September 15, 2017
I was asked to write a blog post comparing and contrasting what it’s like for public relations executives to work at a PR/marketing agency vs. working in-house. I think I was chosen for this task because I’ve divided my career pretty evenly between the two and my PR colleagues assumed I had some sage advice on how to select one over the other. Spoiler alert: I don’t. A quick Googling of the topic will result in every pro and con you could imagine, and I don’t think I could add much more to the mix. What I can do, however, is share what I have felt to be the most impactful pros and cons of each, which could help others to decide which is the right path for them.
Biggest pro: You are “on the inside”
At Aria Marketing, when we secure a great piece of coverage for one of our clients, we get pretty excited. High fives all around for a job well done. But, that excitement doesn’t compare to the thrill experienced by the employees who actually work for that publicized company. Seeing your organization profiled or your CEO interviewed in the press boosts morale and camaraderie and there’s a true and deep feeling of accomplishment shared by all.
Biggest con: You are the lone wolf of PR
Even though you all work for the same company, you are an army of one (or maybe a couple) when it comes to your job function. From high-level communications strategy, to pitching the media, to monitoring for coverage and sharing media clips, you are doing it all. Beyond the expansive job description, it can be frustrating that none of your colleagues truly understand the full scope of what you do, and there are limited opportunities for collaboration.
Biggest pro: You are member of the pack
When you work at an agency, you don’t have to do it all. There is a structure in place that allows for more focused roles and specialization. Beyond that, there’s a lot to be said for being surrounded by a team that knows exactly what you do. They are there to help brainstorm, lend a last-minute hand or an ear for venting.
Biggest con: You can’t dive as deeply as you’d like
Managing multiple clients creates a unique challenge for the PR pro. It forces you to walk the line between learning as much as you can about each client to do your job well and immersing yourself too deeply in the weeds. This is difficult for anyone, but especially for those with an innate curiosity who want to learn all there is to know about a particular subject.
To reiterate, these are only the biggest pros and cons in my opinion. I’m sure other factors like salary, predictability or opportunities for promotion rank higher on others’ lists. What about for you? Do you work at an agency or in-house, and why? Reach out to Aria Marketing on social media and let us know!