It takes time and effort to create an effective public relations blueprint. There are plenty of factors to consider: finding industry journalists, cultivate a social media following, create your own advertising.
In a nutshell, it helps to understand the value of public relations:
- Credibility – Getting coverage in the news is more influential than any advertising.
- Better visibility – For the exact same reason as above, being on the news beats any ad.
- Pays for itself – A good PR campaign leads to consumer goodwill, which leads to greater business. It is one of the best investments you can make.
But should you endeavor to run a ‘Do It Yourself Public Relations’ campaign? The market rate for a bare-bones PR investment is $3,000/month and can climb to $10,000 or more for a national campaign. It does not seem too complicated to for a DIY Public Relations run, and the temptation to do so is understandable.
Before you attempt DIY PR, ask yourself:
- Do you have the time to identify media contacts in your industry – editors, journalists, bloggers, commentators, reporters – that could potentially cover your story?
- Do you have the resources to obtain the contact information of these people?
- Can you recognize newsworthy parts of your company’s business and create an eye-catching pitch and/or write a press release?
- Do you know how to get the press release to the contacts that have the greatest chance of reaching your target customers?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions, it is time to consider hiring your own communications and marketing team. This can be as few as one person, and hiring an expert at PR who focuses exclusively on you.
Is it truly cheaper though?
Remember that you will have to recruit, hire, and possibly train new staff. While the current hiring economy is an ‘employers’ market, and salaries are lower as a result, the Department of Labor places the median salary of PR specialists at $57,000. On top of salary are benefits, Social Security, and Medicare taxes at around 7 percent of the base salary. Benefits will likely include health insurance, sick/personal leave, and holidays. The Department of labor states that benefits can bring up the cost of an employee’s actual cost is about 2.7 times the states salary.
Then the employee(s) will need resources of their own. Office space, printers, computers, supplies, phones (personal smart phone and office phone). They will also require specialized software, databases – which sometimes require monthly subscription fees – that contain lists of journalists and other influencers and their contact information. They will need expense accounts to buy lunches, attend conferences and other meetings.
A more extensive PR team will end up being even more expensive. Think about that…
It adds up real quick. If you run a small to medium-sized company, $3,000/month no longer sounds so bad, does it?
Hire the Pros
Dedicated Public Relations firms work full-time to generate earned media coverage for their clients. They know the public relations best practices. They can craft a proper campaign for you that bring the best results.
Good PR firms are up-to-date on SEO optimization, social media management, corporate responsibility, creating polished press releases. They know the best ways of completing media follow-ups, and would know how to pitch your company in a way that is more likely to get media coverage.
There is no rule saying you cannot do your own DIY PR campaign, but it is more likely you will make better use of your time doing what you were hired to do for your company.