Ask the PRincipal: What Does PR Cost?

How much does public relations cost?

Dear PRincipal,

I understand the value of public relations, I really do. I know that there is great value for my clients as well as my investors if a third-party member of the media mentions us. That being said, I’m not really sure what PR costs. Can you help?

Yours truly,

Bootstrap the CEO

cost of PR

Dearest Bootstrap,

First let me say, I completely empathize with your situation. Press Pillay is also a bootstrapped startup, so we make sure that every cent we spend adds value to our brand and culture.

That being said, public relations, like many services, ranges in cost. In theory, you can outsource your PR to an offshore consultant for $50 a month,  or you can also have one of the large agencies on retainer for $20,000 a month. That’s a large range, I know.

Along with this, however, I need you to know that you really get what you pay for in this industry.

Usually, freelancers don’t have access to the PR software that agencies have. So while yes, a freelancer may be able to write you a press release and distribute it on a newswire, it’s unlikely you’ll get a lot of coverage.

Most boutique agencies will charge you $3,000-$10,000 a month. Of course, I’m biased, but I really do think that this is your best bet. Having an agency on retainer ensures a continuous, yearlong strategy that guarantees you and your brand are always getting the attention you deserve. In addition to having the software, these agencies usually have strong connections to journalists and influencers so getting you coverage may just be a call away.

If this seems like a lot, consider doing your PR on a per-campaign basis. You’re still looking at at least $5,000 per campaign, but this will be a one-time fee. I caution you, however, that à la carte PR campaigns will not get the year-round coverage you may crave.

Last but not least, I have to address the giant agencies that charge $20,000+ per campaign—I mean hey, if you could charge that much, why wouldn’t you? Large agencies have decades of experience and almost unlimited resources. Those combined with their big names are hard to ignore. However, because of the structure and history of large agencies, you may find that they’re out-of-touch with the most current trends and your experience isn’t as personal as it could be.

Ultimately, it’s up to you. As a founder, it’s important to determine your needs and of course, what you can afford. Whatever you choose, know that PR isn’t cheap, so always keep PR in mind when doing your financials.

Got a PR question for our PRincipal (and fearless founder) Nesh Pillay? Tweet us @PressPillay!  

Read more: How do I get my brand placed in the Huffington Post, The New York Times, or Forbes?