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"How Much Coverage Will My PR Budget Get Me?": How to Set Your Public Relations Budget and Feel Empowered

Pens vs puppies… How can the same two budgets produce entirely different results?

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, and share 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.

“How much coverage will my PR budget get me?" 

This isn't as straightforward to answer as you might expect.

Every brief is different. Every business is different. And the media agenda interacts with different topics and industries differently. No journalist or media section are identical either. It could take the same amount of time and cost to set up one big piece of coverage in the Financial Times compared to achieving 20 pieces in regional and trade press. 

Not to mention that the media landscape is ever changing; on one day a story could fly while on another, if something bigger takes over the news, the same great story might get slightly less pickup. No wonder PR comes top of the lists of stressful jobs - streuth!

PRs can never control the entire media agenda and results will always vary from campaign to campaign. This lack of control is actually what makes PR so valuable; it’s organic noise from third parties is trusted precisely because they aren’t controlled! (Find out more in our PR vs Marketing Explained article).

What you actually do will also impact the results too, as well as how brave you’re willing to be: £X to launch something in a risk-free and vanilla way, vs the same budget being spent to be a little more creative, or even risqué, is going to generate different outcomes. 

Take this example: A PR expert is approached by a pen company. They want coverage for their ballpoint pen. It’s not new, it’s not exciting, it’s not unique. The same person is also approached by a pet shop that wants coverage about its store. Again, it’s not a new shop, however, one of their puppies has artistic talent, and they believe it is the world’s first ‘painting puppy’… (Unrealistic, yes, but believe us, we’ve seen wackier briefs in our time!)

Both have the same budget. What’s going to be the easier sell to the media? The general media isn’t that interested in pens, but loves animal stories, and one brief has zero news hook, while the other has something journalists always want - a great photo opportunity, and a first. 

The same budget will most likely produce entirely different results. The pet shop probably only needs some solid media relations and a clear news day to get the story ‘out there’ whereas the pen client would be advised to layer up as many different tactics as possible, or do something clever, creative, and bold to generate the same level of attention for the new pen. 

Working with a PR that’s connected with relevant clients can also impact the budget. Imagine if both approached the same PR and the pen company was able to sponsor the ‘painting puppy’ - they could hijack that story and share in some of the coverage.

Other questions answered: "How much does PR cost?"  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 to start receiving matches and proposals from our UK PR freelancer network

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