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How To Get Good PR Without the Big Retainers
As marketing budgets are shrinking, companies are pinching pennies and seeking a more quantifiable return on their PR investment. Here's how it can be achieved!
By: Marsha Friedman
It’s called Pay-For-Performance PR. There are only a handful of agencies that operate on this fee basis amongst the tens of thousands of PR firms throughout the entire U.S. Most of them offer the same service, if not better, than the big retainer-based agencies, but at a fraction of the cost. They’re driven to perform because they only get paid for what they deliver while retainer-based agencies charge for their time and their overhead, but are not accountable for results. If they get media placements, that’s great, but if they don’t, you’re still left holding the tab.
Here’s how it works. When a company engages a retainer-based agency, they are charged a flat monthly fee based on the number of hours they estimate they need to work in order to get the job done. $10,000 a month is an average fee, but it can go as high as $20,000 or even $30,000 a month.
Once the retainer is established, the money is divvied up amongst the team in billable hours, much the same way a law firm or accounting firm handles its business. The executive who brought in the business bills for “managing”
The rest of the retainer is split up among a few junior associates who do the writing, the pitching, the calling and the tracking. The staff assistants get into the action by billing $75 per hour for activities such as phoning, faxing and organizing documents. They may even charge to create the client’s bill at the end of the month, compiling out of pocket expenses like shipping together with the hourly billing as tracked by the team members. The top executive massages the numbers so they fit the retainer, and it then takes the assistant as long as two hours to compile the bill. A retainer-based agency may charge clients as much as $125 per month just to assemble their bill.
This is a huge difference with how Pay-for-performance PR works. Most firms that operate in this manner set a simple fee for each media placement the firm obtains and the client signs up for a campaign with a specific budget in place. Then, one by one, the placements are made, confirmed and executed and the client is billed weekly or monthly against their agreed-upon budget. The campaign never goes over budget, and every client dollar is counted against a real media placement rather than for “best efforts.”
As marketing budgets are shrinking, companies are pinching pennies and seeking a more quantifiable return on their PR investment. Pay-for-
For 20 years Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on public relations and is the CEO of national pay for performance, no retainer, public relations firm EMS Incorporated. Go to http://www.emsincorporated.com to claim your free "Power of Public Relations" video and Ebook now!
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EMS Incorporated is a national public relations advertising service a wide array of clients from a vast array of industries. For nearly 20 years the firm has been delivering top notch television, talk radio, newspaper and magazine campaigns.