Of all the services that CIPR Communications provides to clients, public relations has seen the most dramatic changes since the start of the pandemic and these changes have caused us to reflect on and change the way we structure public relations pricing.
How Has Public Relations Changed Over the Past Several Years?
The public relations industry has been evolving and changing for well over a decade now and those changes accelerated when COVID hit the scene. When COVID became the ONLY story in mainstream media, it became almost impossible to get other stories published unless those stores were relevant to the pandemic.
Since things have opened back up and mainstream media coverage has broadened again, opening the door for more opportunities for brands to tell their stories through these channels, but it has only become a little easier.
The public relations reality today is that very few publications are willing to publish stories about brands, their products, and offerings for free unless those stories have broad implications for their audiences. Simply put, earned media has become much harder to achieve and the lines between earned and paid PR and advertising are becoming more and more blurred.
What is also becoming blurrier is what exactly qualifies as media these days. There are so many more publications out there today and seemingly more popping up every month. To add to this, the rise of social media and the social media influencer means that brands have more avenues than ever to get their stories out there, but each individual avenue may have smaller reach and bigger overall costs.
While we can write many pages about all of this and we have on other parts of our blog, this article is about how we have changed our pricing approach in response.
CIPR Communications’ New Public Relations Pricing Approach
We have moved away from fixed pricing for certain public relations services to a bundle of hours approach to provide better value for clients.
For example, if you hire CIPR Communications to write and distribute a media release, we will propose that you buy 15 to 20 hours to start, which should be enough hours to get a media release and related key messages written and approved, to do the necessary research and create a media target lists, to write and approve media hooks and a media outreach strategy, as well as to post the release on a wire service and do an initial round or two of media outreach. If clients are efficient with approvals, 15 – 20 hours could also be enough time to co-ordinate interviews.
If your story blows up, it’s likely that you will need to buy more hours so that we can help you co-ordinate interviews, prepare your executives with media training, and provide other support as needs arise – in these cases, we believe that clients will be more than happy to top their hours up because they know they will be getting huge value from the earned media results.
If the story doesn’t blow up but there are interesting paid PR opportunities that we collectively decide are worth pursuing, there may be an appetite for clients to purchase a few more hours to get our help to get those opportunities over the line – or clients could decide at that point that they want to pursue these opportunities on their own in which case our job is done.
If the story doesn’t generate earned media interest and our client decides they don’t want to pursue paid PR opportunities that come up, their story will still be up in full text on the publications that pick it up through the newswire as well as on the newswire, which still provides great value.
If there isn’t a lot of pickup and our client used their hours efficiently and have hours left over after PR outreach efforts are completed, we could look for ways to provide more value such as creating some social media posts to supplement the release, help to post the release on the client’s website, optimize the release for organic search and more. Alternatively, remaining hours can be used for future releases or in any other way we collectively decide they will add the most value for the client.
Either way, we believe this new pricing approach is a win-win for clients and for our agency because it adds more certainty for both parties and eliminates the need for our agency to charge higher prices in case there is a lot of media pick up. For clients, it means paying for what they are getting, and it has the potential to drive efficiency in the process.
Want to learn more about how public relations can help your brand? Feel free to book a meeting through this link for a free discovery call.