Public relations companies can do a lot for their clients.
They help clients manage their digital reputation on the internet, TV, or radio. They help foist clients' art or brand onto a large audience. They internally do market research, write press releases, expand business lists, and grow contact networks. They help create flattering content for blogs, websites, and other public outreaches.
Public relations companies can do a lot to help a client reach their full potential, and needless to say, their services aren't cheap.
On a short term basis, many PR companies charge about $100 to $300 (or even more) an hour.
If you are a client looking for a specific one-time service, many companies may just prefer to charge by the hour. This offers both parties transparency to see what was accomplished and how long it took to do it.
However, many PR companies will charge monthly retainers (flat fees) to give the customer a bit of a discount. These retainers can be from $1500 to $20,000 a month.
These retainers are also part of the long term goal of promoting you (or your brand) and less about specific results. Therefore, a client may go some months where a PR company doesn't give them anything concrete, while other months where they give a client a huge story.
There are other companies that invoice per project. They may have a low retainer, such as $250 per month plus the coverage they get ($500 for local print, $500 for radio coverage, etc.).
Our PR service waves the monthly retainer entirely (or for as little as $20 a month if you want some extra features) and allows clients to only pay for coverage they receive. We also avoid the pitfall of paying for something that you didn't get by having clients only pay for what gets published.
There is no question that PR firms aren't cheap, however, their prices are certainly justified for the amount of work that goes into managing a public relations campaign.
Normally, fees for PR firms cover the publicist's time. Given that in this line of work there is a lot of communication and cooperation between different entities, time is a very valuable resource that should be priced accordingly. Publicists often may have to work 60 hour weeks to get the proper coverage for their clients.
A good PR company or service is definitely worth that investment. Especially since without their communication skills, contacts, and reputation, you will be stuck doing the pitching yourself which is probably not the best use of your time.
Nevertheless, there are downsides.
There are many factors to consider depending on your line of work, however public relations is an overall good look for your brand, whether you are an individual or represent an entity.
As we have mentioned, our PR company helps get digital exposure for clients without a monthly retainer, and only paying for what gets secured, which in looking at norm in public relations, is pretty hard to find. Check out our FAQ or Help section for more information on what we do.