Supporters of hiring internal public relations professionals instead of outsourcing to an agency or consultant point to a number of reasons for this decision that don’t always hold up in the real world:
Myth: An internal person will be 100 percent focused on the business.
Truth: Once you add a public relations professional to your payroll, there are many more things that will be expected of this person that can make public relations take a back seat. Administrative items, meetings, office politics and other assignments all can pull an internal person off-task. An agency will work consistently on your account because they are dedicated to your public relations.
Myth: An internal person will know my business better.
Truth: That may be true initially, but often that intimate knowledge comes at the expense of perspective. An agency will provide an outsider’s view of your organization that can be insightful and refreshing. Also, with outsourcing you get the benefit of an expert that has exposure to many different situations that comes from working with many different clients.
Myth: An internal hire is cheaper than outsourcing.
Truth: With an internal hire, you have many hidden costs including overhead and management time. In addition, hiring a seasoned executive will be expensive. If you hire an agency that commits a senior-level expert to lead your team, you will get a lot of value out of the relationship.
Finally, don’t discount the “not created here” mentality in many organizations. A public relations consultant may be able to provide counseling to senior management that carries more gravitas than ideas generated internally. The outside agency also may be able to work in different areas of the company to solve complex communication challenges.