We know how tempting it is. You launch a brand or a new product and you obviously want the press and people talking about. The first option you probably consider is hiring a PR agency or freelancer because they are the experts and will get results quickly… so you think. I am not taking anything away from PR professionals (I am one after all), we work really hard to secure the coverage but it takes time. And time costs money. When a brand says to me “we have done our PR in house and understand what works for us and the process involved” it really is music to my ears.
Agencies can set you back at least £3000 per month which is a large amount for well-established brands, never mind small independents. I know that anyone can do their own PR if they know-how. The money you save on not paying for an agency can be put to better use elsewhere; a new batch of lifestyle photography, a graphic designer, a website upgrade, the list could go on. These are all crucial aspects of your business too, and shouldn’t be overlooked, so where you’re saving money, invest in these.
Hiring an agency isn’t a quick fix, it’s a huge investment, and it takes time to build a strong rapport with press so coverage won’t happen overnight. You will need at least 3 months with an agency in order to give them time to get results. This means you’re tied into paying £3000 for at least 6 months, and some 12-month minimum contract, without knowing what coverage you’ll be gaining.
If you’ve followed PR Dispatch for a while, you’ll know that I started as an intern for an independent brand. You can find more here (https://prdispatch.com/about-us) but I was a firm believer that no one pitch a product to the press better than the brand itself. You know your brand better than anyone else. From conception to creation, no one can tell your brand story quite like you. You know the in’s and out’s, from how it’s grown to where it’s going, the audience, target publications, competitors, potential stockists and everything in between – use this to your benefit. Your knowledge can be used as a massive advantage when selling yourself to the press as it can make you appear more credible and genuine which publications will appreciate
The press love to hear directly from brands and their founders – it’s personal and editors are might be more receptive to you than the hundreds of emails they receive from agencies on a daily basis. It enables you as a brand to build a strong relationship with editors, which increases your chances of them coming back to you time and time again and therefore coverage.
Unlike PR agencies, doing your PR in-house means you get all the attention, all the time – more attention means more coverage. Agencies have other clients that require monthly time, which could be between 10 – 50 other clients. Don’t get me wrong, agencies still give dedicated time to brands, and brands get your money’s worth but the love has to be spread across many clients. Taking your PR in-house PR means you’ll be giving your brand undivided attention and love when it needs it most.
Time is money, as Benjamin Franklin once said, and in terms of PR, he was exactly right. In-house PR means you’re cutting out the middleman and the three-way communication stream that trails between you (the brand), your PR agency and the press. The direct communication not only allows you to build great press relationships, it also allows efficiently and for everything to be completed a lot faster than if there were an email thread that needed connecting.
Call in’s, sample requests, chasing returns, resolving issues and everything else can be completed in little time, as you will be the direct contact. Waiting on email replies is a very consuming task and it often slows the process down, and if the agency hasn’t received a reply or there are multiple tasks being discussed via email, the press opportunity can often be missed due to lack of time and communication problems.
In the in-house case, you only have yourself and/or PR team to rely on, emails can be replied to instantly and any requests or problems are dealt with there and then.
So to conclude, whether you are a team of 1 or 10 I recommend building those relationships in-house and really getting to know what works for your brand before thinking about outsourcing to an agency (and save yourself thousands at the same time).
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Rosie is the founder of PR Dispatch, the first PR member’s platform dedicated to supporting independent brands to pitch their products to print and online publications. Rosie created PR Dispatch wanting to give brands with great products that couldn’t justify thousands with a PR agency a chance to be featured by the press. PR Dispatch gives members press contacts, workshops, a community of like-minded brands and support from PR experts for just £59 p/m.