Bill Gates once said, “If I only had two dollars left I would spend one dollar on PR.” If that’s not a ringing endorsement for why you should include public relations as part of your business model we don’t know what is.

But is it better to pay an in-house PR Manager or hire an agency to help get the word out about your business?

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve actually stumbled onto a long-running argument, debating this very question.

Public Relations Team

Naturally each has a unique set of perks which make it more or less desirable based on the specific needs presented by the product, company or service you offer.

For example, established global companies may prefer to operate with one in-house PR manager or create several regional in-house teams which can tap into the local thread of each market sector. Others contract independent specialized firms on a project-by-project basis, while some startups find their decision to hire an outside agency to be an invaluable pillar of their early success.

Still, making a final decision can be tough. For simplicity’s sake, we created this easy to follow breakdown of the advantages working with in-house and agency PR professionals.

Why You Need to Hire an Outside Agency

When you’re after someone with a breadth of experience, there’s no beating an agency. With their diverse client portfolios you can be sure the list of projects they’ve worked on is equally expansive. The broad range of skills it takes to run these varied arrays of successful campaigns will help them unearth unique angles and potentially lucrative markets you may have previously had in your blind spot. In other words, you’re always guaranteed a fresh set of eyes!

With a sink or swim mentality as a general pre-requisite, agency employees are used to working in fast-paced environments which mandate near-immediate results. This causes them to pull from their speckled backgrounds and large network of media connections to find creative ways to quickly spin your brand’s story into full-blown coverage.

However, as Forbes contributor Jennifer Leggio cautions, “A PR agency can only be as successful as the in-house team that manages it, and it is that team’s responsibility to treat that agency like a business partner…”, so make sure you’re prepared to be a cooperative and responsive participant. After all, their success is your success!

When You Should Consider Creating your Team In-House

When your brand is conceived, gestated, born and nurtured in-house from a hand-picked team, you retain the ultimate control. With one internal PR manager as the lead, you can develop your brand assets over time, while cutting out the need for an outside agency to come learn the ins and outs of your company. In-house teams have one singular focus allowing them to become dedicated experts on what makes you successful. They can draw from historical data and inside industry knowledge to help you determine the factors impacting your business.

In-house there’s also likely to be less movement than traditional agencies. In this respect, you always know exactly whose hands your brand resides instead of potentially starting fresh when junior publicists become senior publicists or shift their workloads within the office.

Finally, there can be a cost-savings advantage to hiring in-house if your need is an ongoing one as opposed to a short-term or per project necessity.

In the end, the question isn’t whether you need to spend for PR services, but what kind of services you need to spend for. Having clear and transparent objectives will help you select the right type of PR professional for your business. Together your in-house team, seasoned professional agency or combination thereof will help you chart a course to success via media recognition and expanding industry presence.