B2B marketing communications and PR: in-house or outsource?

January 2, 2013

There are on-going debates about whether businesses should keep PR in-house or outsource to specialist agencies. The waters are muddied further by the growing influence of social media, blogging, inbound marketing and other non-traditional PR methods. Also, the selection of the best approach or combination of approaches is impacted by the size of a company, the nature of its business and whether it is B2B or B2C.

The recent article on PRmoment.com http://prmoment.com/1236/Are-the-most-successful-brands-taking-their-PR-in-house.aspx gave some insight and views from large organisations that were interesting but perhaps didn’t capture all the issues and influencing factors. The article  also gave five reasons to outsource PR which included saving time, access to outside experts rather than having to pay for salaried internal resource, and the creative and writing skills an agency can provide.

To these you might add that often agencies are able to utilise tools that make the business of media research, targeting, distribution, and  measurement and analysis more effective, streamlined and able to be provide information that  is reflective of the true brand position in the market place. The cost of these  tools can be very high –  often way too high for an in-house PR function to justify, but  OK for an agency with multiple clients to service.

With the changes – or should we say improvements – in Google  (the Panda and Penguin updates), the methods needed to create buzz and coverage around a brand have changed. Where once the  quality  of content was not  critical and SEO specialists used various ‘tricks’ to build rankings and profile with poor, low worth collateral, now, quality, engaging content that has real value and use to readers is clearly defined as being key in achieving a strong brand and online presence. It takes time, creativity, client technology and market knowledge plus web know-how to achieve this – a perfect fit for specialist, industry focused PR agencies! Let’s face it how can you really have all this knowledge internally without a comms team of hundreds?

As with most  things, talking is the key to a successful outcome, and so clients must sit down and converse with their agencies to properly understand what works best in-house and what is best managed by the PR agency


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