Choose Your Own Adventure: In-House vs. Agency Public Relations
As I continue to explore a career in public relations, one of the biggest questions I face is this perplexing duel between working in-house or at an agency. I turned to different sources like PR Week and PR Daily, professors and my textbooks to get a better understanding of what the ultimate differences are between the two. From my research, I found about some main key distinctions that I will share in this week's blog.
The most obvious and impactful one is this concept of "breadth vs. depth". Agencies constantly have new clients coming in and out from all sorts of industries. Soon you begin to learn how to quickly adapt in almost any field. While at the corporate in-house level, you become so well-versed in your company's industry that it becomes your niche and area of expertise. One must ask themselves: would you rather go an inch wide and a hundred inches deep or a hundred inches wide and an inch deep?
The next distinction was probably the most significant to me as an aspiring public relations practitioners coming out of college. A common trend I had seen when it came to deciding between in-house and agency was the opportunity for professional development. I read that many found climbing up the corporate ladder a great feat for junior entry-level hires who wanted to grow within their company. On the other hand, at agency the opportunity to move both horizontally as far as trying out different types of clients, but also vertically as far as supervising account directors seemed more feasible to the young professionals.
So while I have always defaulted to working in-house for an organization I admire or one within a field I hope to immerse myself in, I began to reconsider my options and see a bit more the benefits that could come with trying out agency life for my first couple years as a "fresh-out-of-college" professional.