Three Reasons Why I Used to Hire a PR Firm 

I spent the first half of my career – if my math is right, about 22 years – on the client side, toiling in our profession in the government, at corporations and with startups. Most of that time, our communications resources were pretty self-contained – that is, we did what we could with the staffs and budgets that we had.

There were occasions, however, when we looked beyond our walls for some added assistance.  And there were three primary reasons we would retain a public relations firm to help shoulder our load.

More Bench Strength

Most internal communications teams are staffed to meet the anticipated quotidian demands, and sometimes even those resources aren’t enough. So, what to do when you expect a spike in public relations activity? Maybe you’re introducing a new product or making a change in the leadership team or opening an outlet in a new city. Perhaps one of your stalwart media relations pros is on maternity or medical leave, has taken early retirement or jumped ship unexpectedly. At times when you need an experienced hand (or hands) to take on pitching media or some writing assignments, the best short-term solution is to tap the resources of an agency that can get up to speed quickly and enable the rest of your staff to continue to meet their own responsibilities.


There was a time – before Cision and online reporter databases – when your relationships with reporters were the proverbial gold at the end of the rainbow. While new tools and technology now put the names and contact information of key reporters at our fingertips, there remains significant power in maintaining connections with outlets that you are a known entity and where your pitches and emails are almost certainly will be read and responded to. The days of “spray and pray” media relations are over. Most PR firms take great pride in creating relationships that are trusted and familiar, and it’s those relationships that make a PR firm a particularly valuable partner.


Client-side work can have its share of redundancy and routine, and it’s often challenging to inject new thinking into your messaging and storytelling. That’s why it’s often a good idea to get another set of eyes on what you are doing, to get an outside perspective on what you are saying and how you are saying it. There’s a tendency to get too close to the story, and by bringing in an outside agency, you’ll get fresh insights and new ideas. And you also may get welcome validation that you actually are on point with your messaging. 

Retaining a public relations firm need not require a lengthy engagement. The three instances above are perfect examples of how a short-term relationship can reap effective dividends.

Josh Dare

Josh’s career in communications spans more than four decades. In addition to providing strategic counsel and crisis communications direction to clients, he is the resident Writer-In-Chief, regularly writing op-eds and bylines on behalf of clients that have been published in The Washington Post, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Huffington Post, among others.

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