Should small businesses hire PR firms?

By Matter

This morning, the New York Times blog “You’re the boss” included an entry written by Jennifer Walzer, founder and chief executive of Backup My Info!. In the post, Jennifer offers her advice to other small business owners who want to get ink and suggests that it’s not necessary to hire a PR firm. She highlights some fantastic tips and I certainly don’t disagree with most of what she says. In fact, she even emphasizes some media relations best practices that I’ve seen some PR practitioners ignore. But in the comments section, a fellow PR professional makes an excellent point – many people in leadership positions at small companies need to focus on running their business and don’t have the time or bandwidth to add PR to their day-to-day responsibilities.

PR professionals (hopefully!) are strong writers and have a certain drive or personality that pushes us to think creatively, strategically and tactically in a way that helps us pursue a variety of angles…with a variety of reporters/editors/producers…for a variety of possible stories or coverage opportunities. In short, we’re good at what we do, or else we wouldn’t be doing it! Check out some of our case studies if you don’t believe me. 🙂

CEOs and other executives at small companies should be involved in PR, sure. Heck, they are usually the best when it comes to telling their company’s story with real passion. But saying that small companies should just handle their own PR programs completely is like saying that they should also forgo graphic designers as long as they have Photoshop. When you need to put together a basic flyer, by all means, try your hand at it and save on the expense. But for logo designs, website layouts, creative graphics…you hire the experts for a reason. The same concept applies to PR.

That’s just my take. What’s yours?