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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Joining the Lists Parade: 5 Reasons Why A Company Should Hire a PR Agency

"4 Reasons Why PR Agencies are Failing in Social Media"

..and last but not least...

By now, I hope you get the point that the average information junkie -- if there is such a creature -- is fascinated and perhaps addicted to lists.  We see such lists on nearly all social media sites, on sites dedicated to communications and media professionals, and especially on Twitter as links to blogs promoting the "Top 5 Things..."

David Letterman has been doing his "TOP 10" bit since 1985 and every night it's what his audience eagerly waits for.

It's probably because I'm a communications professional and an information junkie (in therapy), and by definition like many of you, I live on line, that I'm seeing a spike lately in the number of posts of the "lists genre" about public relations agencies.

Why a company needs one. ... Or doesn't need one. ... Why a  PR agency should handle a company's social media or should it be done in-house. ... Why you need a social media agency and a PR agency and why they should never meet. ...

I'm sure you have seen many of the same headlines.

The good news for the public relations industry is that it's at the center of these debates.  PR is prominently featured on list after list because PR (or PR 2.0) firms are winning their share of business vs. social media specialists agencies and advertising agencies who may also have a PR practice.  

The public relations industry is racing fast to stay ahead of the changes, brought on largely due to the development and broad acceptance of social media channels, that have transformed the profession.  As such, the PR industry earns its stripes and relevance everyday by putting enormous pressure on other types of agencies -- and subsequently, finds its way to the top of these lists.

So if you can't fight them, you might as well join them.  Thus, here's my contribution to the list mania that is sweeping across the communications world:

5 Reasons Why A Company Needs a  PR Agency

  1. PR agency people who work on communications and social media programs are deeply passionate and knowledgeable about these environments. Because they typically work on multiple accounts, they are exposed to a broad range of campaigns and have greater knowledge about the field which they will deploy on a client's behalf.
  2. When a company hires an agency, it's hiring a team -- not an individual.  This means the client enjoys the benefit of the vast network of influencer relationships that the account team, vs. what an individual, can bring to the client table.  Agency professionals build relationships with journalists and bloggers with two key purposes in mind: to assist the influencer in doing their job and to leverage these relationships on behalf of their clients.
  3. A good agency doesn't let its staffers drink the client's Kool-Aid.  We will tell you if your stories are stale and will uncover new ones in your organization.  We will tell you if your new product is an also-ran and will help find ways to position it in a positive light without overstating the benefits.  A good agency staffer will tell a client when they're wrong, and how to make it right.  
  4. Good agencies become true extensions of a company's internal team.  Once the agency team establishes strong, trusting relationship with the client, products and audiences -- aka, the brand -- they will deliver the same levels of authenticity and passion as do in-house team members and will do so without the distraction of in-house corporate politics.
  5. A good PR agency person is a content creator at heart.  Agency people create client stories like it was their own to tell, and messages that cut through the B.S.  Also, agency staffers create blogs, podcasts, videos, photos, presentations and eBooks and last but not least, news releases.
So there you have my five reasons why a company needs a PR agency.  Please share your own reasons here on Beyond the Arc.  I know you're itching to make a contribution.

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