Q&A: Should We Hire a Public Relations Firm or Do it Ourselves?

By Barbara Findlay SchenckBusiness on Main

Q: Our business is growing, with new products, staff and changes that we know can help us get better visibility and a stronger reputation. But when it comes to public relations, should we do it ourselves or hire a professional firm?

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A: Whether to hire professional help or do it yourself depends on your target audience, the talent available within your business, the size and scope of the announcement you’re planning and the communication tools you’ll be creating.

You can likely do it yourself if:

- You’re seeking to increase visibility within a small market area that you know well.

- You or someone on your staff is a good communicator and capable of creating the tools you’ll need in your communication effort.

- You have the time and talent to implement a public relations program while also running your business.

But if your market reaches far and wide, you don’t know how to open the doors to those you need to reach, or you aren’t totally capable of creating great communication tools to back your effort, hire help.

Hire help especially if:

- You’re creating a piece with a long life — for example, a logo, media kit, website or important campaign.

- You’re planning for a major opportunity, like a new product announcement.

- You’re investing in a communication piece with a budget of more than $10,000, or a campaign with a budget of more than $50,000.

When you’re ready to invest in professional assistance, hire a firm that specializes in the type of project you’re creating. You’ll get not only the talent you need, but also the benefit of the firm’s collective brain: Their knowledge of your target audience, their contacts with and knowledge of how to approach your media channels, their ability to call upon the best suppliers and resources, and their wealth of experience about what works and what doesn’t, which is the free bonus that comes with the investment you’ll be making.

Best wishes on the growth and success you’re planning for.

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