You’re probably reading this because you asked yourself, why do I need to hire a PR firm? In a world of omnipresent media and constant digital interactions, business owners can find it difficult to justify a regular public relations budget.

The accessibility of social media, easy-to-build websites and channels like YouTube has led some business owners to believe that anyone who knows how to turn on a computer can take over the company’s PR efforts. While anyone can make a social media page and start posting, building good PR is a full-time job. Here are three reasons to consider hiring a professional PR team.

1. Planning

Effective public relations require careful and strategic planning. Consider the difference between taking the family on a Sunday afternoon walk in a park and climbing Everest. One requires almost no preparation, and the other involves a team of professionals to help you scale the mountain. The same is true of public relations. Building a brand, a loyal social media following, or cultivating effective search engine optimization takes time, planning, and endurance.

I once spoke with a man whose online presence earned him an international following and business from around the globe. He had been cultivating his carefully constructed online presence for nine years!

2. Placement

Public relations professionals strategically select the right mediums to deliver the carefully constructed messages that best convey your business to your target audience.  A company should never just make a Facebook page and call it quits. Consider all of the communications mediums available today. PR professionals are trained to evaluate your business’s individual needs and audiences and distribute messages across the right mediums. A local coffee shop might benefit from a thriving social media community while a local mechanic would be better served by a strategically placed billboard. The role of PR professionals is to know your business, your audience, and how to reach them.

3. Relationships

Real relationships are more critical to your business now than they ever have been before. Why? Because consumers have options! The days of one-way advertising are over. Consumers have the greatest fact-finding tool in history in their pocket, and they will use it against you. Have you ever been searching for a restaurant and been deterred because of a bad Yelp review, or decided to boycott a company because of their political leanings? When it comes down to the buying decision, what will distinguish your business from another? Relationship. Reputation. Good PR.