multiple clients.
  • Con: In-house PR is generally a more costly option as you will be responsible for employee expenses including salary & benefits.
  • Good for: Large companies with consistent revenue streams and full-time demands for an in-house person or team.


Freelance Publicist

  • Pro: Hiring an independent freelancer is likely the least costly option. Generally, a consultant is preferable given you’re not covering overhead such as office expenses & staff.  Many freelancers venture out on their own after gaining experience at agencies and firms, so you oftentimes get agency experience at an affordable cost.  Also, working with a one-man shop means you know exactly who you’re working with; your account isn’t passed down the ranks to an entry-level publicist you’ve never met.
  • Con: Lack of resources and potential productivity a boutique agency or firm can offer.
  • Good for: Startups or younger brands on a budget.


Boutique PR Agency

  • Pro: A smaller agency typically equals less fish in the pond, meaning more attention given to each client.  By nature of being smaller, boutique agencies can also offer a more personalized, focused approach. Clients will typically interact directly with the agency owner rather than an account executive.
  • Con: Not as many resources as a large firm; some agencies can pile on too many clients and stretch themselves thin.
  • Good for: Startup’s and younger brands with a consistent budget and established brands seeking a more personalized and cost-effective approach.


PR Firm

  • Pro: Larger PR agencies can dedicate multiple individuals to your account. Access to additional resources yeilds the flexibility to handle increased demands. There is also potential for increased productivity.
  • Con: PR firms are not cheap. Your monthly retainer will cover overhead expenses in addition to staffing.  Your account could get lost in the shuffle or filtered down to inexperienced publicists.
  • Good for: Large companies with high demands and the need for multiple hands on deck. Most importantly a company must have the revenue to fund expansive PR efforts.


Additional PR Considerations

Regardless of your decision, there are additional nuances to remember before you take the plunge. Here’s a look at four areas to review before you hire a PR agency.

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