Currently the majority of the PR desk’s clients at Media Contacts are agencies rather than in-house PR departments. Here is the low down of the pros and cons of working for an agency rather than in-house PR, so you can decide which type of career would suit you best.
Working for an agency gives you access to far greater variety than you would have if you worked in-house; different clients, across different sectors and brands, and working with a team of other PR professionals eager to share their knowledge and expertise with you.
You will also have access to a whole legion of industry experts and media contacts within a PR agency that you might not in-house; building these contacts will stand you in good stead whichever direction you decide to go in later.
Another benefit you may find in a PR agency is that you are more likely to be right on top of the latest industry trends and movements, with access to cutting edge resources e.g., creative teams and digital gurus that some in-house PR staff can only aspire to. After all, the expertise, innovative techniques, creative solutions and guidance a PR agency can offer its clients is one of the main reasons they pay them.
Whilst working in an agency gives greater variety and experience, it is often said that to truly immerse yourself in the brands, the culture and the industry sector you need to be in-house. Plus, when you are the in-house brand champion you get to be the client so can offload the bits of the work you don’t enjoy so much to your chosen agency.
It’s a bit of a myth that work-life balance and pay are better in-house – inhouse teams are usually so lean these days that employees take it in turns to be on call 24/7 and are often required to travel or attend important press briefings and crisis meetings at the drop of a hat. Sometimes pay is better, certainly for some of the really successful conglomerates, but just as often it is on a par or lower than that in agencies.
In short, there are plenty of exceptions that prove the rules and the best thing to do is to take each job and company on a case by case basis. Ideally talk to a PR consultant who knows the industry and can give you a clearer idea of what difference companies and agencies are like to work for.