When is it time to outsource your PR?

By Kathleen Aoki

As a small-business owner, you want to make most of your marketing dollars. For this reason, many businesses opt to keep their marketing and PR functions in-house. But will your bottom line - not to mention your sanity - really be better off?

Here we look at some reasons why it might be time to outsource your PR.

It's not your core competency

Some experts believe that all business functions that are not within your core competency should be outsourced. The argument here is that you can find more effective and often less expensive sources of labour to perform these functions for you - freeing you up to focus on the things you're good at.

Your writing skills need polishing

A poorly written press release will more than likely end up in your recipient's trash folder. To increase your chances of being noticed, consider enlisting the help of an experienced publicity writer who can put an exciting and newsworthy spin on your story.

You are not experienced in publicity

Publicists who have been in the field for a while know the "tricks of the trade" and have a wide variety of important media contacts. In publicity, who you know is just as important as what you know in order to get the word out.

You need a little creative input

The saying "two minds is better than one" applies here. If you find yourself low on creative juice, why not enlist the help of an experienced publicist who probably has some cool ideas you haven't even thought of?

It would be cheaper to outsource

This one is easy. If you find yourself spending too much time doing publicity - time that would be better spent doing other tasks - it's probably time to outsource. A simple cost/benefit analysis should be all it takes to convince you.

Options for outsourcing

There are many options for outsourcing your PR these days. If your business is geographically based, it's probably best to stick to PR consultants in your area, as they will know the local market.

If you're national and beyond, you might want to consider hiring someone outside of your area who:

  1. might be cheaper due to lower overheads, and

  2. can bring your message to a wider audience.

You can even check out online freelancer sites such as Freelancer.com.au or Elance.

Whoever you choose, it pays to shop around and find the best person or team to work for you based on your budget and needs. Find someone you work well with and be sure to see samples of their work. What were their results? Were previous clients happy? Don't be afraid to ask for references.

Base your final decision on factors of creativity and ingenuity, not necessarily cost. On the other hand, don't pay exorbitant fees to a PR agent if you can find someone who can do the same job for less. And last but not least, be sure to set expectations and agreements in writing and to measure your results afterwards.


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