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The size of a PR department in an advertising firm

By Axia Public Relations

Do advertising firms have the focus on PR you need?


pr department size advertisingA while ago, I was talking with a public relations agent working in an advertising agency. During our conversation, she discussed her experiences, which stuck out to me. 


The advertising agency she works for has over 100 people but only 7 dedicated to public relations. She noted that her agency would bring the PR department up as a side thing they had. The agency also promised the PR department it would be invited to meetings but in reality, they weren’t. Even worse, the PR department was not given a chance to meet the client at the start of the project. They’re simply told about the client and his or her needs and then expected to do PR work on their own. Without meeting the client, discussing his or her needs, and working out a solution together, their PR efforts were set up for failure.


This brings me to my point: advertisement agencies see PR as a side gig. If it’s not their primary focus, you’re not going to be getting the best public relations you could get out of your public relations budget. Agencies that throw their PR firm scraps to work with don’t have a major interest in making your PR program succeed.


Advertising and public relations are two different things. However, advertising firms can and will treat their public relations work like rebranded advertising work, seeking paid content such as sponsorships and speaking events. However, public relations professionals seek unpaid appearances in the media, engage with social media content, and create content for their client’s website, none of which are handled by advertising. Clients expect the latter for public relations work, not the former.



Before having an advertising firm handle your PR work as well, ask them these questions.


     1. “How many people are dedicated, full-time employees to public relations work?”

Once that is answered, give them the second question.


     2. "What percentage or how many of your staff is dedicated to design and paid media?"


These two questions will give you excellent insight into how important public relations is to an advertising firm.


A better idea is to hire a dedicated public relations firm. With a PR firm, you know it’s dedicated to actual public relations. You’re not getting repackaged advertising work nor are you getting a PR group that’s working without having formed a relationship with you. PR firms will get what you truly want from public relations.


If you need a PR firm, we’d be happy to help. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to get you started working with a group that’s 100% dedicated to public relations.


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Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

Topics: PR tips

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