09 May What should you pay for PR?
I hear those who commented on last week’s post on reasons NOT to do your own PR – it CAN be really expensive to hire a PR person. If you’re not living in NYC or LA (or even if you are) you’ll find there are some really affordable agencies and freelancers that could make all the difference for your business. Before you pooh pooh the idea of hiring a PR professional, let’s look at what your costs might be.
- Most PR retainers are not “thousands of dollars a month”- It’s true that an agency like Edelman or Weber-Shandwick may be several thousand a month but there are many, many freelance publicists and communications consultants out there that will work for project fees or retainers. Of course, the bigger the market the higher the ticket price but in many cases a PR consultant is more affordable than you may think.
- Communications consultants work on retainer, by the project and even hourly – You can often hire a PR person for a project fee and it can be quite reasonable. Events, books and other shorter duration gigs are often billed on a project basis.
- You can work with your partners to hire PR collectively or better yet, tap into their PR capability – Most people don’t know that you can work together with a business partner, event sponsor or other organization connected in some way to yours to get PR exposure. Do you own a retail location? Maybe one of the brands you carry would like to sponsor an event at your store. Is there a non-profit that seems to get a lot of attention in your area? Perhaps you can provide your expertise to them in exchange for inclusion in the release or communications materials.
- You can buy individual components of PR – A great thing about the Internet is that you can find service providers to do just about anything in the communications space. Check out Elance where you’ll find inexpensive resources with references and even a star rating system. Need a press release written and sent? There are tons of service providers out there…I’ve heard this guy is pretty good but I don’t know anything about his distribution skills. And a side note – just because someone has a lot of Facebook or Twitter followers, that isn’t a measure of their skills. Nor is the fact that they used to be a journalist.
The point is, you can find and hire the right expertise in your budget if you’re creative. Ask your favorite marketing folks who they like to use. Call your local PRSA or communications association and they’ll recommend qualified folks. If they’re good, you’ll learn enough in the first meeting to make it worthwhile. If you need more information on how to decide if a PR person is right for you, check out my post on the topic.