Great PR is the most cost-effective form of marketing on the planet.
But that doesn’t mean it comes cheap.
Building an authentic brand that appeals to consumers and has a media profile to be proud of requires an investment of both time and cash. Yet there remains something of a mystery out there about how much businesses should be paying for PR services. So we thought we’d take a look here on the blog at what PR services are worth and how much firms can expect to pay for PR.
The first question to ask is how important is your company or organisation’s reputation? If your business is still in the start-up phase it may not even have a reputation yet. The question then might be how much would it be worth if we had a serious reputation to challenge the leaders in our field? A look at the value of your market and how much revenue the big players are making may help enlighten you some way towards putting a valuation on your business’ reputation. What would you be willing to pay to be regarded as a credible player in your industry? One of the market leaders or at least an up-and-coming challenger brand?
Think also about the damage to your business that can come through a poor reputation. Negative media coverage, nasty online reviews and even poor word of mouth can severely impact a company to the point that it can be difficult to come back from. A newly launched business that started out as a wonderful dream come true can quickly turn into the stuff of nightmares.
With these considerations in mind all the major businesses that I know of make some level of investment in their own PR and reputation management as do thousands of small businesses and start-ups. In fact PR is probably the best way for start-ups to make an impact and get themselves noticed.
But how much does it cost? At Motive we have been in business since 2008 but we are still amazed at the misconceptions people have about the cost of PR. We still get calls from people expecting to be able to hire us for fifty quid and we also get enquiries from others who say they probably can’t afford us because they only have £50,000 a year to invest. So which one of these disparate figures is more accurate?
There are some agencies who attempt to bill on the impact of their work. In other words, if our PR helps you to sell £2m worth of product then we will take a significant cut. But billing this way can be complicated and difficult to predict with any level of confidence.
Time = money
The truth is that most agencies, us included, still sell their services based on how much time it’s going to take to deliver them. That makes them difficult to cost because no two projects are the same and no two clients have the same starting point. But to deliver meaningful results it’s going to generally take at least a couple of days of agency time each month. If your goals are higher and (like many of our clients) you want to see multiple items of weekly or even daily coverage in the UK national media along with hundreds of backlinks every month, then you will probably need to invest more cash to drive the campaign and make those results happen. The good news is it is worth it – media links can transform a website’s SEO rankings and push it to the top of search results making rapid growth and profitability a reality rather than merely the founder’s impossible dream.
Cold hard cash
So what does this actually mean in terms of cold hard cash? Well it really is difficult to put a price on the investment level required but if you equate it to the salary of a newly hired junior team member in most sectors of business you’d probably be about right.
What this means effectively is that companies have a choice. They can either hire a junior to work in-house full time on building and safeguarding their firm’s reputation through online media coverage or they can out-source it to a professional agency such as Motive (or one of the many other great digital PR agencies around the UK).
The advantage of hiring the junior is that they can work at it 40 hours a week to the exclusion of everything else and they are immersed in the company and its culture. But in a way that’s also a disadvantage. We find many in-house PR people are too close to the business and often can’t see the wood for the trees. What I mean by this is they lose sight of what actually is going to appeal to the media about their employer and instead fall into the trap of issuing news items which only people inside the business care about (there’s a place for such items on the company’s blog or internal newsletter, but they are wasting their time pitching them out to media).
Outsourcing the PR function to an agency will cost about the same, and you can click here to read about other benefits of doing so. The agency won’t be working round the clock on the account to the exclusion of everything else (unless you’re paying serious dosh) but they will be working round the clock on media campaigns and therefore they will have a far better handle on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to winning results and those all-important media backlinks. They will also have far more experience and massively better media contacts than the in-house junior.
I hope this blog has helped you if you were wondering how much it costs to hire an award-winning digital PR agency like Motive. As always I am happy to chat potential projects through with anyone if they’d like to drop us a call or an email. However, if your budget really is fifty quid you might want to hold fire for now.
© MOTIVE 2020