When I pitch for new business, presenting myself as a freelance IT PR, sometimes I’ll find myself up against a mid-sized, maybe large tech PR agency. The client has likely done their homework, gained recommendations for each of us and now seeks to judge for themselves.
Once upon a time, the marketing chief of a tech company would automatically invite only agencies to pitch. Indeed ten years ago, skilled freelance PRs were few. But times have changed. Many skilled PR people have chosen to launch themselves as freelance PR consultants. Some do it for the freedom, others perhaps to escape arduous city commutes into work.
Me? Back in 2002 as IT PR practice director of a 36 person agency, I just knew I’d be happier getting back to working with clients and journalists again – planning a PR campaign, writing content, pitching to the press and scooping coverage! It’s what I’ve always been good at.
I’m not alone in choosing freelance life over an agency career. According to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of self-employed marketing professionals in the UK has more than doubled since 2011 and the number of public relations professionals now sits at around 9,000 (having previously been too low a figure to report on). That’s now around 18 per cent of the PR workforce; a skilled resource that organisations can call upon instead of automatically engaging an agency.
I’m not saying you should always hire a freelancer over an agency. But most smaller and medium-sized IT firms could do well to include an experienced freelance IT PR consultant in their short list. Here are six reasons why:-
Not all freelance PR consultants have what it takes to be right for you. Search on LinkedIn, check out their backgrounds and especially their references. Today, the best PR folk are often freelance.