Deciding what kind of PR support will work best for your business can be a challenge for start-ups and SMEs. Should you go for a full-service PR agency who can offer a team and crisis communications (even if you’ve never needed crisis comms support) or maybe a marketing consultant who also happens to do a little bit of PR? Do you even need to outsource PR or could one of the team “pick it up” internally?
Then there’s the freelancer or boutique agency option. What’s the deal here? Are these guys lone-wolves or are they experts who are passionate about their craft and believe that strong, agile strategies and authentic communications will help your business grow faster?
Just in case you’re thinking along these lines, here’s why a freelance or small PR consultancy might not be right for your business.
- You’re relaxed about your PR ROI
PR remains a relationships-based discipline. Yes, our industry continues to transform and evolve. But engaging storytelling and relationships prevail. A freelancer doesn’t have the overheads of the London postcode, or the bean bags and ping-pong table. You’re buying their time – focused, transparent and flexible. And more time equals better results for your business.
- You’re ok with pitch + ditch
The one where the agency sends the senior team in to court you throughout the pitch process then allocates the junior bods before the ink is dry. That one. I’ve worked with agencies that 100% rejected this practice and then I’ve worked with others that said they didn’t do it. But would put me on say, 12 client accounts alongside a remit for new business and HR. You can probably figure out how much senior consultancy and hands-on time my clients received.
Running your own freelance business, you deliver 100% of the work, so clients benefit from more experience, more expertise. There’s nowhere to hide either so we’re wholly accountable for results.
- You have tons of spare time
Working with ambitious growth businesses, I’m all too aware of the currency of time. Experienced freelancers will prioritise reducing the impact that successful PR has on your time. They’ll run a lean, focused campaign. What’s more – and my colleagues may challenge me on this – we come with an always-on mentality meaning you get responses and updates in real-time quickly. As business owners ourselves, we tend to be entrepreneurial, with a results-driven mind-set. We simply get things done.
- You prefer suppliers to partners
Your PR team should work with you to lead your PR strategy and co-create your content. It’s a collaborative and creative process. If you’re going to outsource something as vital as PR, you need to trust that partner, rather than treat them as a supplier. The best freelancers will work as an integrated, extension of your team.
- You don’t need a specialist
Great freelancers will carve out a niche for themselves and mine that landscape for their clients, from an issues and content perspective, through to media relationships. What’s more, specialists will have a genuine passion for your industry, know how to get under the skin of your business and bring your story to life, powerfully, compellingly.
As a freelancer, there are only so many clients I can take on. This affords me the luxury of being completely immersed in by clients’ worlds – and their customers’ worlds in turn. I can get as close to their product and service as they are. Which puts me in a good place when it comes to telling their story.
Still not sure if a freelance partner is right for you? If you’d like to talk about your next steps in PR, please get in touch.