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"How Much Does PR Cost?": How to Set Your Public Relations Budget and Feel Empowered

Think of it like a horse race and each new PR activity you do - is like having another runner in the race.

Knowing how much money to devote to your PR is a critical part of the process, yet it is often the most challenging part of starting the journey. 

“What should I spend?”, “How much will it get me?” and “How can I decide my budget?” are three questions PR people are asked all the time, but which are almost impossible to answer. Ultimately it is you who has to decide. 

Here we tackle these questions by sharing some new ways to think about your budget, understand how PR fees could be put to work, and unpick the questions to help you choose a cost level that works for you. 

“What should I spend on PR?”

This is always a hard question for someone other than the brand to answer, and here we'll explain why.

A PR consultant’s job is to take you from A) no media coverage to B) coverage to C) that coverage delivering on your objectives. And most PRs worth their salt will do whatever they can to achieve those goals. 

Think of it like a horse race and each tactic - i.e. PR activity you do - is like having a runner in the race. 

A public relations approach most people try first, especially when starting out, is the bread and butter of PR - media relations. This is where your news and stories are shared with the media in the hope the journalist finds it interesting enough to write about. While a skilled PR will package it all up with a strong angle and pitch to the right journalists, giving you the best shot, the media finding it interesting is not something that can be controlled.

Adding additional ‘horses’ to the race gives you extra chances for coverage success and less reliance on just ‘you’. You can layer extra tactics on top that allow you to focus on multiple media sectors with more than one story narrative; from thought leadership content and bespoke features, to creative events and stunts (check out these inspiring examples from around the globe) that deliver something extra to the journalists whilst creating a reason to include your messages. 

Every new layer gives you more chances for coverage and makes up for other tactics that might not get the pickup you hope for. One activity might get you five stories in the nationals. Another might achieve you a single but valuable link to your sales page on an important target website. Together all these pieces add up to deliver your overall success.

Any brief could have a range of budget estimates, and different publicity professionals - from PR firms to freelancers - could achieve the objectives with completely different approaches. The level that those objectives are met, for example, is also scalable. In theory, the same objective could be addressed with a straightforward media relations activity or an all singing, all dancing creative campaign, but the level of results, impact and style will differ completely, so communicating your expectations up front is crucial. 

The more you layer up, the more work and cost there is, so deciding what feels comfortable as a spend in advance gives the experts a range within which they can decide how to approach your brief

Other questions answered: “How much coverage will my PR budget get me?”  and “How do I decide my PR budget?”

If you’re ready to start your PR journey with a highly recommended freelancer, sign up and post a new brief in minutes to start receiving matches and proposals from our UK PR freelancer network.

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