PR / Marketing advice

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PR / Marketing advice

John Corey
To all,

Any suggestions and advice concerning in-house PR vs. using an  
external firm (individual or larger firm)?

As a start up we all try to attract attention on our own. One of the  
many tasks. At some point it makes sense to be more focused on serious  
about PR and getting the message out. Some success stories talk about  
how they handle the PR activities internally, self-trained, etc. Other  
times you see a successful start up using an external firm and  
committing serious amounts of money to pay for the external firm.

Views and comments from entrepreneurs on this list? If you are a PR  
person or represent a PR firm do speak up. I am expecting a range of  
views.

John Corey
www.Twitter.com/John_Corey



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Re: PR / Marketing advice

Dan-22-3
What I've found from my own company and working in various start-ups is that in-house PR is much more passionate and engaging than an external agency. After all: they may know PR but can you really expect them to be as fired up as you are about your product?

'Marketing Judo' and 'Tipping Point' expose some great techniques for getting the best bang for your buck. In the early days I'd never dream of engaging a PR agency.

That said, if you're a little more developed now and need the press contacts and large multi-channel campaigns that PR agencies can be great at (plus can risk losing 5-6 figure sums) then it could be a gamble worth taking.

Dan

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2009/2/6 John Corey <[hidden email]>
To all,

Any suggestions and advice concerning in-house PR vs. using an external firm (individual or larger firm)?

As a start up we all try to attract attention on our own. One of the many tasks. At some point it makes sense to be more focused on serious about PR and getting the message out. Some success stories talk about how they handle the PR activities internally, self-trained, etc. Other times you see a successful start up using an external firm and committing serious amounts of money to pay for the external firm.

Views and comments from entrepreneurs on this list? If you are a PR person or represent a PR firm do speak up. I am expecting a range of views.

John Corey
www.Twitter.com/John_Corey



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Re: PR / Marketing advice

Michael Dewhirst
In reply to this post by John Corey
External firms are great for contacts, knowing which media outlets to
use, making sure the message is delivered and not disgarded, etc.

They are also good at *advising* on messaging, i.e. what and how to
word the value proposition and so on. Some good ones out there are
VERY good at it, some are ok. Copy writing is a skill in itself and
not all agencies will carry a great writer. Some will. Ask for
examples of work and results track records. Look at the detail as
sometimes things can be painted a bit too optimistically.

Do not assume miracles or that they will do everything for you and -
in my opinion - avoid retainers. Sometimes retainers work but I
suggest trying out first on a project basis and only then moving to
regular payments.

Involve yourself heavily in all the work, don't be afraid of your
opinion or to disagree with the "guru's" - remember it's your
business, your idea, your product, only you know it really well.

Of course it's not black and white and all a matter of degrees.

Hope this helps.


On Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 11:43 AM, John Corey <[hidden email]> wrote:

> To all,
>
> Any suggestions and advice concerning in-house PR vs. using an external firm
> (individual or larger firm)?
>
> As a start up we all try to attract attention on our own. One of the many
> tasks. At some point it makes sense to be more focused on serious about PR
> and getting the message out. Some success stories talk about how they handle
> the PR activities internally, self-trained, etc. Other times you see a
> successful start up using an external firm and committing serious amounts of
> money to pay for the external firm.
>
> Views and comments from entrepreneurs on this list? If you are a PR person
> or represent a PR firm do speak up. I am expecting a range of views.
>
> John Corey
> www.Twitter.com/John_Corey
>
>
>
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> Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on
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> OpenCoffee Meetup.
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RE: PR / Marketing advice

David Kekwick
In reply to this post by John Corey
Hi
 
If you are looking for some PR assistance you could try going through People Per Hour http://www.peopleperhour.com/. You post a specification of your PR requirement and people with relevant experience can bid for it. I have used it to get legal advice from an experienced lawyer at a fraction of the cost of using a law firm. It can work for anything where you require a skilled contractor but want to keep the cost down.
 
Good luck.
 
David


From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Dan
Sent: 06 February 2009 11:57
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [entrepreneur-1056] PR / Marketing advice

What I've found from my own company and working in various start-ups is that in-house PR is much more passionate and engaging than an external agency. After all: they may know PR but can you really expect them to be as fired up as you are about your product?

'Marketing Judo' and 'Tipping Point' expose some great techniques for getting the best bang for your buck. In the early days I'd never dream of engaging a PR agency.

That said, if you're a little more developed now and need the press contacts and large multi-channel campaigns that PR agencies can be great at (plus can risk losing 5-6 figure sums) then it could be a gamble worth taking.

Dan

--
Daniel Sim
Plug in SEO
www.pluginseo.com
 

2009/2/6 John Corey <[hidden email]>
To all,

Any suggestions and advice concerning in-house PR vs. using an external firm (individual or larger firm)?

As a start up we all try to attract attention on our own. One of the many tasks. At some point it makes sense to be more focused on serious about PR and getting the message out. Some success stories talk about how they handle the PR activities internally, self-trained, etc. Other times you see a successful start up using an external firm and committing serious amounts of money to pay for the external firm.

Views and comments from entrepreneurs on this list? If you are a PR person or represent a PR firm do speak up. I am expecting a range of views.

John Corey
www.Twitter.com/John_Corey



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RE: PR / Marketing advice

Brian Milnes
In reply to this post by John Corey

Several years ago, I was involved in setting up a Distribution company for Hughes Networks DirecPC Satellite Broadband service. (Now HughesNet)

We had a very small PR budget, especially in contrast to Hughes' £nn,000s.

Our relationship with Oast Communications (here) was excellent. Great understanding of technical sales pitches, who the influencers, writers, etc. etc. were.

We got 10x more response from our meagre budget than Hughes did with their big ad campaigns.

And we couldn’t have done it ourselves.

Brian

www.buildabetter.biz

 

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of John Corey
Sent: 06 February 2009 11:43
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [entrepreneur-1056] PR / Marketing advice

 

To all,

 

Any suggestions and advice concerning in-house PR vs. using an 

external firm (individual or larger firm)?

 

As a start up we all try to attract attention on our own. One of the 

many tasks. At some point it makes sense to be more focused on serious 

about PR and getting the message out. Some success stories talk about 

how they handle the PR activities internally, self-trained, etc. Other 

times you see a successful start up using an external firm and 

committing serious amounts of money to pay for the external firm.

 

Views and comments from entrepreneurs on this list? If you are a PR 

person or represent a PR firm do speak up. I am expecting a range of 

views.

 

John Corey

www.Twitter.com/John_Corey

 

 

 

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Re: PR / Marketing advice

Julia Eilon
In reply to this post by John Corey

It does depend on quite a few factors such as how techy or leading edge your product is (may be best to have the passion from internal PR) or how difficult it is going to be to reach your audience.  Internal PR certainly has the benefits of being able to react quickly to things that happen in the market eg rumours, news stories. There is also the need to keep a balanced marketing campaign so this kind of role can be merged with a general marketing role.  You could of course compromise with a part-time marketing/PR person in the intial stages as a consultant so that you have someone with great experience, and then recruit someone later down the line when you have a better idea of what skills/positions you need.

 

 

With regards,


Julia L Eilon  

 

**********************************

business development & marketing

                   freelance expertise...

**********************************

 

email:      [hidden email]

mob:       +44 774 990 5923                           

skype id: julia_eilon

http://www.linkedin.com/in/juliaeilon 






--- On Fri, 2/6/09, John Corey <[hidden email]> wrote:
From: John Corey <[hidden email]>
Subject: [entrepreneur-1056] PR / Marketing advice
To: [hidden email]
Date: Friday, February 6, 2009, 11:43 AM

To all,

Any suggestions and advice concerning in-house PR vs. using an external firm
(individual or larger firm)?

As a start up we all try to attract attention on our own. One of the many
tasks. At some point it makes sense to be more focused on serious about PR and
getting the message out. Some success stories talk about how they handle the PR
activities internally, self-trained, etc. Other times you see a successful start
up using an external firm and committing serious amounts of money to pay for the
external firm.

Views and comments from entrepreneurs on this list? If you are a PR person or
represent a PR firm do speak up. I am expecting a range of views.

John Corey
www.Twitter.com/John_Corey



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Re: PR / Marketing advice

John Corey
In reply to this post by John Corey
Lots of great responses. At this time I want to thank Dan, David,  
Mike, Julia, Brian, and Martine. If others want to add to the  
discussion please do.

John B. Corey Jr.



On 6 Feb 2009, at 11:43, John Corey wrote:

> To all,
>
> Any suggestions and advice concerning in-house PR vs. using an  
> external firm (individual or larger firm)?
>
> As a start up we all try to attract attention on our own. One of the  
> many tasks. At some point it makes sense to be more focused on  
> serious about PR and getting the message out. Some success stories  
> talk about how they handle the PR activities internally, self-
> trained, etc. Other times you see a successful start up using an  
> external firm and committing serious amounts of money to pay for the  
> external firm.
>
> Views and comments from entrepreneurs on this list? If you are a PR  
> person or represent a PR firm do speak up. I am expecting a range of  
> views.
>
> John Corey
> www.Twitter.com/John_Corey
>
>
>
> --
> Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to  
> everyone on this mailing list ([hidden email])
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> This message was sent by John Corey ([hidden email]) from  
> London OpenCoffee Meetup.
> To learn more about John Corey, visit his/her member profile: http://www.meetup.com/opencoffee/members/3967441/
> To unsubscribe or to update your mailing list settings, click here: http://www.meetup.com/account/comm/
> Meetup Support: [hidden email]
> 632 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 USA
>




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Re: PR / Marketing advice

Peter Cunningham
In reply to this post by John Corey
A couple of thoughts.
 
I have worked with both in a start up environment. An inhouse PR person or freelance can of course write your press releases but you may find that a social media strategy will pay off more than a traditional PR strategy.  Depending on your industry, you may find more of your key influencers are bloggers or other experts rather than journalists (especially if you target generation Y as they don't read newspapers) - a good book to read is Infuencer Marketing http://www.influencer50.com/about-q10007-Our_Book.aspx. If you create a blog storm then you will get the attention of the mainstream media anyway just think of the 'Chav Free Holidays' news stories a week ago.
 
The main advantages of an external PR firm are: the strategic advice and their strength of connections in the press/blogs and credibility. The key challenge is getting the journalists and bloggers to actually read your material. I heard that in the old days the fax machine used to run all day and the unread faxes were just scopped straight into a rubbish bin. It is the same with a jorno or blogger today as their email boxes get filled up - they can't read all their emails (writing a catchy subject line for your email may be worth more than the context of the press release!). A PR firm may be able to get through that by having the right connection and having a good reputation - that is the jorno knows that X does not waste their time, knows the kind of story they want and generally provides good information. That is what you pay for. The jorno will answer their calls.
 
Often an inhouse person is fairly junior - as a start up will rarely pay for a senior PR person. That means that his/her experience may be limited from a strategic perspective and his/her contact list/reputation may also be limited. A PR firm lets you benefit from the shared experience of all its staff. [You could consider a mix of an internal person and a freelance to help consult and devise strategy?].
 
Remember with a PR firm you are buying 'hours' - the retainer is X no of hours at an average charge out rate of Y - so if you screw down the price you are screwing down the hours. You can still negotiate and get a better deal if the PR firm has lower fixed costs but keep in mind the 'hours principle'.
 
I worked with a PR freelance who got one of my old companies to buy a directory of all European jornos and fired emails at them. He and a colleague followed up with a phone call but mostly the response was 'you are welcome to send us any press releases'. Most of our PR, despite being great stories (seriously :) ), ended up 'on the cutting room floor'. A few got through - a couple of articles in the Venture Capital press as the stories involved technological firsts with satellites, wifi and webconferencing and, say, medical training - and one story even got in the Times about telecommuting. But mostly it was an abject failure. It cost less than a PR agency but the failure to get coverage cost the business more in the long run. Think about the cost of failure to get PR vs the cost of getting that service when making your choice.
 
I have also worked with an excellent PR company that got us so much PR for a miniscule budget it was silly. But it did not impact the bottom line. We didn't get the right influencers - column inches in the traditional press did not get members for the social network. Part of the reason was 'issues' with the network (bad interface, to 'me-too' etc) but, depending on your industry, you may want to take a different approach and get someone to target bloggers, write yoru blog, provide thought provoking debate, provide lots of small news releases rather than Big Hitting PR stories.
 
One place you can be guaranteed to get your press release is on your website! So what ever you do have a press release section and optimise your press releases for SEO. Create a blog and link to your press releases. Think of PR as a link-building and page rank boosting tool as well as marketing. Some PR or SEO firms have innovative means to get your press release on a series of websites and generate back-links.
 
Hope that is helpful

--- On Fri, 6/2/09, Dan <[hidden email]> wrote:
From: Dan <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [entrepreneur-1056] PR / Marketing advice
To: [hidden email]
Date: Friday, 6 February, 2009, 11:57 AM

What I've found from my own company and working in various start-ups is that in-house PR is much more passionate and engaging than an external agency. After all: they may know PR but can you really expect them to be as fired up as you are about your product?

'Marketing Judo' and 'Tipping Point' expose some great techniques for getting the best bang for your buck. In the early days I'd never dream of engaging a PR agency.

That said, if you're a little more developed now and need the press contacts and large multi-channel campaigns that PR agencies can be great at (plus can risk losing 5-6 figure sums) then it could be a gamble worth taking.

Dan

--
Daniel Sim
Plug in SEO
www.pluginseo.com
 

2009/2/6 John Corey <[hidden email]>
To all,

Any suggestions and advice concerning in-house PR vs. using an external firm (individual or larger firm)?

As a start up we all try to attract attention on our own. One of the many tasks. At some point it makes sense to be more focused on serious about PR and getting the message out. Some success stories talk about how they handle the PR activities internally, self-trained, etc. Other times you see a successful start up using an external firm and committing serious amounts of money to pay for the external firm.

Views and comments from entrepreneurs on this list? If you are a PR person or represent a PR firm do speak up. I am expecting a range of views.

John Corey
www.Twitter.com/John_Corey



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Re: Re: PR / Marketing advice

Roger Stone
In reply to this post by John Corey

To help organise your thoughts on the great advice given by Peter Cunningham and others, I suggest you write a briefing document, as if you were going to brief external resources to do the work.  At this stage, leave out the parts about your company, products and services that someone external would need to know, but set out all the other important details : what the overall objective is, over what timescale, whom do you want to reach, what action you want them to take, what are your messages, how do the messages promote the desired action, what do people know about you already, what is the noise in the market from competitors and others,  what other activities you are already doing/planning that can be leveraged, what follow up you plan to responses and what budget (manpower and money) you have available.

 

Writing this down and determining the key challenges will help you decide if you can/have to work in house or if it is better to use external resources.  In either case, the document will be a valuable tool for defining the job internally or for briefing externally.

 

Regards

Roger Stone

www.linkedin.com/in/rogerstone

 

 





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