Should Your Small Business Hire a PR Professional or DIY?
Positive high-profile press coverage can help your small business take off! You might be tempted to handle it yourself but do you know the ins and outs of the media? If “writing press releases and pitching reporters” isn’t on your resume, you might want to hand PR strategy over to a professional. On the other hand, you might be perfectly suited to handle it yourself depending on your industry and target audience.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to pay for a publicist or DIY, here are a few things to consider.
What is PR?
As explained by Entrepreneur.com, Public Relations is using the news or business press to carry positive stories about your company or your products; cultivating a good relationship with local press representatives. PR is the opposite of advertising. In advertising, you pay to have your message placed in a newspaper, TV or radio spot. In public relations, the article that features your company is not paid for.
Write down what you hope to achieve by putting a publicity plan in place. Goals might include:
- Raising your company’s profile
- Creating a positive image of your small business
- Introducing new products or services
- Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry
- Attracting new customers
- Providing information
- Changing perceptions
Look at the Budget
Have you allocated part of your marketing budget for PR? If not, determine an amount you can afford to spend for publicity without impacting other important marketing initiatives. Generally, publicity firms require a large monthly retainer. PR firms can charge upwards of $20,000 a month. Finding a freelance publicist with experience in your industry could be a better bet. Seasoned publicists can charge $50 or more per hour.
Check Your Personal Bandwidth
Do you have the time (and energy!) to devote to a publicity campaign? PR related tasks can include writing press releases, compiling lists of reporters and publications, sourcing images, making phone calls and mailing out press kits. If this sounds overwhelming, hiring outside help might be the solution. If not, is there a member of your team who could be the publicity point person?
Is your story, product or service newsworthy? Perform your due diligence and review press coverage of others in your industry. Set realistic expectations for coverage – a front page New York Times article might be a long shot. On the other hand, a local news feature or an article in a neighborhood publication can be effective.
If you decide to do it yourself, there are a plethora of articles, tutorials and blog posts about how to get started. Check out this post from Duct Tape Marketing to get started – 5 Steps to Small Business Public Relations Success. If you want to hire a publicist or a PR firm, there are resources so you can find the right fit. Read How to Hire a Publicist for Your Small Business.
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