If you think PR is expensive, try anonymity.
can’t I do it myself? Or get Vinnie in the mailroom to do it?
Effective PR requires: finding the messages and positioning that supports a client’s goals against a competitor’s; prioritizing objectives; creating the media strategy; determining the best media outlets; researching/writing mediagenic releases, pitches and case histories and preparing spokespeople for interviews…while monitoring the media for positive or negative trends or opportunities to either avoid, manage or exploit. Now do you, or Vinnie, want to do this for the first time plus the regular job with your company’s image on the line?
How do PR contracts work?
Contracts are paid on a retainer basis and negotiated based on minimum/maximum hours each month. Expenses such as long distance calls, faxes, business travel and other standard out of pocket expenses are additional.
Why can’t I pay by the clip? Why a retainer?
Assigned, written or produced stories get bumped by breaking news or by a management change. Sometimes the stories appear weeks or months after the campaign’s conclusion. There is too much outside anyone’s control to make billing by the clip practical or even manageable, while billing by the hour is an easily measureable standard practice in the industry and across many professions. Your retainer purchases specific services at rates far lower, with far less overhead, than what PR firms charge. The retainer rate also reflects the knowledge, news judgment, access, talent, and technical ability that comes from years of experience. PR ability is not a commodity. Lower rates from less seasoned practitioners may seem attractive - as long as you don’t mind paying for the extra time for their learning curve, including mistakes and missteps at the expense of your company, CEO or product.
What can I expect to pay for media relations and what results can I expect?
The Wall Street Journal can guarantee that a single two-inch-square black and white display ad will appear in its national edition. The ad will say whatever you want. It will have the all the credibility of some faceless copywriter, not a bylined reporter. It will be one ad among many. Readers will have no reason to read it or believe it. But it will appear exactly when you want and exactly how you want. Once. That certainty costs about $5,500, not including production.
The same amount of money buys a calculated risk: you buy dozens of hours of strategy and effort to contact many media outlets with strategic pitches about your company for news and feature stories written by reporters. It’s a moderate risk, high gain proposition in which many messages about your company may appear in many media outlets in a form that is highly credible and compelling to a target audience.
Can you guarantee that my story will appear in a specific media outlet?
Reporters see dozens of pitches
daily but they must please their editors, not their PR contacts. Breaking
news, staff changes, or recent coverage of similar topics can move the
goalposts constantly. That’s why upfront time spent on strategy
and messages is so vital: so that clients can have a variety of options
to have their stories told. And that’s why its smart to hire someone
with the experience, judgment, creativity and tools to find and create
the pitches that will appeal to the right media at the right time.
Copyright 2003 © Paralease Systems
Virginia at Virginiarandall dot com