Of course, and depending on the PR goals they set for themselves, many do quite successfully. I realize it’s blasphemous to be a PR pro and agency owner and acknowledge the obvious…that not every client needs outside PR counsel. But if a client has the time or staff, a certain set of PR skills, the resources, and very importantly, a realistic set of goals, then yes, they can do their own PR.
But there are caveats.
First, the goals must be based on what PR can accomplish, not on other marketing targets. An effective PR campaign should be defined by the positive media coverage it generates and leveraged. Nothing more. Marketing goals such as lead generation or booked sales are the result of an effective overall marketing campaign consisting of a number of varied elements working closely together: ads, social media, events, and word of mouth… not just PR alone. PR can boost and leverage a client’s message, can drive SEO, can even lead a promotion and get an industry talking. But it’s not fair to expect it to do it in a vacuum.
Second, an effective PR campaign is a process and takes considerable time and skill devoted to the task. Too many clients believe it’s simply a matter of having a great, new, revolutionary, super wonderful product or service that media is going to be instantly enamored with as soon as they receive a press release or email. Wrong. There are thousands of new revolutionary whiz-bang products or services clamoring at the media’s door every minute of every day. The key to success is knowing how to frame a newsworthy and timely pitch… and to whom and when to take it to ensure the best reception. That’s where the process comes in. If a client has the internal staff and resources to do the research and craft the perfect pitch… and the patience to suffer plenty of rejections without getting discouraged… then success might be possible.
And what of the PR creativity? All clients, at least it’s certainly hoped, have the knowledge, experience and even creativity behind the successful development of their product or service, i.e., what sets it apart and makes it special in their marketplace. But do they have the creative moxie in a very different marketplace, that of the media…harried, under deadline, often underpaid, and cynical. That’s the area where an experienced PR pro can be most creatively helpful, and dare I say, cost efficient.
So, can a client do their own PR? Yes, up to a point.