Do your own PR – the Pros & Cons

January 23, 2009

This is a particularly pertinent subject at the moment, given the combination of increasing sources of knowledge, expertise and information online (via news feeds, blogs and the like) and the ongoing economic situation – both of which are adding impetus to the dilemma facing many small business owners in the UK.

Do you deliver your own PR, or outsource it to the experts? As the ‘guru’ in your commercial field, pitching to the Media is never going to be an easy proposition, unless you’ve received training and are comfortable and confident. Also, it is worth remembering that as a business owner, you are competing with more and more information overload, from a burgeoning number of sources for the media and your potential customers to engage with and be attracted to.

Differentiators such as special offers, expertise, experience mean very little in our rapid-paced, on-demand World.

Not all journalists of course are au fait with online techniques, as a recent information post from www.journalism.co.uk highlights, giving the media hints and tips on techniques they need to learn to stay ahead of the curve on sourcing and uncovering information today. Great post.

It comes down to basics: do you have three things. 1. Time 2. Confidence 3. Something worthwhile to say

There are plenty of blogs out there, but there aren’t that many good blogs. I mean REALLY good blogs, which add value, generate fresh debate, create new avenues of commercial activity, demonstrate solid knowledge and all wrapped up in an inclusive, insightful and informative manner.

As the media arena focuses more on more on the voices of a limited number of editorial experts, as succinctly pointed out on the excellent Smallbizpod site from Alex Bellinger, it is going to be more important to understand the rules of engagement in the media relations game. If you fail once, you fail forever with that journalist. Tough stakes indeed.

Or, of course, you can pay for a PR Agency or PR Consultant to manage the media for you. To create and distribute your content for you. To act as your official Press Office on your behalf. This takes effort, faith, perseverence and above all, the ability to step back from your business and let a media expert inside to tear it apart for News and Features. Are you able to let go of control to that extent? If not, you may be forced to do your own PR.

Personally, I believe that both routes are excellent – dependent on the requirements of the individual or business. Good PR is not necessarily delivered by the biggest corporate PR firm on the block, neither is it always the domain of the ego-obsessed entrepreneur who tries to run it all himself until the business fails and he drops from a heart attack.

Make the choices based on the above criteria – and expect to be challenged along the way of either path to PR success.

Oh – and to finish on – if you’re looking for the first and last word in UK entrepreneurship advice – check this. There are lots of individuals and companies offering ‘advice’ to British entrepreneurs and adding no value whatsoever. Simply check out the great content and collaborations from the Smallbizpod team. Happy reading.

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2 Responses to “Do your own PR – the Pros & Cons”

  1. Fascinating and useful analysis here.

    As they say in The Incredibles, if everyone’s special, nobody is. The same applies when it comes to experts in PR or any other field.

    Entrepreneurs will still need to outsource to people who know what they’re doing in terms of media relations.

    But the authenticity of direct contact between entrepreneur and journalist is always hard to beat.

    Thanks for the kind comments about SmallBizPod, btw! Much appreciated.

    • bristoleditor said

      Hi Alex

      Hope you’re well, and many thanks for your comments – much appreciated.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you: a good entrepreneur knows when to outsource and when to focus in and deliver, but the Press don’t care for PR luvvies of course! Take me to the Source please…always the way, to get the most reliable, timely, exclusive and individual take on editorial. I still think the best PRs are ex-journalists, in my experience, in terms of delivering consistent editorial value, time after time. The Ab Fab days are over – well, outside of London at least.

      Loving your work with Smallbizpod too – of the various UK small business ‘entrepreneurs’ out there, your site, information, ideas exchange, collaboration and just the way it reads so bloody well…makes it a really powerful and professional site. Congratulations for your insight. I will cross link whenever I can – quite simply, because it adds value to my readers and those in my other online networks. Happy Friday.

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