An in-house PR team is often a great way to get started on the PR journey. When you are small and finding your feet employing someone who can turn their hand to marketing and PR is a boon. However, as the business grows, so the demands on that skill increase and it can put performance under pressure, inhibiting the company's overall ability to scale.
That's why many companies turn to an agency. It can seem daunting to get people who aren't on the payroll involved but there are plenty of reasons why it's a good idea to employ one.
A is for Advice
There comes a time when everyone needs advice. It's especially true in PR when the board looks to you to get coverage that will blow the competition out of the water, or have an expectation you will get national coverage for a story you think will sink. It can feel quite a lonely place.
It is. We've been there. And that's the beauty of an agency - the team has been in your shoes and helped lots of others in the same situation, so can advise you on the best plan to achieve results.
They are also there to help when you're going into uncharted water. We all know that one false step with a tricky journalist could very quickly cause a crisis. PR agency teams know their craft and draw upon years of experience to ensure you never get into that spot.
G is for Generate ideas
Good PR people are ideas people. They know what journalists are looking for and they know what stories will work and which ones won't.
But that said, they won't write off a bad story. In fact a good team will find a way to make it work and use original thinking to create an angle that will work for the press.
Better still if you have no news at all, great PR people will find ways to get your message out there with opinion and commentary.
It all comes from working with a mix of clients and having a wide exposure to the press agenda. It stimulates ideas all the time and helps agency teams assess a story's potential quickly and find ways to maximise the coverage it will get.
E is for Energy
Small companies often do marketing or PR in house out of necessity, usually to save money in the early days of set up and growth. However, when you want to grow and scale you realise you can't continue as you are because there is just too much to do, or you don't know how to do it anymore. Suddenly you are faced with a situation where you can't get results no matter which way you turn.
That's where an agency can help. They have the energy and focus to cut through, get results and lighten the load. They are up to date on the latest trends, technology and techniques and can quickly turn this knowledge into results. And a good agency will help you navigate your options, make the right decisions and ultimately deliver a plan that will meet your strategic goals. Bottom line they will help you do your job better.
N is for Network
As PR agencies are working on building the profile for a diverse mix of clients, and are selling in a wide range of stories they have a great network of press to call upon. While every company has a core set of press it should always be courting, there are times when a story calls for some diversification and it can be hard to get coverage with a standing start. An agency will help you overcome that and approach the press with success.
C is for cost
PR agencies offer the best value you can get. A well structured high performing team will have a mix of skills you can call upon at any time. We're talking strategic thinkers and problem solvers, great writers and people who can pitch stories brilliantly, as well as creative brains - people who can turn 1000 words into a picture and vice versa.
A full time employee may well have those skills but in our experience isn't always in a position to make full use of them when working in house, simply because other things that come from running a business get in the way. They can also be expensive to employ before you think about pension, NI and benefits on top.
It's worth remembering that agencies also invest in technology saving you considerable overhead. Media databases, coverage collation, measurement tools are all taken care of.
Y is for You're still in control
We would always recommend that the relationship you forge with an agency is like a partnership. They should be an extension of your team, able to get on with the job, without getting sucked into the daily politics of your business. They can work on getting results when you're in the meetings to agree the next phase of the strategy.
You should also be reassured that this doesn't mean they have carte blanche to run wild. They are still very much under your direction working to deliver your objectives. And if your objectives change so will theirs. You have control of the priorities.
That's also what makes agencies great partners. They get that things change and they react and get on with it. There's no shake down or grumbling. They want results as much as you and will switch tactics to make sure they get them.
So there you have it, six reasons why you should employ an A.G.E.N.C.Y to complement your in house team.