What Can You Get for a Hundred Spent on PR?

$100 for PR

Don’t spend it all in one place…

There is a problem today with many business people that seem to more and more believe you can always get everything for nothing. For example, many people refuse to pay for apps – even $1-2 – for something people 10 or so years ago did just that. Newspapers and their apps come to mind. So, it didn’t totally surprise me when I read a story about a PR firm claiming to offer PR for $100.

Such an offering must also stem from clients believing they can have everything for nothing. So, this firm comes along and tries to meet this expectation. In reality, all that is happening is the firm and the client are getting pretty much nothing. It’s no doubt this firm is going for quantity. But, they forget the type of client they’re attracting. One that would only pay $100 and still expect good returns is not likely to use the service again after not getting good returns. They’re also likely to spread the word about not getting good returns. So, this “quantity-based” business probably will not last.

According to the story, the service includes writing a press release; sending the press release to 250 “targeted contacts;” access to more than 100,000 media organizations; a single follow-up call or email; instant notification of any coverage. Let’s break this down for those that believe they can get good results for $100. Now, here is a caveat / disclaimer: these are assumptions but, they are based on many years of experience in PR.

  • Writing a press release: for $100, it’s probably based on a  template. With little time devoted to a well-written press release, it’s not likely to maximize results. Now, it doesn’t take hours and hours to write one but, at $100 the time devoted is likely just a few minutes (think template).
  • Sending the press release to 25 “targeted contacts:” for $100 this likely involves sending a canned email message – media love them (not) – to the so-called “targeted contacts.” This is something that takes a minute to do. But, for the client, it starts to set a bad image with the media – that often leads to not reading what you send them in the future, something your PR agency should be working to do the opposite.
  • Access to more than 100,000 media organizations: this likely means they have a media database service – that just about every PR firm has – to Vocus, Cision or the like. They pay some thousands of dollars annually for this database and often, PR firms resell access to data on it. Some PR firms claim it as a “strategic advantage” and so on. What exactly they are allowing access to is vague but, it probably means they’ll spend two minutes doing a key word search to find those “targeted contacts” thus, you will have access to one of these database services. By the way – from one who has subscribed to just about all of them – none of them deserve even a “B” for accuracy.
  • One follow-up call or email: for $100 it’s probably as it reads – they’ll call or email a single contact from the list and no more. After all, for $100 no real firm is going to spend a day on the phone on your behalf. So, they’ll roll the dice for you on one and see if you get lucky – do you feel lucky, punk? If you’re only willing to spend a $100 on PR, don’t.
  • Instant notification of any coverage: there’s probably a monitoring service – could even be they setup a Google alert for your email address – awesome!

You cannot get effective PR for $100. Might you get lucky? Of course it’s possible. But, gambling on such services for something that is so important to your success is just a bad idea. Just about any company in business can look at some of its competition and find they are spending regularly on PR. So, if $100 is the ridiculous low-end, what’s the ridiculous high-end? Well, it depends. If you’re Microsoft or Apple, you’re hopefully spending seven figures monthly to promote your brand. If you’re a startup with a single product, it could be as low as$2-3,000 a month with a consultant or double that at a minimum with an employee or very small firm.

Utlimately, $100 is a joke. In addition, this approach assumes PR can be handled as a project – it cannot be. Honestly, you should not even try or, try and do it yourself. In fact, it would be good if you did PR yourself so you can then appreciate the expertise and time required. Remember when you do it that proper execution of PR today involves coordinated marrying of efforts to marketing and social media to maximize success.