Your public relations firm is a lot more than just a clip machine. If you think about your PR firm simply as an organization that pitches news and wins coverage, you’re missing a lot of what it has to offer.
Your PR firm works hard to understand your business inside and out so it can be there when you need it most. It’s prepared for the expected and the unexpected. It’s ready to roll in good times and bad. Success and crisis. Addressing positive stories and negative. Training, advising and pitching your business.
There are lots of reasons why you should love your public relations firm. Here are six big ones I’ve come up with.
Why You Should Love Your Public Relations Firm
- They’re people you can trust. In any organization, individuals have agendas. But your public relations firm is an outside entity. Your PR firm’s staff members function as your spokespeople and your strategic advisors. Their only goal is to maximize your exposure and reputation. You can trust them, run ideas by them and ask them about things you might not know. No question is too elementary. No confidence will be broken. They’re people you can turn to in a pinch.
- They’ll tell it to you straight. One of the most important services a PR firm can offer is telling you when you’re got it wrong. Oftentimes, people in your own organization won’t want to point out errors. However, the staff members at your PR firm have been hired to tell it like it is. If you want to respond to a negative story with a press release setting the record straight, your PR firm will tell you why this may be a bad idea. They’ll risk a little confrontation to make sure you get it right.
- They’ve seen it all before. When you hire a public relations firm, you’re hiring experience. Your firm’s publicists and strategists have been there before. This has tremendous value. When your company is under attack in the media, it may feel overwhelming to you and you may want to lash out. Your PR firm will offer dispassionate counsel. This is critical. Public relations professionals deal with these situations all the time and know how they resolve and how much time it can take. This perspective can lead to much better decisions.
- They understand social. We all know that we’ve got to be part of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the other social networks out there. However, some organizations and their marketing/PR folks just don’t have enough experience to be effective in this arena. Your public relations firm does. It can give you the lay of the social landscape, help devise effective social media strategies and make sure your traditional PR efforts complement your social media efforts. Working with social media is just the newest type of media relations, which has been the sweet spot of PR firms forever.
- They’re writing professionals. The written word is a challenge for some, an absolute nightmare for others. But for your PR firm, it’s a walk in the park. Public relations firms are experts with the written word. It is their chosen medium. Many PR folks — like myself — are former reporters, so their first love is writing. This can come in handy as your PR firm’s staff can help you with written communications in many forms. Whether you need help blogging, writing white papers and ebooks, or simply crafting internal communications, your PR firm can do it. Just ask.
- They’ve got your back. One big job of PR firms is to guard your reputation. In short, they look out for you and respond when the vultures circle. It’s nice to have someone to stand up for you when times get tough, but when it comes to the media it’s essential. Please note, the way your firm responds may not be the way you would think to fire back yourself. But referring to No. 3 above, remember your PR pros have seen it before. However they choose to proceed, know that your PR firm’s staff members are looking out for you.
Certainly, there are other reasons to love your public relations firm. Please let me know if you have more I should add to the list.
My main point, however, is to urge you to think of your public relations firm in the broadest possible terms. It can provide you with a great deal of value in areas you may not have considered.