Some clients seem smart and measured enough to do their own PR.
They just don’t want to.
Why would they outsource this task and incur the extra expense? Maybe because they feel their time is better spent elsewhere.
There are many reasons organizations shouldn’t try to do their own PR.
Here are a few:
1. Their ego gets in the way.
Of course, you want to work with clients who are excited about what they’re doing. However. sometimes they believe too much of their own hype.
Businesses who are blinded by ego just don’t see the truth: Maybe what they think is so revolutionary—so groundbreaking—really isn’t in the eyes of the reporter.
An experienced PR pro can help entrepreneurs see the difference between what their egos are telling them is a good story and what indeed is a good story that will help them achieve their goals. He or she will ask questions about how they differ from their competitors and help to position the business to highlight these differentiators.
2. They don’t have enough time.
Entrepreneurs are notorious for trying to do too much. Of course, many of them are jacks of all trades and will attempt to tackle every business initiative at hand.
Everyone knows how this story ends. They’ll fail to do anything well if they’re pulled in too many directions—and for many smaller businesses and entrepreneurs, time equals money.
A public relations practitioner can help by taking over the reins for activities like media outreach. He or she can stay on top of contacting reporters and keep track of where stories are in the pipeline. This means the entrepreneur can focus on what he or she does best.
3. They think they’re good at PR—but really, they’re not.
Many PR pros have probably worked with a client who might think they are a PR expert, but in reality understand very little about public relations. These are the clients who will hire you, then try to tell you how to do your job.
If they’re open to turning the reins over to a PR pro so they can focus on what they’re skilled at, they may find they accomplish more—and learn something in the process.
4. They confuse advertising with PR.
Some clients don’t understand the difference between PR and advertising. They think they’re one and the same. These are the clients who want to load their social media posts and press releases with sales promotions.
A good PR must explain why PR is not advertising.
“Marketing and advertising promote a service, product or brand for the purpose of selling it. PR is about building serious credibility and trust by sharing information, knowledge and insight in order to raise awareness about an organization or a subject,” says Robert White, the founder of PR Matters.
Then, you can try to help them use ads to support their earned media (PR) efforts.
5. They work on PR in fits and starts.
Sometimes entrepreneurs only remember to do PR occasionally when it’s suddenly time for a new product launch or other big announcement.
Doing a big splash once in a while—then going silent for months—is no way to win the hearts and minds of your audiences.
Working with a PR pro can help entrepreneurs stay out in the limelight with public relations efforts that cover the company year-round, even during the periods between major milestones.
6. They don’t have the tenacity.
PR requires not only outreach but follow up. It’s not a one and done type of activity. As in, “Oh, we tried to contact the media once and got no response – so we know that doesn’t work.”
If you don’t have the time or persistence to follow up consistently, your outreach may not go anywhere.
A PR practitioner will be a dedicated resource to follow up on things, like media inquiries, speaking proposals and more. It may take more than one outreach effort to get to the right contact and win his/her attention.
7. They don’t want to be the messenger.
Some entrepreneurs simply don’t want to be the “messenger.” They want someone else to deliver their message for them.
Not only does it save them time, but having a PR pro deliver their message helps them look more professional. They might also feel more comfortable not “tooting their own horn.”
A PR pro can work with the entrepreneur to help him or her get the word out without having to be the one to deliver it. This keeps them firmly positioned as the leader of the company.
The next time you need to talk a startup out of doing its own PR, look to this list to help. Hopefully, you’ll be the remedy many startups who try to do their own PR so desperately need.
Michelle Garrett is a PR consultant and writer at Garrett Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @PRisUs or connect with her on LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.