|Industrial PR and marketing people. |
In a house. Do you see what I did there?
(For the record by the way, I still think industry in the UK is thriving, and these figures on the Works Management Web site seem to support that theory. But it is changing.)
Here’s my top five reason in-house PR and marketing people hire a PR agency:
The written word: It’s hard enough trying to keep up with all the reports you need to produce and meetings you need to attend without having to produce regular articles and press releases. Any PR agency worth its salt will provide professional writing support across a range of media from the trade press and trade Web sites to Blogging and content for other marketing material.
Contacts with the media: Providing you choose a specialist engineering PR or technical PR agency you will find that they know your media quite well. (And, if you happen to not be in industry, there are specialist agencies out there covering almost everything.) Most people who have been around industrial marketing for a while will have a few contacts in the press but you have to ask yourself if they are really the right people. Knowing the ad reps isn’t a great way to get press coverage; just a great way to buy advertising effectively!
Objectivity: Is the story you are planning on putting out really newsworthy? Or are you just pleasing the sales team, CEO or board by putting out a puff news piece? A PR agency will offer objective advice to help you decide and you should be prepared for them to occasionally say, ‘this isn’t news’. That’s not to say you can’t write the piece for your Web site or Blog, just that it’s not going to help your reputation amongst journalist.
Creativity: Most marketing people are great at identifying news and case studies within their companies. But not all are as good at choosing the right subject for an evocative opinion piece, a letters campaign or a piece of soft news. PR agencies should offer this level of creativity as a minimum.
Measurement: Public relations firms have to measure to prove our efficacy. But I have often started a campaign with a client only to be told that the previous incumbent or team in-house didn’t measure at all. PR agencies should provide this service as a standard part of the package.
Finally, I know I only said I was going to provide five reasons but PR companies always want to deliver a little bit extra so here’s my sixth; bravery. Its takes bravery to pitch stories to a grumpy journalist*, bravery to tell a client they are making a bad decision and bravery to live in the agency world where everything changes constantly and you have to stay ahead just to keep up. Bravery is quality that isn’t lost on most of us but how often do you look for it in a business partner? It’s worth thinking about when you look for support out of house.
*Although most journalists in our sector are pretty friendly and cheerful.
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