Public relations

Should I hire a PR professional or can I do my own public relations?

- October 12, 2022 4 MIN READ
Young female executive in office

Can you do your PR yourself? The short answer: Yes, you can. The long answer: Yes, but do you have the time and expertise? PR specialist Tahlia Crinis outlines the benefits to hiring a public relations professional to help get your business on the map.

Let’s face it, PR is not rocket science – you can do it yourself. However, it’s important to know that there is an art to it and in the long run it can be a god-damned hustle (a.k.a. it can be a LOT of WORK).

While the fundamentals of public relations are fairly simple, it’s takes a lot more than a carefully-crafted press release (and if you ask me, press releases are outdated and aren’t always the right approach).

So, what else do you need to factor in when it comes to considering your PR options?

Time

Ask any brand founder or entrepreneur about their time management and they’ll likely tell you there are just not enough hours in the day. Agreed.

While it’s true that we all have the same hours in the day as Beyoncé, let’s be realistic. Most of us don’t have a private chef, live-in nanny and a bazillion dollars to fork out to hire that extra help.

Do we have time to spend on marketing efforts? Well, in this day and age you sort of don’t have a choice. Yet, do you have the kind of time to build out a creative PR strategy that factors in timelines, deadlines, storylines and that never-ending PR hustle? Probably not.

Public relations diagram explainer

Besides PR requiring serious devotion, it’s also a long game. Did you know that monthly magazine titles like Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue all work to a three to four-month lead time? That means if you contact a journalist about a story now and they’re interested in featuring your brand, you’re not going to see it in the mag until three or four months’ time. And, that’s only if they agree to feature you (which is easier said than done).

Then you need to factor in timelines with your ‘pitching’. For example if you’re a beach towel brand that is contacting a long lead (monthly magazine) journalist about your brand in December, it might be a missed opportunity. By then, they’ve already sorted their beach accessories pages/shoots and Christmas gift guide pages. You might get lucky to fit some of their other features like travel pages throughout the year, but ultimately, you’ll want to capitalise on ALL the upcoming opportunities.

If you didn’t know about this, don’t worry, because that’s what a PR professional is for.

Also ask yourself: Is this the best way I should be spending my time? Chances are, you have an expertise in a particular field and if it’s not PR, maybe your time is better spent doing what you know best?

Creativity

Whether you’re left-brained or right-brained, PR requires a hell of a lot of creativity. The truth is, sometimes PR pros really do have to polish a turd. Not all brands are sexy and thus require a bit of creativity to make a journalist want to write about it.

In my time, I’ve represented anything from hair removal brands through to tax agents. Sure, I’ve represented some really fun clients, but hair removal brands aren’t always a beauty journalist’s go-to when they’re formulating a new beauty page. That’s where creativity can come into play.

Whether it’s formulating a clever PR campaign or leveraging social media, PR professionals know how to get creative, no matter the brand.

Cartoon with loudspeaker amplifying media message

Sales

PR professionals are not typically considered to be sales professionals, but if you think about it, we are. While our approach is a lot more nuanced and creative, when you get down to it, we are ultimately selling your story/brand to the media.

Ask yourself if your expertise lies in sales, and if the answer is no, consider whether your time is best spent doing that. PR professionals know exactly how to sell to the media, with a tailored approach. Not every journalist wants to be ‘sold’ to in the same way and if you don’t know, you don’t know. But as a PR professional, it is our job to know how to sell to the media, and in what way.

Contacts

Yes, in our digital age it’s very easy to find an email address. I’m sure if you did some digging online, you can find the email address for any journalist that ever existed. But that doesn’t mean that if you send them an email, they will actually open your email, or take it seriously.

Sending a pitch email to a journalist can sometimes feel like cold-calling, and not everyone is keen to do that. You can also imagine that sometimes the journalist isn’t that keen to receive your cold-call either. Especially if it’s not formatted in a way that makes their job easy.

That’s where a PR professional can come in – we know exactly what a journalist needs and wants, and we do everything in our power to ensure it is delivered in the correct way. Sometimes, the correct way isn’t even an email at all. In most cases, we know these journalists and have liaised with them constantly over the years and (if we’re doing our jobs correctly) those journalists get excited to open our emails, or better still, to meet with us face to face.

So, if that email you’re about to push send on feels like it might not be that well-received, consider leaving the right approach up to the experts.


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