PR Agency > PR Department?

There’s always discussion on which area would be better to dive into when first beginning in a Public Relations career. After reading and research (what PR pro’s do anyways, so that’s a good start), I have found some varying opinions, pros and cons to each.

PR pieces

PR pieces

The Advantages of Agency/Firm PR roles:

  • Without a doubt, working within an agency is a more dynamic and pressurized environment than in-house. This can facilitate a speedy learning curve because of the exposure to different responsibilities you are given and the trust/faith that is placed in your hands and in your skills.
  • It is much easier to get an in-house role with an agency background than the other way around. The former is the more common path. The simple reason is that if you have proved yourself in the furnace of agency life, you should definitely be able to make it in the less mentally and emotionally draining/demanding world of in-house PR.
  • You’re exposed to different fields and industries where in-house PR could not offer, as well as a diverse workload.
  • Increased opportunities for advancement.

For the complete list of reasons why agencies fly with advantages, check out Craig Pearce’s blog!

On the flip side, here are some Disadvantages of working in a PR Agency/Firm:

  • Agency life can be a recipe for burnout. Working multiple clients does indeed provide a range of experiences, but at the same time, each client wants everything for free, 100% attention.
  • Time-wise agency work can be demanding.
  • Reporters and media pros also have a tendency to think of agency PR people as suspicious.

Since we have discussed the pros and cons to working within a PR Firm/Agency, here are both sides to In-house PR Departments.

Big Enough

Big Enough

Advantages of In-house PR:

  • In-house gigs generally have good salaries and benefits.
  • Provides opportunity to work with a group of professionals who specialize in a particular PR or strategic communications area.

Disadvantages of In-house PR:

  • depending on the company size, there may be procedures that tend to result in a long, intricate approval process for PR projects.
  • In small corporations, there is not much opportunity for advancement.

To see a full list, explanation, and interviews pertaining the pros and cons for each, check out this article and website that offers great insight: Dear Gracie and PR Newswire.

Make any more sense in what you’re looking for? If you like structure, predictability and specialization, working in-house is a good option. On the other hand, if variety, flexibility and developing an extensive skill set seems more valuable, then the agency is the way to go.

Well despite what the lists say, ultimately it’s based on the individual at hand. What suits you the best? It’s your career anyways!


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