I have worked with countless startups over the past 10 years, some were hugely successful, others got their feet wet but moved on to another concept. Many of these early startups would state that they need PR but they were not sure if they afford it ?
Most entrepreneurs know a professional PR team could take their launch to greater heights, but as a boot- strapped startup there may not be a budget.
Statistics: 100 start-ups and entrepreneurs queried believed the cost as follows:
11% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $10,000+ per month
32% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $5,000-$10,000 per month
39% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $3,000-$5,000 per month
12% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost $1,000-$3,000 per month
6% — Thought a professional PR campaign would cost less than $1,000 per month
The facts are that you can launch a PR campaign whether the budget is small or large!
You have to determine what you can you get for your budget and will the campaign provide the ROI you need? It may be true that the more you pay the more you get. But getting the most publicity/PR exposure doesn’t mean you have to get most expensive PR agency or publicist.
Talk to other startups and ask about their experiences with PR agencies, would that agency be a fit, do they represent similar clients? There are boutique agencies who may focus on your niche and offer affordable retainer fees. Most of the time the fees will be in line with your prospective PR budget. If you are a small business or startup with two employees, you do not need to hire a high-dollar PR agency with dozens of employees.
The larger PR agencies typically represent the major brands, corporations or organizations, so they would not be a fit for your smaller venture. Their retainer fees can be upwards of $10,000.00 per month and you would be assigned to a junior publicist.
Smaller agencies may charge $2500.00 per month. Plus, a boutique agency can cater a campaign to your budget but still offer similar services:
Press Release Launch to the Wires
Social Media outreach to influencers
Many agencies offer media training as well.
There are major benefits of hiring a professional (individual PR specialist or PR firm) to launch your campaign:
Professional Crafted Campaign Implementation- Improperly composed or poorly pitched campaigns are the major downfall of many PR efforts. Poorly written, over-commercialized media releases; uncalculated, misdirected mass e-mailing of the release pitch; you need to know how to pitch the reporter, editors, and no follow-up media relations/media request fulfillment.
Your first vital impression: You get one shot with the journalist or producer or editor.
Media Contacts: Most skilled PR agencies have established multiple media contacts over many years that can lead to much better and more numerous media placements for your campaign. By working with an agency, they can open more doors for you.
Efficiency and Effectiveness: PR specialists/agencies generate publicity full time, and know the ins and outs, shortcuts and secrets to getting the job done better and quicker. You are the expert at your business, the PR teams are specialists at what they do!
One caveat when it comes to choosing a professional PR agency or Publicist to work with, seeking a higher priced campaign doesn’t necessarily mean you will get better results than a less expensive PR campaign. And the inverse can be true as well. They are low in cost because they may be lower quality. Bigger is not necessarily better, and cheap does not always mean a good bargain.
So, research is vital before you sign with an agency.
If your startup has the time and talent to handle your PR in-house, then try it for a few months. You can also seek college interns who are majoring in PR and want “real world” experience to assist your PR efforts. But once you have a budget, retain a PR pro, as they can help garner your business the media coverage to take you business to greater success. You have to be seen by your demographic, they they become loyal customers.
KBC Media- Karen L. Ammond