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What can a PR agency really do for you? Hint: It's not just press releases anymore

By Lisa Goldsberry

For many years, companies have viewed public relations agencies as those people you hire when you’re facing a crisis or you can’t crank out press releases fast enough. Now, that perception is changing, as more and more organizations discover the real value of hiring a PR firm.


The USC Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center just completed new Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP VIII) study, and according to it, many of the top companies in the country are finding more reasons for and additional value in public relations than ever before. Here are some of the main incentives:

They recognize the need for outside-the-box ideas. Typically, when making hiring decisions, companies ultimately select the job candidates who will fit in well with their teams. Unfortunately, this might mean you’re filling your company with people who all think the same way. While this could be fine for collaborative efforts and building workplace harmony, it’s not always the best choice when it comes to generating new visions, problem-solving or brainstorming. Hiring a PR agency is like infusing fresh intellectual blood into your team.

Company leaders realize the importance of listening to impartial advice from people they can trust. In most workplaces, there is a hierarchy where employees dont always feel comfortable speaking their mind. Bringing in outside counsel can free you from internal politics and help you see the bigger picture because you’re getting more honest opinions.

Tactical expertise from the right PR agency can benefit any company. You hire people for what they know, and it’s the same when you choose an outside PR firm. PR experts understand media professionals, have numerous contacts and realize what it takes to tell your story. They know their industry, can see different angles you may miss or be unaware of and can tell you the best methods and outlets for publicity and outreach. By the way, since you’re paying for their talent and expertise, listen to them. You have to trust the insights they bring to the table in order to make the relationship work.

Extra hands when you need them: Of course, PR agencies can still help with those tasks they’re so well known for, such as media relations, crisis communications and reputation management. Many companies just dont have the manpower or time to devote to thinking about these issues full time, so hiring outside PR help frees up valuable personnel and resources.

Hiring outside your company may still feel like betrayal to some. Others might believe that the same work can be done less expensively by a few in-house staffers (although they usually don’t factor in the additional costs of things like benefits, sick days, office equipment, maintenance and payroll taxes).

According to the GAP study, nearly 100 percent of large companies use outside PR help, and mid- and smaller-sized companies are catching on quickly to this phenomenon. The study also found that most of these companies utilize more than one PR firm at the same time. Using a PR agency is like hiring a bunch of experts at once, and they’re all combining their best practices just to help you succeed.

At Axia, we bring our A-game to every client, every day. We will serve as your trusted partner and provide you with high-impact, creative products to make the best use of your PR dollars. Click here to read about how we’ve helped others and discover what we can do for you.


Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

Photo credit: Photopin.com

Topics: public relations

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