When thinking about your services, product, or book, do you think of marketing as a cost of doing business or is it something you can have your neighbor’s teenager tackle when they’re done with their video games?

If you haven’t put much thought into a small business marketing or PR budget, you need to turn on your thinking cap. Although you can do your own PR and marketing, there are times when you need a professional’s help in order to have a polished result. That is why making a list of PR and marketing activities and deciding which tasks you can do and which ones require a vendor will help you in crafting a budget. Marketing or PR projects you may need to outsource include:

Graphic design

You may be handy with inserting images and cutting and pasting into a Word document, but there are certain things only a trained graphic designer can do, like creating multiple layout options, access to the latest design software, and the talents to use it or creating a cohesive array of branded stationery and collateral materials, are best left to the professionals.

Videos and video editing

Maybe you think your camera phone is rocking a great HD video recorder but don’t let this fool you into thinking you’re the next Spielberg. Find a videographer who knows about ambient lighting, background noise and getting the right angles to do a corporate video or image piece for the website. It will look much sleeker than anything your nextdoor neighbor can do on the cheap!

PR outside your local area

You may know everyone and their grandmother in the town where you live, but venture further out or nationally and you may hear crickets when you call to pitch your latest story idea. Time to consider a firm that handles national or international PR. They have the resources to get things done and they already know who to call. You could waste precious time building a relationship with media over months or even years before seeing any results outside your area.

These are just a few of the activities you might need to spend money completing. So take stock of your marketing and PR needs, and then complete which ones you can reasonably do and which ones need a professional. From there, build your budget and determine what is necessary and what is on your wish list.

Creating a budget helps you to understand your resources, what is important and how much it is worth to you!