How to budget for PR 

October 25, 2023 | Amanda Green

It’s budgeting season! While you’re busy crunching numbers, setting revenue projections, and trying to plan for the next year’s expenses (😴) think about the projects you’ve wanted to invest in but haven’t had a chance to just yet. This might be the year to prioritize public relations for your company. Here’s our advice on how to budget for PR.

What public relations does for a company 

All too often, Public Relations (PR) falls to the bottom of the prioritization list. This might be because it is notoriously difficult to track ROI from PR campaigns, or because there are risks associated with earned media, or perhaps because PR itself has a bit of a reputation problem; some see it as bougie and unnecessary. But public relations is part of the long-game plan and shouldn’t be put on the back burner. It builds authority, credibility, and visibility for brands. 

Where to allocate PR funds

Many companies seem to place PR within their marketing department budgets. Other companies see PR as more of an executive department expense. It can go either way, it really depends on your PR vision and goals. Does your reason for running a PR campaign align more closely with your marketing department’s objectives or your executive team’s objectives? Secondly, consider who your PR team reports to. Do they report to your head of marketing or do they report directly to your CEO/executive leaders? This can help you realize how to allocate the funds to support PR efforts. 

How PR aligns with marketing functions:

  • Enhances brand awareness
  • Encourages customer engagement
  • Supports marketing campaigns and promotional efforts
  • Announces product launches

How PR aligns with executive functions:

  • Manages company reputation & reputation building
  • Nurtures relationships with various stakeholders, including the media
  • Communicates executive messaging
  • Promotes a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives
  • Facilitates executive media interviews and press coverage

How much money to set aside as you budget for PR

We’ve written before about how much a PR firm costs. Pricing can vary widely. The best way to determine how much money to budget for PR expenses is to interview multiple PR firms, talk with other business leaders who already have PR partnerships, and pick an agency that aligns with your PR goals. (See 3 questions to ask when hiring a PR firm).

When talking with PR firms, ask for transparency on any potential costs that may arise during the PR campaign. Common expenses include: 

  • Agency retainer fees
  • Costs associated with product sampling & shipping
  • Newswire fees
  • Media clipping service fees

Other expenses that you may want to budget for when working with a PR firm could include: 

  • Travel expenses (for media tours or paying for influencer travel, for example)
  • Pay-for-play opportunities
  • Influencer marketing fees
  • Events and sponsorships
  • Social media advertising

Should you choose to DIY your PR efforts or hire in-house as opposed to an agency, there are additional costs to consider as well. These might include: 

  • Employee salaries
  • Access to media databases
  • Press release distribution services
  • Media monitoring tools
  • Content creators (writers, social media creators, graphic designers, etc)
  • Market research and competitor analysis
  • Analytics software and reporting tools

Once you have determined your PR goals/reasons for doing PR, how much money you’ll need to allocate to achieve those goals, and which department’s budget those objectives fall within, you’ll be in a better position to carry out your PR efforts in a cost-effective manner that doesn’t break the bank. 

We sure hope you consider Orca Communications to carry out your PR efforts for the next year. Our team will be happy to schedule a call to craft an affordable PR plan that works for you.