DIY vs. Hiring a Professional: Ye Olde Debate, Revisited

“Where to invest?”

A recent NY Times post asked that, a small business owner debating Google ads or maybe DIY social media for their marketing dollar investment. My response: invest in Help, Professional Help. Sigh.. here I go again.

Rewiring your house. Fixing your transmission. A decent hair cut. Taxes. We hire pros to do so many things for ourselves and our businesses. So many things we wouldn’t even consider doing on our own.

DIY Communications? With professional results?

  • Do we think, because we’ve seen SuperBowl ads, that we understand the complexities of marketing and advertising, branding and media buying?
  • Because we’ve got PowerPoint, that we’re graphic designers who can develop ads and websites? [deletes profanity laced Clients From Hell tirade]
  • A keyboard, Google and a reporter’s email address does not a publicist make; certainly not when your pitch is ‘We have a store. And sell stuff.’ To the healthcare writer.
  • Skipping a ‘have Twitter and a feedbot, instant social media guru’ joke.

ExpensiveAdairDIY or Go Pro

So much to consider when deciding when to hire a public relations pro, an agency or consultant.

For many small businesses the Director of HR is also the head of the company; the MarComm team is also the minds behind the software, the gadget, the service. Sometimes they’re not always good storytellers or don’t have the branding eye. Often it’s a case of time vs. money, not knowing costing more.

DIY: You save money.

Pro: Really? To do it – anything – right, you will spend a lot of time and energy learning how. Then doing the work itself. Time is money.

DIY: You do it your way.

Pro: That could work – if it’s the right way. If it’s the wrong way, you’ll waste a lot of time (and more money) on the wrong things. If you can’t afford to get it right the first time, how will you afford to do it over? Or hire someone to fix it?

DIY: You do what you want.

Pro: What you want may not be what you need; a pro will tell you.

DIY: You’ll spend less money.

Pro: Actually professionals work very hard to save clients money, are good at getting them more bang for their buck.

DIY: You can’t pay someone.

Pro: You already are! What there’s no one – on salary, drawing benefits – responsible for HR, PR, CRM, IR, MR and a million other things? How much of your job is doing all these other jobs?

DIY at your own risk

Communications is everything in my opinion. It’s connective, it’s productive, it’s as close to a silver bullet you’ll ever find. I’m still writing that post, but the gist is that if you’re business isn’t communicating, then you’re not doing business.

Sometimes businesses need ideas and advice, guidance and training; other times they just need to get things done. It’s why I’ve learned Adobe CS and WordPress, how to research and write, constantly learn more about PR and social media strategy – so they don’t have to.

DIY: You can’t afford a professional.

ME: Can you afford NOT to?

Results requires more than an amateur effort; it takes a professional, even if it’s not me. What’s your experience? Do the Pros really know?

Want More? Keep Reading.

4 thoughts on “DIY vs. Hiring a Professional: Ye Olde Debate, Revisited

  1. This debate will never die. And what really makes things worse is when DIY think and insist they’re doing things right. Good stuff, this article of yours.

    1. You’re right on both counts Leo. One of my worsts is when I see a small biz wasting big salaries on people not doing it right, who then plan to outsource it on the cheap, mix w/ bad DIY .. all instead of getting a professional in the first place. *le sigh*

    1. If I had a dollar for every time I thought that Jack, I’d be singing a different tune. Off key. 😉 No seriously, sometimes it does work and other times.. they just don’t know what they don’t know, or don’t care. They settle for less, for junk, for some $12/hour hack off of Craigslist. They want to ‘invest’ in an ad or email blitz, but not give 5 wits for a plan, never you mind the smarts it takes to make one.

      Here’s an example: something as ‘simple’ as an iStock photo search. DIYer says they spent hours and searching, still didn’t find what they wanted – and has renewed respect for that skill. Then is more impressed I found better, more on message images. FWIW I did so in less time b/c I’m a professional. Sigh.

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