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Freelance PR Consultant or PR Agency?

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What is the difference between a freelance PR consultant and a PR agency? Ultimately, I believe it concerns loyalty and results.

The most obvious difference between the freelance consultant and the PR agency is the size of the operation. A freelance PR consultant is usually a specialist who works on their own. A PR agency tends to be a partnership or a small company. Usually the agency has smart offices and a corporate set-up with support staff. This puts the agency in a different league of costs to the freelancer.

Besides this, there is less difference between a PR agency and a freelance consultant than there was in the past. It is now relatively easy to set up a virtual PR agency and operate from a remote office. As they say in the technology world, work is now ‘something you do’, not ‘a place where you go’. Also, most freelancers have networks of contacts who they can call on to join in a project if needed.

Working with a PR agency

A PR agency can undertake a much larger remit than a freelancer, so if you require a large scale campaign and high profile press events, you will need an agency. But a PR agency has some drawbacks. The agency will have consultants and staff at all levels of their careers. Generally the more experienced consultants talk to their clients and the junior account executives carry out the work in the office. If you are an agency client, your work will probably be done by the junior members of the team. In particular, they will be doing the routine work of contacting journalists. Your project will be part of their early career development, and experienced editors do sometimes moan about the calls they receive from agency juniors.

Working with a freelance PR

If you work with a freelancer, they will carry out the editor liaison in person. There is less chance that your message will be misunderstood, as you will have briefed your PR consultant yourself. You can be more certain that your business will be represented the way you hoped. This can be important if you are selling complex technology products and services.

Fees are different too. A freelance PR consultant is more likely to agree to a flexible fee arrangement that will fit with your budgets.

How a freelance PR consultant works

I believe that the real difference between an agency and a freelancer lies in loyalty and commitment to goals. With the PR agency model, account managers have to bill their clients a certain amount at the end of the month. The agency doesn’t want to expend too much resource and effort to deliver the services agreed. This account manager’s first loyalty is therefore to the agency, and they will always act in the  interests of the agency.

A freelancer looks at the situation differently. A freelance PR consultant doesn’t have to report to management in the same way, so their loyalty is directly to their client. They are therefore likely to have a greater personal commitment to their client’s business, and they will be 100% focused on achieving success for their client.

Your freelance PR consultant will probably not have a long term contract. This means that he or she will work as hard as they can to achieve great results, as they want to build a lasting relationship.

Finally, to succeed as a freelance PR consultant, it’s paramount to have a great portfolio of published work. That’s another reason why all PR people give their very best to every client project.

If you are interested in working with a freelance PR consultant who knows technology markets, you can contact me at

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