Working with a PR Agency, Freelancer, or In-House

Sabine Raabe
4 min readApr 23, 2024

Achieving and maintaining a stellar public image is non-negotiable. Whether you’re launching a product, managing a crisis, or striving for brand recognition, effective public relations (PR) can be the cornerstone of your success. However, one of the initial hurdles is determining how to structure your PR efforts: should you engage a PR agency, enlist a freelance PR practitioner, or establish an in-house PR team? Each avenue presents its own set of advantages and considerations. Let’s delve into the merits and pitfalls of each option to guide your decision-making process.

PR Agency: Expertise and Resources on Demand

Teaming up with a PR agency grants you access to a treasure trove of expertise and resources. These agencies boast seasoned PR professionals with diverse skill sets and deep industry knowledge. By outsourcing your PR needs, you tap into a dedicated team proficient in media relations, crisis management, strategic planning, and content creation.

Pros:

1. Specialised Skills: PR agencies house specialists in various realms such as media relations and social media management, ensuring comprehensive coverage for your PR efforts.

2. Extensive Network: Established agencies boast vast networks of media contacts and industry influencers, amplifying exposure for your brand.

3. Scalability: Agencies can tailor their services to your needs, whether you’re launching a national campaign or targeting niche markets.

4. Objective Perspective: External agencies offer fresh insights and unbiased feedback, enriching your brand’s image and messaging.

Cons:

1. Cost: Engaging a PR agency can be pricey, especially for smaller businesses with constrained budgets.

2. Communication Challenges: Coordinating communication between your company and the agency may require extra time and effort.

3. Dependency: Sole reliance on an external agency may impede your in-house team’s skill development and expertise.

Freelance PR Practitioner: Agility and Personalised Support

Hiring a freelance PR professional affords flexibility and support tailored to your specific needs. Freelancers bring diverse experience gleaned from working with various clients across industries. Whether you need short-term project assistance or ongoing PR guidance, freelancers offer agile solutions with a personal touch.

Pros:

1. Cost-Effective: Freelancers typically charge lower rates than agencies, making them a budget-friendly choice for smaller enterprises.

2. Flexibility: Freelancers adapt swiftly to changing needs and timelines, offering agile support for time-sensitive projects.

3. Direct Communication: Collaborating directly with a freelance PR professional fosters clear communication, minimising potential misunderstandings.

4. Specialised Expertise: Freelancers often specialise in specific PR domains, providing niche skills aligned with your objectives.

Cons:

1. Limited Capacity: Freelancers may have limited bandwidth, particularly during peak periods or while juggling multiple clients.

2. Dependency on Individual: Relying solely on one freelancer entails some risk, as their availability and reliability may vary.

3. Resource Constraints: Freelancers may lack access to the same resources and networks as larger agencies, potentially constraining your PR efforts.

In-House PR Team: Control and Alignment with Company Values

Establishing an in-house PR team offers complete control and seamless alignment with your company’s culture and values. By hiring dedicated PR professionals, you ensure alignment with broader business goals and maintain tight control over PR strategy and execution.

Pros:

1. Brand Understanding: In-house teams possess in-depth knowledge of your brand, products, and audience, enabling them to craft tailored PR campaigns.

2. Immediate Availability: In-house PR professionals are readily available to address urgent matters and seize emerging opportunities or crises.

3. Cultural Alignment: PR professionals within your organisation foster stronger relationships and alignment with stakeholders.

4. Long-Term Investment: Building an in-house team represents a long-term investment in talent development and organisational growth.

Cons:

1. Resource-Intensive: Establishing and managing an in-house PR team requires significant resources, including recruiting and ongoing management.

2. Limited External Perspective: In-house teams may become insular, potentially missing out on valuable insights and opportunities available through external networks.

3. Flexibility Constraints: In-house teams may struggle to scale efforts or handle specialised tasks outside their core competencies.

The decision to engage a PR agency, freelance professional, or in-house team hinges on your organisation’s unique needs, budget, and strategic objectives. Each option offers distinct advantages and challenges, and the optimal choice will vary based on factors such as the scale of your PR initiatives and desired level of control.

Whether you prioritise expertise, flexibility, or cultural alignment, there’s a PR solution that aligns with your goals. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each approach and considering your long-term PR strategy, you can make an informed decision that propels your brand towards greater visibility, credibility, and success with your public relations.

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Sabine Raabe

I help leaders craft their stories to #communicate and connect better. Think thought leadership, professional branding and reputation management.