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 and 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 changing culture 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)?

Simply put, public relations is the trade of favorably positioning a person or brand within culture to accomplish a goal. The goal can be to sell a book, sell a product, run for office, influence public policy, protect someone’s image, or even promote healthy eating. PR people can work on behalf of an organization or simply to change the world in a positive way. The way a PR pro like myself may accomplish a goal can take many forms.

Contrary to popular belief, PR is not just pursuing press or media exposure. 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, and they can help position online assets to be found easily—it’s limitless.

There is a lot of overlap when considering PR, marketing, and advertising. In general however, PR is more under-the-radar, whereas advertising and many other marketing initiatives are a bit more obvious. Consumers are typically aware they are being advertised to, but consumers are less aware when they are the focus of a PR strategy. For example, a health expert on The Today Show was likely pitched by a PR person seeking coverage for that individual with the goal of selling their new book.

The cost of PR services

The easiest way to understand the cost of PR services 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.

It’s also to keep in mind, all these breakdowns were specific projects that were highly tailored to the goal we were focused on. Your company’s needs might not fit neatly into these boxes.

$5-7k per month: media opportunities

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.

If your PR company is doing it right, 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. Learn More »

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. Great PR folks know jargon-filled writing triggers a journalist’s BS filter and they’re great at writing the perfect pitch email.

At this level, you can expect a bit of coaching for media interviews, and a 6-month – 1 year window to accomplish your initial goals.

What to expect:

  • Continued story development
  • Matching meaningful stories to relevant journalists

$7k – 10k per month: news hits, and high search engine ranking

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 heads, and we publish those online, ensuring they are found when clients search the internet for answers. Searching the term what is micro molding, for example, will 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 place at the right time. A great SEO strategy 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: content strategy, news coverage and media training

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. Producing original videos and podcast content 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.

Added cost in the $10k – 15k range can also speed up your earned media timeline above 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 contact of mine paid $10k per month from his agency to distribute his own press releases to their “contacts” (which is code for “they bought a database). 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: events, media assets, and coverage

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

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, helping you to find publishers for your new book, or even buy your way onto a best-seller list. 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 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. During my stint in live radio a guest emailed me after their interview, 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 either full of crap, or unethical when they tell you about the connections they have in the industry. Connections don’t make your company’s story more appealing. Great stories stand on their own, and a great PR company knows how to cultivate and 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 together. 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. It’s heavily dependent on your goals.

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 Guide

Perhaps the best place to start would be on your own. To make it easy on you, just download my free guide to get more press in 10 days. Just type your first name and email and I’ll send it in the next 5 minutes.


 

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