how much does PR cost
Public Relations

Should You Be Paying For PR? If So, How Much Does It Cost?

2 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 53.00/5(2)

Cultivating positive public perception has become inevitable in today’s competitive marketplace. If customers don’t find anything good about your company, they won’t proceed with doing business with you. In fact, you could lose more business than you make profits. 

And this is where PR or public relations come into the picture. It is a process of employing various media channels to promote the firm as well as yield positive public perception. PR helps in managing the brand and its communication across channels and people. 

Whether you own an established firm or a start-up, irrespective of your industry niche, investment in PR should be your priority. This is because Pew Research Center’s study found that 56% of adults in the U.S. trust national news media.

Likewise, local news outlets are trusted by 75% of U.S. citizens. In short, your focus on public relations can build and foster trust in consumers, enticing them to do business with you. 

What Is the Average Cost of PR?

The first question that comes to a business owner or marketer’s mind after determining the importance of PR is ‘how much does PR cost?” 

Well, to be honest, there is no straightforward answer to this question. However, you can obtain an estimation based on a variety of factors.

For instance, you might have certain goals and objectives from your investment in PR, right? When hiring a public relations agency, you need to be very specific about your expectations in the preliminary communication. Be open about the scope of work, your needs, etc., to help the experts make a relevant estimation. 

On average, the PR retainers can be $1,500 to $10,000 a month. However, some larger PR agencies tend to charge $500+ an hour for their time and effort. Smaller public relations agencies, on the other hand, cost as low as $125 an hour

The average hourly rate of PR services at a larger PR agency is between $150-$250 per hour.

Typically, the services offered at the average cost include the following –

  • Providing details to the major media outlets
  • Copywriting (putting forward the idea and editing them)
  • Obtain access to a supporting team that does everything from initial pitching to researching, editing, and so on.
  • Access to sharing sources and media lists that experts have cultivated. 

Can You Do PR for Free?

Limited cash flow is one of the biggest issues that small businesses face. Luckily, when it comes to public relations, limited cash flow isn’t a big deal. Why? Because there are several ways in which you can do PR for free without having to compromise its quality. 

Listed below are some ideas to do PR for free –

Targeting the communication

The first step is targeting communication. This means getting in touch with niche journalists and making them interested in your brand. 

The era we live in is more connected than ever. This allows for identifying influential people and sources more easily. For instance, you can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., to connect. 

However, just ensure that your communications are to-the-point, given journalists receive 100 press releases daily. Almost 68% of them expect to receive facts

Become the story

Simply relying on the press isn’t enough to create an effective PR. You should find breaking news stories that the press is already covering and insert your brand into the conversation in a way it promotes your business. 

The notion is comprehending how the media works to your benefit. There is no reason why you cannot get a little creative to prevent spending anything on PR.

Share stories that matter

If you have a good story, why not share it? Your products and services are bound to leave a positive impact on the customers.

If your customers are ready to share their experience and feedback, find a way to share this story with others. Perhaps create a page of testimonies, feedback, and customer stories. 

Not just text; you use videos and photos to tell the story, too. Your social media sites can prove helpful here. 

Not only will this help build trust in customers, but it will make them purchase from you and even come back for more. 

Take advantage of seasonality

When it comes to developing free public relations, seasonality can prove of great help. Bloggers and journalist lookout for content that go well over the holidays. Use this opportunity to your benefit. 

There is nothing wrong with coming up with your own viral holiday to help create a few media mentions and public interest. In fact, it might only strengthen your brand. 

A win-win relationship

While it is important to ensure your email stands out, it is also important to add information that showcases the benefits. 

Most media outlets tend to have a specific readership that they do everything to keep engaged. Is your small business capable of engaging these readers? Will you be able to interest these readers while shining the spotlight on your latest services and products? 

If yes, perhaps create a detailed but to-the-point email suggesting the media agency about the mutual benefit. 

PR Factors That Can Cost You or Be Free

As mentioned earlier, there are a variety of factors that impact the final cost of public relations. Some of these are listed below –

Media relations

Media relations is both an ever-evolving and complex aspect of public relations. This is why you will require creating a media planning strategy before rolling out any other brand-building campaign to ensure you are making the most out of the relationship created. 

Since media relations require a lot of planning, adjustment, and adaptation to conform to the targeted goals, objectives, and expectations, the experts will require adding extra effort, which eventually displays in the cost.

Crisis management

Even though most of the cost associated with PR falls under the retainer-based pricing model, there might be times when additional projects may get added, causing the project to fall under an ad hoc project-based fee model. This can be anything from event planning to an activation event. Likewise, there may arise unforeseen challenges. 

In such situations, the PR experts will offer assistance through crisis management. But the same will add to the overall cost of PR. 

Scope of services

The level and scope of assistance you require will also be reflected in the cost of hiring a public relations agency. 

Typically, a PR firm utilizes a complete PR package that contains crisis management, media relations, writing, brand management, and even press release distribution

If you wish to lower the cost, you can select only certain tasks. For instance, you can hire a PR agency to handle media relations and brand management and maintain an in-house team for the press release. 

Looking |

Discover the most relevant agencies for your project based on your own specific requirements.

Find an agency!

Payment terms

In a typical case, a brand prefers hiring PR agencies through a monthly retainer. This means you pay for a set number of hours every month, whether or not your use their services. If you have additional work, you can also pay extra to purchase added hours. 

The best thing about a retainer-based PR firm is that they are at your service for crisis management if situations arise

Some PR firms tend to charge an hourly rate for particular projects. For instance, new products launch, events, etc.

Experience of the team

The team’s experience also plays a key role in influencing the cost of PR services. In fact, PR cost is directly proportional to the rate card of the team of individuals working on your project. Some agencies charge on an hourly basis, while others keep it on a daily basis. 

To save money, you should hire a PR agency that has clients similar to your size and marketing budget. If the cost is less, question whether or not the team is inexperienced for your PR. 


Even though most brand work remotely with PR agencies across the US, the price can fluctuate based on the PR firms’ location. 

For instance, agencies that work in cities and popular areas tend to charge higher than average. Similarly, agencies that operate from towns or rural areas tend to have lower prices.  

How Much Does a PR Agency Cost?

The best thing about working with the right PR agency is that it helps with strategic planning, evaluation, measurement, and execution services – all under one roof. These comprehensive efforts are often reflected in their costing, too. 

Coming back to answer, “how much does PR cost?” Well, you must note that PR agencies are typically divided into two kinds – large and boutique.

The choice you make in choosing the type of public relations agency will answer your question, “how much does PR cost?”

  • The boutique PR agency – When it comes to PR agencies, bigger is not always better. Even a smaller boutique PR agency is completely capable of achieving your marketing goals without exceeding your budget. Since boutique agencies have a workforce of under 50, their retainer fee ranges between $2,000-$5,000 or more. Boutique PR agencies collaborate amongst smaller groups to develop expert-level strategies promptly and flexibly. The boutique PR firm also works as an extension to your in-house team, providing you with better access and control. 
  • The large PR agency – Large PR agencies, as the name suggests, are agencies with more than 50 employees. The typical monthly retainer fees of larger PR agencies start from $25,000 a month. If you own a large corporation or need support for multinational campaigns and launches, then a large PR agency should be your go-to.  

Benefits of Working With a Public Relations Agency

Listed below are some reasons why we think you should work with a public relations agency instead of doing it yourself –

Work with an experienced team

When you hire a professional PR agency, you gain access to a whole team of creatives. The public relations agency typically consists of experts ranging from president to director, account executives, interns, project managers, content researchers, and so on.

This means from strategizing the public relations for your business to executing it, the public relations agency can do it all. 

Along with the huge team come cumulative years of experience, networks, and relationships that will assist in taking your campaign to the next level. 

Obtain a variety of services under one roof

PR agencies nowadays offer services beyond traditional public relations. They also deal with social media management, content creation, graphic design, and so on. Also, let’s not forget the third-party vendor network they have access to. 

Agencies work for you and take care of things related to public relations for you, so you do not have to worry about anything; just expect results. 

Gain an outside viewpoint

How often do you and your team reach an impasse after hours of brainstorming? Quite often, right? Well, without an outside point of view, there is going to be a standstill in the process.

By choosing to work with an external PR firm for your public relations needs, you make a way to bring in new talents and minds to your existing operation. An outside perspective, particularly from a public relations agency that has been working in the industry for years, offers fresh viewpoints and ideas even to those brainstorming sessions that seem impossible to result in new outcomes. 

Leverage your in-house marketing team

Of course, you will have an internal marketing team in place. And we bet they are as wise as any marketing experts out there.

By choosing to hire external assistance for PR, you leverage your in-house marketing team. You make them capable in ways unimaginable.

For instance, a PR agency expert and in-house marketer can work together to create strategies that resonate with your brand and manages to succeed in the competitive realms. 

Control your brand image 

Knowing how to be in control of the brand is imperative to get ahead in the business. By hiring an expert PR agency, you have someone at your disposal who will work with you to develop new ideas as well as handle how your brand is perceived

Your chosen public relations agency can weigh in ideas and provide insights on effective tricks that help reach the target audience. They will help you discover the best strategic opportunities to lead the game and stay above market trends. 

Over to you

With all the relevant information related to PR laid in front of you, we are sure you must be ready to get started with creating a new PR strategy. As you proceed, keep in mind that public relations are an iterative and ongoing process. And similar to marketing, they will take some time to deliver the expected results. 

Your commitment, patience, and decision to work with a PR firm at your disposal can go a long way. Perhaps a PR firm’s assistance in creating a PR strategy might help you uncover the many potentials your business has. 


Access our exclusive content!