IABC’s January CW Magazine includes an article called “In, Out or Somewhere In Between” by Peter Eschbach (IABC login required to view this), in which he discusses how to structure a communications department. He says:

“When considering possible staffing models for structuring your corporate communication function, your choices typically range from the extremes of establishing an all in-house staff to totally outsourcing the function by enlisting the services of a PR agency (or agencies) to do it all for you.”

I read on, expecting to see in the “in between” area mention of the possibility of hiring a freelance writer to help out as needed. Some of my clients do this, hiring me to write a couple of articles for the current newsletter to help out their overworked in-house staff. Nope, Mr. Eschbach doesn’t raise this as an option. Reading to the end of the article, it becomes clear why: he’s a senior VP at Porter Novelli, one of the agencies his article so heavily promotes.

Another small annoyance I had with the article: He twice uses the awkward and unusual word “collocated” when the simpler “located” would have been perfectly fine. And wouldn’t you say the “extremes” of an all in-house staff might more accurately be called the “norm”? It’s the total outsourcing to a PR agency (and why PR, when it’s your communications function?) that’s an extreme.