I get a lot of questions about how much a business should actually invest in public relations. Is it a percentage of your overall marketing budget? What’s the difference between hiring a PR person by contract instead of in-house? What are the different line items that I should consider when building a PR budget?
In short, there is no specific answer. It depends on what your overall business goals are and how you envision PR supporting those goals. Are you trying to raise awareness, change public perception, drive business and raise profits? What’s your motivation?
What I can tell you is that you do have three main options in securing talent, as well as a basic checklist of additional vendors which you may or may not need depending on who you hire.
1) Independent contractor: Usually a senior person with many years of applied experience in a variety of settings. They can charge by the hour anywhere from $75 to up to $200 per hour. Or they can charge a flat project fee or monthly fee.
2) In-house PR Person: This person is dedicated full-time to developing and executing a PR program. A mid-level PR person expects a salary range from $55K to $75K per year plus benefits. For Fortune 500 companies, salaries can be much higher.
3) Agency: With an agency you generally pay a monthly fee and have a senior account executive overseeing your account with the support of junior PR people. They generally share strong media contacts within the entire company among many publicists. There are a number of reputable agencies which can be both locally based, or with a local office of a national or mult-national PR company. For mid-sized businesses, monthly retainers can range from $5K to $15K a month, depending on the scope of work.
Agencies generally have access to many important PR vendors including media list building services, press release distribution companies, media tracking companies, etc. For a small to medium-sized businesses, you’ll need to set aside additional budget for the distribution of your releases through one of the following services: