As part of a national PR agency that focuses on B2B technology, I could write a book on the benefits of working with an agency. However, choosing whether or not to work with an outside vendor — be it a PR agency or any other kind of agency — can feel like an overwhelming decision. And what you choose to do varies based on a host of factors, including overall business goals and objectives, the current stage of your business, company culture and, of course, the resources you have to dedicate.
If you’re working to uncover the best option for your business, consider learning from those who have gone before you. From a 2017 report by the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations (CPR), which surveyed over 875 agency and in-house PR professionals worldwide, these are some of the top benefits to working with public relations agencies according to in-house marketing professionals.
Creative thinking and strategic insights - When it comes to top reasons to employ an agency, creative thinking and strategic insights topped the list. When you find the right fit, adding an agency adds experience and expertise — but rather than hiring one new team member with one set of experiences, you get a whole team working on your behalf and the benefit of that combined experience. That team can offer new, creative ideas that might be hard to develop with only one or two team members in-house. They also can offer personal industry insight, as well as feedback from journalists, analysts and other industry influencers.
Specialized practice areas - At BLASTmedia we specialize in media relations for B2B tech companies — which means building and maintaining relationships with journalists, reporters, editors and freelancers is a daily activity. We know the influencers in each vertical industry, following their career moves, monitoring what they’ve written about recently and engaging with them about upcoming topics and trends. It’s a full time job and that’s just one piece of the PR puzzle. Hiring an agency that specializes in a specific practice area frees up your team to focus on their core competencies, which can lead to increased productivity and higher worker satisfaction.
Objective, independent perspective - One more reason that’s particularly applicable to entrepreneurs and those leading scale-ups? Agencies bring an objective, independent perspective, and over half of those surveyed cited this as a reason to go outside of your company for public relations. When it comes to starting a business, you have to be a little crazy — after all, many would consider the safe and rational thing to do is to avoid the risk. That kind of investment shapes your view in a way that an outsider often can’t understand; you may have heard it referred to as “drinking the kool aid.” As your agency, it’s not that we don’t love that kool aid — but we aren’t drinking as much of it and are able to challenge your thinking. We not only can present you with an objective, independent perspective, but also bridge any messaging gaps between your business and outside parties, like media and analysts.
When considering an outside agency, look for one that constantly asks questions about your business and challenges you from the beginning. You need a firm that is invested in you and the overall success of your company, willing to offer perspective, new ideas and strategic industry insights both now and in the future. Whether you keep PR in house or use an agency, make sure you have a clear understanding of how you fit into the market and what problem you solve for customers — the messaging pillars of any solid communication plan.
About the Author
Anna Julow Roolf is the director of strategic initiatives at BLASTmedia, a national B2B technology PR agency specializing in media relations, content creation and thought leadership.
These articles have been curated by our friends at BLASTmedia, a national PR agency focusing on media relations for B2B technology companies.