How to Start your Own PR Firm

Despite being such a large and lucrative industry, PR carries remarkably few barriers to entry. Provided you’ve some experience, a laptop, some broadband and a working telephone, it’s possible to set up shop and get your own PR firm up and running.

In fact there’s a myriad of three, two and even one-man firms out there, capable of running perfectly successful campaigns, to rival even some of the big boys…actually probably girls given the demographics of the PR industry.

A case in point. A previous boss of mine created her own PR firm off the back of a $2000 overdraft close to 15 years ago, with nothing but a few years’ experience in the industry and a few journalists in her rolodex. Move on to 2012 and she now employs an office of 10 people, turning over around $1,000,000 a year. Not bad, eh.

If you’re amongst those with aspirations of going it alone and setting up a PR firm to call your own, here’s some tips and things to bear in mind….

Consider specializing

You can’t be a PR guru for everyone and everything straight from the outset, so consider specializing in a certain area.

Consider your expertise, experience and interests. If you’re a sport aficionado, carrying experience and expertise in this area, consider specializing there. The same goes for your media focus, be that print, digital or broadcast as well as for the services you want to provide. Keep in mind the mantra ‘stick to what you’re good at and you won’t go far wrong.’

Develop a USP

Interlinked to specialising your firm, it’s important to develop a USP.

Whilst the PR industry can carry fewer barriers to entry, at the same time it’s extremely competitive. There’s an abundance of PR firms out there, thus making it tough to grab clients. Focus your energies on delivering something that other agencies or consultants can’t, and market this to your clients accordingly. This will differentiate your firm from competitors.

Don’t forget to do your own PR

In the midst of focusing on everyone else’s PR, don’t forget to do your own. Particularly in the early days.

What with nearly everything and anything online nowadays, you’re going to need a website. Ensure this is slick, professional and aesthetically pleasing, communicating your firm’s qualities, and use the social media platforms to promote this. Elsewhere, network whenever and wherever you can, and ensure your firm is listed in the business and PR directories. Used in combination, these methods should get your firm making an impact.

Embrace Software

Software can prove a useful asset in a range of ways, increasing efficiency and reducing rigmarole in certain areas.

Cision is a vital asset for many PR firms, providing a multifaceted platform for relationship building with journalists and initiating media coverage of your clients. Project management systems like Basecamp meanwhile help on an organizational front, whilst online accounting services, provide a relatively simple of updating, keeping track and managing your firm’s finances. Increasing efficiency in areas such as these, you’ll be left with more time to establish and grow your business.

Lastly, be aware of the legalities

Running your own business involves a lot of administration, demanding rigmarole that can lead to penalties if you miss deadlines.

With this in mind, ensure that you’re up to speed on the wealth of statutory obligations that a small business can face. They may be unrepentantly dull, but if you don’t step in line, you’ll end up with bad PR for yourself.

Keep some of these tips in mind and your burgeoning PR firm will be in good shape. Give it 15 years or so years, maybe even less, and you too might be turning over $1,000,000 dollars a year.

This is a guest post by Mark James for Crunch, a leading online accountancy firm based in the UK.

Photo by Roadsidepictures.


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