In a recent blog entry on the Manchester PR scene I commented that there was more choice for prospective clients than ever before – a fact noticed by another Manchester PR agency blog.
A quick Google search will reveal many PR micro agencies and freelancers in Manchester and the North West – would this have been the case in a similar search 5 or 10 years ago? Probably not to anywhere like the same extent.
It is a pattern that I am sure is being replicated across the UK and perhaps in other countries.
Some companies are open to considering smaller agencies, but I suspect many companies new to PR go to larger agencies as they only know a couple of names in the industry.
It is about fit in terms of of skills, experience, motivation, personality when selecting a PR supplier. And of course a blue chip concern would be better paired up with a bigger agency for a range of reasons that I will not go into right now.
But if an SME considers a PR freelancer or micro agency, what can they offer? Here area few points to note:
- Many PR freelancers and micro agencies can offer specialised knowledge picked up from agency or in-house experience
- Following on, there are PR freelancers that are experts in their fields and can offer a comprehensive service – I work with a financial PR whose knowledge would put many PRs to shame – it is a body of knowledge that has and is being used by banks and venture capitalists.
- Highly personalised service – you get who you pay for and not an account exec rather than the director who pitched and signed the contract with you
- Increased importance- if a big agency loses an account it might loose an employee (it might not though) but for smaller agencies each client is more of the income pie and so the loss will be felt more acutely. Hence many smaller PR agencies deliver.
Now there are good and bad in all professions, I hear horror stories about bigger agencies and I am sure that extends to smaller and micro agencies. (There are plenty of success stories from all types of agencies, it is far from being all bad news!) Some PR suppliers will be a great fit for one company and others will not. So it is best to select a PR agency/ PR freelancer on a range of criteria and an open mind, and that includes PR freelancers, smaller and larger PR companies.