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Should You Hire A PR Agency Or Learn To DIY PR? Lexie Smith - THEPRBAR

Should You Hire a PR Agency or Learn to DIY PR?

Both options have PROs and CONs– let’s discuss!

If I were to guess, I would probably say at least 8 out of every 10 entrepreneurs that I speak to find the word “PR” either intimidating, a luxury they don’t deserve or can’t afford, or on their “some-day” list. Whether it be due to a limiting belief, a lack of full understanding of the subject, or an opinion formed from a previous bad PR experience, I have made it one of my largest career-missions to help flip this script.

PR can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. 

PR can be a wasted investment, but if you’re prepared, and execute correctly, it can the best investment one can make. 

PR can remain on your some-day list… OR you can get educated on the subject and your options for execution, and go for it, now!

In this article, I dive more into what really is PR and if your business really needs it. Feel free to catch up to speed if you’re wanting an overview. 

For the purpose of this piece, however, I’m going to talk you through the two main options for executing a PR strategy – outsourcing to an agency and taking it on in-house, or in other words, learning to DIY PR.

Should You Hire a PR Agency or Learn to DIY PR? Lexie Smith - THEPRBAR

First up, let’s talk PR firms. Should you hire a PR agency? Here are some pros and cons. 

PROs of hiring an agency are…

  • It saves you physical execution time (because they are literally doing the work for you.)
  • It fast-tracks relationships (aka a good firm or publicist should already have established media relationships.)
  • You have access to a team of PR experts to help you navigate difficult situations.

CONs of hiring an agency are…

  • It costs a lot of money! Typically, PR firms lock you into minimum retainers starting at 3 months, on average 6-months to a year, at rates into the mid-5 figures, at least. On average a well-known boutique agency will charge anywhere from 5-10k+ a month depending on scope of work.
  • If or when you stop working with that agency, their media contacts go with them, and you’re back to square one.
  • Agencies have other clients, so you are not the only company getting their attention. Depending on the firm, this may cause campaigns to move more slowly or you may not receive as much overall attention when compared to their higher ticket clients.

My two cents: PR firms can be absolutely fantastic. My best piece of advice for founders is to wait to hire a firm until (baseline) they’re ready to commit long-term to PR and have a solid understanding of the process and all that’s involved.

Before we talk about what it would look like to instead do it yourself, let me give you an idea of how you can “DIY PR”.

  1. You can do your own research and teach yourself – the Internet is a wealth of knowledge. So, if you’re someone who feels confident knowing how to maneuver through the clutter, then digest, and finally implement – Google away! ​
  2. Get a PR degree – perhaps not needed… but who am I to talk, I personally have my BA in Public Relations and Journalism.
  3. Work with a coach or enroll in an online program. (P.S. this is the option where you work with someone like me.)

Should You Hire a PR Agency or Learn to DIY PR? Lexie Smith - THEPRBAR

Now let’s review some of the pros and cons of choosing to DIY PR. 

PROs of learning to DIY PR are….

  • It’s more affordable (if you go completely DIY with Google, it can be free.)
  • YOU are creating key media relations and partnerships, so everything becomes an owned personal and company asset.
  • You have greater control over your overall narrative, and when you do one day want to outsource, will be far more prepped to make an informed decision/investment.

CONs of learning to DIY PR are….

  • It takes more time to execute since you’re doing it yourself.
  • It can take longer to build authentic relationships with the media.
  • You don’t have immediate access to a team of PR experts (unless you onboard with a coach.)

So, should you hire a PR agency or learn to DIY PR?

It’s up to you (sorry, it really is!)

However, this is what I typically say is the most ideal situation. When you are a new business owner or in early growth mode, you start by doing your own PR. Then, when you have a bit more capital and understand the proccess, you hire someone to take over for you in-house – this could be a PR Manager or PR Director, for example. The best-case scenario would be to one day have an in-house team member who manages an outsourced PR firm for extra support, both of which are led by a highly “PR-educated” CEO.

So to wrap things up, I’m going to be a bit redundant by asking you to remember the following.

PR can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. 

PR can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. 

PR can remain on your some-day list, or you can get educated on the subject (like you’ve already started doing by reading this article) and go for it, now!

Want to learn more about what’s involved in enrolling in a DWY (Done-with-you) PR program? Learn about THEPRBAR inc. offerings here.

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