These days there is a YouTube video or MasterClass for almost everything. The “do-it-yourself” (DIY) method got its start in home improvement projects years ago, but has now made its way to all aspects of life and business, including PR. It’s a mainstream mindset to "do-it-yourself” rather than hire an expert. So it’s no surprise we, in public relations, often hear people who are interested in stepping up their press coverage or social media presence ask, “Can’t I just do that myself?” or “I already have a communications team, can’t they just figure out PR?” Yes, but just because you can do something yourself, doesn't necessarily mean you should.
Here are 3 important questions to ask yourself before going down the DIY PR path:
1. How much is your time work?
Your PR plan shouldn’t be a second thought that’s done in your spare time. To secure press coverage, build relationships with journalists, practice talking points, coordinate an interview, write an article and prepare a plan to leverage the press coverage, you will spend a significant amount of time (likely in the neighborhood of 20-30 hours). Those hours working on press mean you aren’t working on your business or your internal communications team is putting their work on the back burner, and that comes with significant cost. The same is true for social media. In addition to creating the content and gathering the images, an effective social media strategy requires time to engage with the audience. It’s much more than posting content and walking away. When you say “yes” to DIY PR, you are saying “no” to working on your business.
2. Are you prepared to commit?
PR efforts are part of a long-term strategy to increase engagement, boost sales and build brand awareness. Whenever a change is made in a business, it typically takes months to see and measure results. The same is true for PR. Strategic PR initiatives are a marathon, not a sprint. A short-term PR plan that isn’t strategic can do harm to a brand. For example, you go to a conference and are told to get active on Facebook. For a month, you focus on it, write creative posts and gain followers. However, you get busy and quit posting or fail to check on it and miss responding to a question by a potential customer. This sends a negative message to your audience. You should expect to spend at least 3 months on any DIY PR efforts to determine if they are effective. If you aren’t willing to commit, it probably isn’t worth launching at all.
3. What is the worst that can happen?
Actually a lot. Your brand and the story of your brand are valuable. The majority of clients who come to us to help with a crisis are in the crisis because of a DIY strategy gone wrong. Could be a social media post that goes awry, an important internal email isn’t proofed and is leaked, an employee gives the press a quote without understanding the purpose of the story, the list goes on. I’m not trying to be dramatic here, but I’ve seen it countless times - jobs are lost and businesses are damaged when the role of public opinion is not respected. A poorly handled PR situation can damage not only your brand's reputation, but your company's bottom line.
What is a business owner with a small team or a large corporation with a stressed-out, overworked internal team to do? If you come to the realization that your brand needs more than a DIY approach, ask yourself these questions: What are my ultimate business goals? How much am I willing to spend on brand awareness and reputation management? What am I looking for in a PR partner? Every company, from startups to billion-dollar brands, deserves a PR agency that delivers and can be trusted with your message and your brand.
Need more than a DIY approach? Contact us and we'll reach out to schedule a free PR strategy session with a messaging expert on our team.