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“PR is not rocket science”

Here we go again with another way to save money in tough economic times/the GFC/the current climate. Bear with me. The latest PR cost-cutting initiative comes from agency Handle Communications, which has set up the website Handle Your Own PR. It’s designed to help cash-strapped small businesses do their own PR by buying media contact lists and press release writing tips.

Now judging by my last blog on guaranteed press coverage or your PR for free, I’m interested to hear your views on this latest idea. Does it devalue the services of a PR agency? Because if you can still achieve results by doing it yourself (with a little paid-for help), why would you pay a professional significantly more to do the whole job for you?

Simone Heydon and Jules Brooke, who’ve been running Handle Communications for six years, say the website’s been created to allow small and home-based businesses to do PR themselves.

“PR is not rocket science,” says Jules. “You need a strong media release, some great media contacts and the time to dedicate to your campaign.”

The site explains what PR is, how to go about setting up a campaign and media release writing tips. It sells a variety of media contact lists and a media release writing service. It also tells you what to gather before you start (“gorgeous photography and media samples”), how to approach the media and what not to do (“don’t call the editor too many times—no one likes a stalker!”). I agree with them on the last point, that’s for sure!

I’m not sure whether this approach devalues PR or if it provides those who can’t afford to engage an agency with something between giving it a go with no knowledge and paying a PR to do the job for you. Isn’t something better than nothing? As the Handle team says: “The Handle Your Own PR offering is a little like cutting your own child’s hair; you know the professional hairdresser will do a better job, but sometimes you just can’t afford to use them and sometimes you want to have a go yourself!”

What do you think?