How To Know The Basic Difference Between PR Agencies vs. In-House

by: Mia Bonfiglio

When searching for internships or jobs in the PR field, it has become a struggle for many students to distinguish between working for an agency or an in-house firm. As the PR industry expands, you may receive the opportunity to work in one of these or even both. It is totally okay to try different experiences in agencies and in-house to discover what you like and what you don’t.

Working in either an agency or in-house includes strategizing and collaborating with members of your team. It is important to get to know your co-workers and work well together. You are all working towards the same goal and have different strengths so don’t be afraid to lean on each other and brainstorm together.

Let’s take a closer look into what each entails. 

Firms such as Edelman, Jackson Spalding and Nebo Agency are all examples of agencies. They are independent PR firms that work with businesses to reach the public. They are hired by businesses to handle how the company interacts with the public and work with a variety of different companies at one time. Jobs at agencies consist of working on public relations efforts for multiple companies in a centralized and specialized job.

There are many pros that go along with this type of PR. Agencies have more employees, allowing them to diversify their perspectives. They also have extensive contact lists and connections in the media, which may make them more credible and sought after. 

On the other hand, in-house PR is when a business has a designated department for PR. Within the company, their sole focus is on that company’s relations with the public and how they are portrayed and communicating with their target market. Jobs in in-house PR will include a variety of tasks and may not have one specific goal. They often work on multiple tasks, such as writing press releases and planning campaigns.

The main benefit of in-house PR is that their employees are within the company, so they know it best. They work closer to the company than an agency would, giving them an upper hand. Their company is their top priority – they are not working for anyone else. An example of an in-house company is Coca-Cola because they have their own communications team. 

Regardless of working for an agency or in-house, the goal remains the same – providing the best image of the company and working within one of these firms will help you to do so.

A good way to learn about the difference in these firms and learn more about what it is like to work in each is by attending PRSSA meetings. This semester, PRSSA had both an agency meeting and a corporate meeting where alumni and speakers spoke about their experiences working in an agency and their experiences working in-house. PRSSA meetings are a great way to learn more about the PR industry and gain valuable in-sight you may not receive anywhere else.