What, exactly, is a PR agency?
|May 7, 2013||Posted by Anharris under Communications|
I recently responded to an article in Venture Beat in which a former-journalist-turned-PR guy-turned- entrepreneur proclaimed that startups should not hire PR agencies. The author held that agencies are too expensive, give poor service, can’t write, don’t understand the media and, basically, “don’t get it.” To me, that seemed a vast over-generalization. Perhaps the article was geared at promoting freelancers or sole practitioners…or the author’s new startup, which is fine, I suppose. True, I’m asking myself why I’m linking to his piece…but thought you might like read that I wrote, in my own bit of shameless self-promotion:
What, exactly, is a PR agency? I work collaboratively with a group of high-level professionals (former University Communications VP’s, PRSA Silver-Anvil winners, etc). We have low overhead, the flexibility to work on project or retainer basis, bring in other experts as we need them and work directly with clients. We don’t consider ourselves freelancers–because we prefer to build long-term relationships with clients. To toot my own horn a bit (more) I’m a former national journalist with hundreds of personal editorial connections. I agree that $12K is too much for a start-up to pay…but, as long as we’re over-generalizing, most start-ups don’t have enough news to warrant a full-time PR person. A marketing expert with PR/media relations/social media skills is different story. But the need also depends on the start-up, its stage, its industry, whom it needs to reach, how often, and for what purposes.
Rather than pour it on too heavily, there, I did not mention that our senior level practitioners bring a range of skills–but, heck, this is my own blog. We’re great at crisis communications, media , social media and clinical relations; writing, editing, digital marketing, and event management—in health care, life sciences, education technology. We bring in others with expertise in design, investor relations, web development, investor relations, as needed.
So–are we an agency? Freelancers? Consultants? A collaborative? Perhaps the label doesn’t matter: it’s our skills and versatility that count. And our ability to get the job done.
–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the founding director of the Harris Communications Group–a public relations and digital marketing agency based in Cambridge, MA.