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So you’ve decided your business needs PR, but where do you start? For many it can seem like a huge and expensive undertaking and so it’s all too often put on hold time and time again. Other companies may give PR a go themselves, perhaps drafting press releases and pushing out company news on Twitter. This activity could well lead to coverage in relevant publications, but is this DIY approach truly giving you the results you desire? If it is, then congratulations on a job well done. On the other hand, if you’re finding that your DIY PR efforts are ad hoc and generating underwhelming results, perhaps it’s time to hire the services of a PR specialist.

A PR expert needn’t be expensive. Yes, some PR agencies may ask exorbitant fees but smaller agencies and sole practitioners often deliver the expertise you need at a reasonable price.

So what are you actually paying for when hiring a PR specialist? You’re leaning on their knowledge of your market, journalists and influencers to identify newsworthy stories. They’ll then be able to pitch these stories in an appealing way to the right journalists, providing them with what they want, in the way they want it and at the right time.

The PR specialist will be an expert copywriter, helping to draft punchy and ‘on message’ press releases, articles and comment that stand out and appear in the media that matter. The PR person will ultimately become an extension of your company, capable of acting on your behalf so that you become known as an industry expert with interesting and relevant insights, rather than another ‘me too’ company that simply pushes out beige company announcements.

And so yes, you can do PR yourself, but it’s important to consider:

  • Do you have the right in-house expertise for PR?
  • Do you trust your PR person to effectively manage your company’s reputation?
  • Will you be able to give PR sufficient time and attention? It can’t simply be a ‘tick box’ exercise in which you throw out a press release each month; and
  • Do you fully understand your PR goals and how to achieve them?

If these questions have made you rethink your DIY approach to PR, perhaps it’s time to hire a PR expert. After all, you should never gamble with your company’s reputation!