PR Reps

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Does Your Small Business Need a Public Relations Rep?

June 11, 2018 - 4:00 pm
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In an era when a single poorly-worded tweet or negative online review can significantly damage a brand’s reputation, small business owners need to be mindful of how they interact with the public. However, does it make sense for a burgeoning company to employ a dedicated public relations representative?

 

Benefits

PR reps can provide a small business with a number of enticing benefits. For instance, an experienced representative can work with social influencers to build up a brand’s visibility in a way that is less obvious than traditional advertising. This strategy can be very effective when marketing to averse millennial consumers. A public relations expert can also instruct an owner on how they should interact with the press.

Quality media training can help founders present themselves and their companies in a way that will resonate with consumers. Most importantly, a PR rep can be invaluable in assisting a company with crisis management. In the event of a data breach, personnel scandal or social media faux pas, a PR rep can use his or her resources and skills to help a small business negotiate the process of making potentially devastating disclosures and announcements while also developing a strategy for expedient reputation rehabilitation.

 

Drawbacks

Conversely, there are a few good reasons why founders shouldn’t spend any of their very limited capital on a PR rep. The most significant of which is cost. The retainer for a boutique PR firm is between $2,000 and $5,000. For the majority of small businesses, that kind of expenditure is simply untenable. Another issue is that, no matter how extensive their research, no outside PR firm will know a company as well as its founder. As such, they are not going to be able to communicate with consumers as authentically as an owner. As this Entrepreneur piece points out, an executive who can dictate their brand’s narrative to the public can pay significant dividends.

Lastly, having a PR firm on retainer might stunt a founder’s development. Strong leaders should have an understanding of every facet of their business. Delegating public relations to a third-party can prevent owners from cultivating the skills and media connections they’ll need to lead their company through a scandal.

 

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the question as to whether or not a small business should retain PR representation depends on its unique resources and needs. Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea for a startup to hire a PR rep. Unless a firm can guarantee a spectacular ROI, it’s just not financially prudent. However, once a company becomes ready to scale up or finds itself engulfed in a viral crisis, founders should start including PR services in their budget.

 

This article was written by Mario McKellop for Small Business Pulse