Lindsey hard at work – Photo Courtesy: Kristian Bjornard
When budgets are cut and cutbacks are made, your company’s public relations department could be the one of the first places to suffer. And that’s not because good PR isn’t essential to many different kinds of businesses – it’s more because PR is so easy to outsource.
Outsourcing jobs is generally looked down upon in the corporate world since the recession shed light on the issue. But outsourcing doesn’t have to mean sending your jobs to another country; it simply means utilizing an outside agency, even if they’re just down the street from you. Even nonprofit organizations sometimes outsource public relations. For any business with significant financial concerns, it could be the only option.
There are many different things to consider:
1. The Pros of Outsourcing
The biggest advantage to using an outside company for PR is the money you’ll save, but you could also be getting better skills for a lower price. The best communications and public relations jobs are often in private companies, and their staff have an expertise that’s hard to match. Plus, with public relations specifically, they can often supply contacts in the media that your organization might not have. They could have trusted relationships with several media outlets that you will benefit from. An outside PR team can make you feel like you’re in the hands of real professionals.
2. Cons of Outsourcing
There are also many advantages to employing your own inside PR people. The first is that they know your company better than an outsider could, and they are more passionate about your mission and goals. Your own employees will more than likely do things the way you want to do them, as well. The lines of communication are much more open internally than when you trust an important public relations project to an outside source that can take total control of it.
3. More Things to Consider
Whether or not you outsource is dependent on a number of factors which are individual to your company or organization. How far does your budget stretch? How important is PR to what you do, and do you need a PR specialist all the time or only to promote new products, services, or events? Do you need someone on your staff who understands social media, fundraising, and networking?
If you find that you can easily get by with using an outside company on occasion, you will also need to find one that you can depend on for quality work. If they can’t produce what you want or you’re always picking up the slack, the money you save might not be worth it.
Human Resources and Public Relations are the two most commonly outsourced departments in business. It remains to be seen whether the company equivalent of these careers will become a thing of the past, or whether jobs are simply becoming more competitive. There are many benefits to outsourcing your PR, but it takes effort to find an outside PR firm who cares and knows your company well enough to do the job to the same level your own internal staff can.
Trish Little writes for PR blogs. If you’re interested in helping businesses with their PR departments or being part of a PR department, look into communication degrees such as those offered by University of Southern California and Northwestern University.