Is Hiring a PR Firm Worth It?

Is Hiring a PR Firm Worth It?

Q: I’m trying to decide whether we should take the plunge and invest in a PR agency to help our business grow. What’s your experience? -- Vince, Toronto My consulting company used to offer public relations services for books, technology and physical products. But if you look at our work today, we do PR only as an add-on for long-term clients. It wasn’t because we sucked (which is usually why we’d pivot away from something). Public relations is an inexact science with a low rate of conversion and success. That’s where we spend the bulk of our time -- focusing on the inner workings of a business. Instead, ask PR firms to show you work they did for businesses that are similar to yours, and find out what results they got. And this one’s important: Ask if they are comfortable with you contacting past clients. If you really want to know whether you’re about to make a good investment, talk to the entrepreneurs who took the same route and find out whether they’d do it again.

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Is Hiring a PR Firm Worth It?

This story appears in the May 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Generating buzz on your business is almost always a good thing — but when it comes at a high cost, what’s the return on investment?

Q: I’m trying to decide whether we should take the plunge and invest in a PR agency to help our business grow. What’s your experience? — Vince, Toronto

My consulting company used to offer public relations services for books, technology and physical products. But if you look at our work today, we do PR only as an add-on for long-term clients. Why? It wasn’t because we sucked (which is usually why we’d pivot away from something). We’ve done PR for three New York Times best-selling books, two successful TV shows and a billion-dollar fitness empire. We understand the value of PR, but for us it’s low on the hierarchy of scaling a business. I call Pen Name Consulting a “growth agency” — and PR is one of the last areas you should invest in when taking your business to the next level.

Public relations is an inexact science with a low rate of conversion and success. It can give your business a shot in the arm, but it’s temporary. You can’t say the same about investing in your team or fine-tuning your internal strategy. That’s where we spend the bulk of our time — focusing on the inner workings of a business. It has a much bigger ROI…

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