PUBLIC RELATIONS: How to Pay for It Without Spending a Fortune

Posted by on October 31, 2008 in Public Relations [ 1 Comment ]

Small to mid-sized businesses have unique needs in showcasing their services to customers. Using public relations is a great way to do just that. Advertising costs a fortune…and in today’s economy…spending a fortune is not exactly a smart way to go. So instead, use PR to get your name in the news so your customers know about you. Do it well, and prospects will start coming your way. But how do you pay for it? Here are three ideas to consider:


A Pay-for-Performance plan is a fairly new phenomenon in the PR community. In short, it means you only pay for a PR firm’s work if it results in some kind of news coverage for you or your company. It’s a great solution for the business first starting out in PR without a huge budget and would prefer to earmark it for results. It’s great if you’re not too concerned about your overall marketing communications strategy but still want to see how public relations can help lift your voice of the company in today’s conversational media.


Contracting with a PR firm using a retainer is a way to ensure you have someone to handle all duties associated with your media reach. A retainer is a set dollar amount that’s paid to the PR firm every month. It’s usually based on the number of hours per month you expect the company to work for you. Its perfect for a small to mid-sized company in need of outsourcing all of their public relations needs including strategizing, implementing and designing comprehensive marketing/public relations campaigns. Basically, it’s when you need someone to be there for you to get the job done…no matter what.

Hourly or By Project

If you’re a business that needs help getting important marketing and PR projects done, sometimes just paying for the time it takes to get the project done makes most sense. Those projects can consist of items like press releases, customer newsletters, or press kits.It boils down to this: Whatever needs to be done, tell your chosen firm or consultant and they’ll get it done. For example, let’s say you’re about to announce a new product and you need a press release written. The firm will write the release, post it on the wire and pitch it to reporters…then just bill you for the time needed to get the work done.

Overall, the best public relations firms are those that offer multiple ways of paying for their services. Do your homework and look closely to see if those you’re considering will help you when it comes to paying the bill. You’ll be much better off if you do.

One thought on “PUBLIC RELATIONS: How to Pay for It Without Spending a Fortune

  1. avatarKris Bovay

    Pay for performance is becoming very popular on the West Coast (I’m on Canada’s West Coast). Clients are looking for tangible performance and tangible results. Clients are also looking for measurement in PR which, I think, comes from the Marketing side of communications. So the demographics of your audience, what kind of reach, the messaging (and much more) are all important aspects of PR; particularly in today’s online environment.

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