Agency Versus In-House

by Vickie Henry

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Junior account executive at Scottish PR agency Holyrood Partnership

Upon graduating from Glasgow University with a History degree in the summer of 2013, it was time for me to really think about my next career move. I knew that experience was key, which is why I travelled to London to carry out two PR internships.

Having a keen interest in fashion, I used this opportunity to work with the PR teams of various fashion houses, giving me a fantastic insight into how in-house PR works.

However when I returned to Scotland, I really wanted to work for a dynamic PR agency in Edinburgh and find out about life at an agency. Since landing a job at Holyrood Partnership I haven’t looked back.

My experience with in-house PR and my subsequent move to agency PR have provided me with a chance to see how each field works and ultimately, which is better suited to me.

Differences between the two have been hotly debated but what I think is key when choosing to work in Public Relations is finding out which works best for you. The most obvious difference is who you will be working with.

Agencies usually represent and act for a whole range of clients, often from diverse sectors. As a result, coming into the office every day can be fun and exciting because of the sheer variety of the work.

On the other hand, in-house PR is all about working with the same business or organisation every day. For some, this may be too restricting but others may thrive on the opportunity to focus on a subject they are deeply and genuinely interested in.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong, it is about finding out what works best for you.

My own experience suggests it is incredibly important that when working in-house that you feel passionate about the subject matter, because the nature of your role requires you to immerse yourself completely.

While this may be heaven for some, others may thrive on the diversity that agency PR has to offer.

The stereotype that in-house is easier than agency is debatable. It’s true that agency life is often seen as demanding, as it requires the ability to juggle the interests of multiple clients who may have little in common.

However, in-house PR teams tend to be smaller and as a result, individuals can have a lot to deal with as they take on a significant number of different tasks. This means any PR pro must have excellent organisation skills. In-house PR work can also vary in that it can involve other duties such as internal communications and event and marketing planning.

The level of support between agency PR and in-house vary. Agency teams can be bigger and with that comes support from colleagues and bosses.

On the flip side, those working in-house often feel like a lone voice as their smaller teams require them to make judgement calls themselves and justify their actions to those higher up in the company.

As a result, this can often apply a lot of pressure to those in smaller in-house teams. However, this does not mean that agency work is easier or more relaxed. Agency PR requires you to find robust stories about your clients so that they can stand out against the tsunami of media releases submitted to newspapers, blogs and news sites every day.

It is worth remembering that the work involved in agency and in-house PR does overlap.

Committing yourself to a career is a huge step so it is incredibly important that you try to find something that ignites a fire within you.

Some may find the differences between the two daunting but regardless, both in-house and agency PR are incredibly rewarding. So at the end of the day it is about finding what it is that gets you out of bed in the morning – agency or in-house?

Read more blogs from Holyrood PR employees or visit our PR jobs page to find a role for you at our award winning Scottish PR agency.

Junior account executive at Scottish PR agency Holyrood Partnership

Private: Vickie Henry

Vickie Henry is a part of the expert PR team at the award-winning Holyrood Partnership, public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The PR agency works with businesses across Scotland.
As well as providing media relations, crisis communications, Holyrood Partnership also offers PR photography, affordable video for businesses, social media services and strategic content delivery for businesses.

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