When considering PR services, companies are often faced with a decision of whether to bring an in-house specialist onboard or work with an agency. Beyond Fifteen has served a variety of companies who have faced this question in the past and our team has learned a lot from listening to their feedback regarding what works and what doesn’t. From their input, the agency model emerges victorious time and again, for a variety of the same key reasons. Beyond Fifteen has compiled this feedback into the following Four C’s for Selecting the PR Agency Model.
- First, there are cost benefits to working with an agency vs. an in-house PR pro.
When an organization hires a full-time employee, additional costs on top of salary are incurred – including payroll taxes, benefits, paid time off, etc. Agencies usually have a flat retainer fee that can be negotiated on a per contract basis. PR needs may change depending on overall marketing plans, product lifecycles, and seasonal profit fluctuations among many other factors. An agency team can provide support on every level–easily scalable to scope of work changes–which means companies won’t have to endure the costs of training and unemployment benefits that may arise from fluctuating demand.
- Second, there are creative benefits. It has been said “two heads are better than one” and this is definitely the case when it comes to engaging in a creative brainstorm under a time crunch. PR agencies have teams of creative professionals collaborating to bring fresh ideas to the table. This means an organization is getting more “bang for its buck” than it would paying the same for just one person’s mindshare.
- Third, there are consistency benefits. Although most PR agencies assign an account executive to each account, they typically have an account manager bringing high level insight into the account as well as several account coordinators who work closely with the account executive on day-to-day execution. Access to multiple PR team members who are familiar with the account and available to quickly jump in, offer ideas, and support last minute requests, provides a great deal of consistency for any brand. Whereas with a single in-house PR pro – if Joe Smith is out sick, in a meeting, vacationing in Maui or otherwise indisposed—and a need arises, your company is typically left up a proverbial creek without a paddle.
- Last, but not least, there are contact benefits. Building relationships with journalists, reporters, and other editorial staff is not as easy as it may seem. The media gets pitched to daily, and many emails go unread. Even if an in-house PR hire comes in with connections, an organization runs the risk of losing these connections if the employee severs connections with the company. With an agency, on the other hand, relationships are built by the agency as a whole rather than by one person, and more and more relationships are being built every day with specialization across categories versus just in one niche. This means if an agency experiences turnover, it still retains its relationships. The numerous relationships an organization gets as a result of the one it has with a PR agency are invaluable.
Beyond Fifteen Communications not only provides all Four C’s, but is continually looking at how we can provide additional benefits to those we serve. Beyond Fifteen—beyond just a few brand benefits.