How much does PR cost for emerging tech?

How much does PR cost? It’s the question you really want to know, and the question PR companies don’t want to answer. As a PR / Comms guy for emerging tech, here’s the answer: PR is going to cost you anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 per month or higher. Yes, it’s a broad range because the field is nuanced, flexible in scope, and depends on relationships and positively influencing others.

Whereas one PR or comms strategy might focus only on pitching journalists, another might be creating digital content, podcasts, videos, creating an event, webinar, or even creating various websites or even a virtual magazine. PR folks aren’t video or web people, but they do pull in those resources for various campaigns.

What is Public Relations (PR)?

To grossly oversimplify, public relations is the trade of favorably positioning a person or brand within culture to accomplish a goal. The goal could be to sell a book, sell a product, run for office, influence public policy, protect someone’s image, or promote healthy eating. The way a PR pro like myself may accomplish this can take many different forms.

A PR firm or pro may work with someone on what language they use or how they talk about their brand. A PR person could help develop content and pitch it at various publications for popular news coverage. A PR person could develop agreements with other popular brands or personalities to influence their following and attract attention for their own client. It’s limitless.

There is a lot of overlap when consider PR, marketing and advertising, but in general PR is more under-the-radar, whereas marketing and advertising is a bit more obvious. Consumers are typically aware they are being advertised to, but consumers are less aware when they are being targeted via a PR strategy. For example, a health expert on the Today Show was likely pitched by a PR person seeking coverage for that individual to sell their new book.

The cost of PR services

The easiest way is to break down projects I’ve worked on in the past, giving you the budget ranges those campaigns fell into. Keep in mind, I’m focused on emerging tech companies with truly unique tech. I’m not experienced in food and beverage or fashion for example.

$5-7k per month

photo journalists taking pictures

How much does PR cost at an entry-level? About $5k – 7k. How to get a journalist to cover your story is all about developing unique story ideas internally and pitching those stories to journalists that are the perfect fit. It’s like a game of memory. Your company is one set of cards, and the media is a matching set. You keep turning cards over in your company (stories) and keep turning cards over in media-land (journalists beat) and match them together.

As you can imagine, this takes time. The cost of PR services, in this case, is time spent researching your company, constantly finding new angles, and monitoring various media sources to match those story angles. If you hire someone like me, you’re also paying for experience writing for top publications, and therefore the knowledge of how they work and what they want to see. The great PR folks know jargon-filled writing triggers a journalist’s BS filter and how to write the perfect pitch email.

At this level, you can expect a bit of coaching for media interviews, and a 6 month window to accomplish your initial goals.

What to expect:

  • Continued story development
  • Matching meaningful stories to relevant journalists

$7k – 10k per month

How much does PR cost at a slightly higher rate? About $7k – 10k. It gets you the story development and pitching to get earned media, but it goes a step further into digital strategy, SEO, and content strategy to get more inbound web traffic.

A notebook sitting on a desk next to search bar that says "emerging tech SEO"

A big part of PR is content strategy. Sadly, most PR companies don’t know much about emerging tech SEO, backlinks, or domain authority, and they don’t know how to leverage a press hit via SEO strategy. For my clients, I work with their internal leadership to pull stories out of their head, and we publish those online that present themselves when clients search the internet for answers. Searching the term what is micro molding, for example, should produce my client, Accumold.

As you can imagine, being the #1 search result for key terms is valuable. It allows your company to be in the right time at the right place. It works when you’re sleeping by attracting people to your website. Best of all, customers don’t know this was strategic, and feel in control of their own decision. After all they found you.

What to expect:

  • Continued story development
  • Matching meaningful stories to relevant journalists
  • SEO and Digital strategy to capture keywords relevant to your customers
  • Content strategy to increase organic web traffic

$10k – 15k per month

Looking at the camera monitor during a TV Interview

How much does PR cost on the high end? The $10k – 15k per month range will get you most of the above, with just a bit more media help, or more SEO capability. I’ve created podcasts and content strategies for people in this range, and you might get light video direction or photography help as well. Media is extremely important and can heavily influence the cost of PR services, but in general, a light media touch can be added at this level.

The other thing added cost in the $10k – 15k range can achieve is by speeding up your earned media timeline to as little as 3 months. But depending on the agency, this cost range could be entry-level for the bigger firms that need to pay for a large staff and real estate. One colleague paid $10k per month from his agency, and all they did was distribute his own press releases to their “contacts” which is code for a database they bought. Obviously, he had little success.

What to expect:

  • Continued story development
  • Matching meaningful stories to relevant journalists
  • SEO and Digital strategy to capture keywords relevant to your customers
  • Content strategy to increase organic web traffic
  • Podcasting and multimedia support
  • Media training

$15k – UP per month

How much does PR cost at a premium? The $15k range and up will get you a lot of media support on top of the traditional PR services. There will likely be weekly media, video, and photo support and aggressive web support. The sky is really the limit in PR.

Podcasting or Radio Studio

I’ve done ticketed events that achieved lots of earned media and web hits, and I’ve developed plans for clients in the $250k range that included creating a digital magazine, hiring hundreds of freelancers.

PR is extremely flexible and nuanced. Your strategy could include product placement in the background of an influencer video, Clubhouse room hosting, or even helping you to find publishers for your new book. PR teams can monitor social media, create posts, and even get your company featured in feature films.

What to expect:

  • Continued story development
  • Matching meaningful stories to relevant journalists
  • SEO and Digital strategy to capture keywords relevant to your customers
  • Content strategy to increase organic web traffic
  • Podcasting and multimedia support
  • Media training
  • Complete creation and execution of video and audio assets
  • Virtual / In-person event creation

Don’t PR Companies Also Have Connections?

You may notice one thing absent from this email, which is the cost of “connections.” It’s because connections are a sucker-cost. I’ll never forget during my time in live radio when a guest emailed me after, thankful their agency had a “connection” to me. Confused, I asked who the agency was. After my guest told me, I had no idea who they were. Looking back through past emails I noticed they certainly had pitched me multiple times, and I had politely declined. Apparently, my replies were enough for them to tell their client they had a relationship with me.

You know a PR agency is full of crap when they tell you about the connections they have in the industry. Connections don’t make your companies story any more appealing. Great stories are all that matter, and a great PR company knows how to develop these, even when you think they have no value.

How much does PR cost?

These ranges are extremely general, and you can blend services into various categories. For example, one client of mine only wanted podcasting and content help and fell within the $7k range. One client wanted only targeted SEO help and fell in the $5k range per month.

The cost of PR services depends on clarity.

How much does PR cost? It depends on how clear you are on your goals. It’s important to be open and share the deliverables and timelines you expect so your agency can better understand how to accomplish those goals. A great agency will help you understand how your goals translate to organizational value. For example, “I want to get an interview in X publication” might be exciting, but if you refocus to “I want to reach SaaS companies in healthcare” you might find quicker wins by finding a higher concentration of your customers.


10-Day Press Guide10-day press guide

Are you an entrepreneur or emerging tech exec who wants more press and web traffic? I'll send a free PDF guide to amplify your brand in 10 days, plus PR/SEO tactics that work for my clients.


 

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10-Day Press Guide10-day press guide

Are you an entrepreneur or emerging tech exec who wants more press and web traffic? I'll send a free PDF guide to amplify your brand in 10 days, plus PR/SEO tactics that work for my clients.