Planning Your PR Budget

Planning Your PR Budget in teal text over a pink photo of a vintage calculator

Let’s talk money; it’s basically everyone’s favorite subject. Personally or professionally, you always need to have an idea of how much you are going to spend on an item or activity. 

People have a hard time wrapping their heads around the cost of PR, and for a good reason. A lot of PR can seem intangible. It’s not like you are paying for a physical product, but rather brand awareness. Isn’t PR just sending emails and making phone calls? Why does it cost so much?

Let’s have a look at where your dollar bills are going. Media relations is often less expensive than paid media and advertising and typically more effective, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. 


Know that saying, “You pay for what you get”? The same goes for PR. You can hire a PR newbie with zero experience and a whole lot of chutzpah, but they don’t have the know-how, tools or relationships of more seasoned pros. 

There is something to be said about having someone on your account who is adept at crisis communication, storytelling, relationship building and comes to the table with big ideas based on years of doing it.

A higher level of experience, and the number of people on your team, will affect where your budget goes. Luckily for you, we have minimal overhead, and we focus our investment on our people, not kegerators and air hockey tables in the office. 

Think of it this way; you’re not going to ask a dietary aide to give you a physical. Don’t cut corners if you want results. We weren’t named to Forbes Top 200 PR Agencies for our good looks (although also totally valid).


When we hire someone who has PR experience, we teach them the 8THIRTYFOUR way. Many agencies send mass emails, blanket pitches and use wires to send out press releases and it is gonna amount to diddly squat for the client. 

Before media outreach is even a twinkle in our eye, we start with research. We do a competitor analysis to see how our client’s competition is garnering coverage. We then do a dive into reporters who have covered topics relevant to our client’s industry, begin monitoring them on social media, and read all of their recent articles. We don’t stop there. We also analyze market trends, set up monitoring on key topics so we can stay on top of breaking news, and we brainstorm. 

Let’s just say we know who the reporter is, how many dogs they own, and what they order at Starbucks. The world is built on relationships, and it’s about quality, not quantity.

We are constantly reviewing what’s happening in the media and adjusting pitches based on what reporters are and aren’t covering. Before we even pitch a journalist, we check to ensure they didn’t cover something similar because they’re not going to cover it again.

Typical agencies charge hourly, which is where your budget can really explode if they are spending a lot of time on admin activities, such as compiling reports, internal meetings, client meetings and more. Oh, and you’ll pay for however many agency people are in the meeting. So if Jimbo bills at $250 an hour and Karen bills at $175, you just paid $425. If they send you meeting notes, tack an additional $100 on to that.

This is why 8THIRTYFOUR uses value-based pricing. You pay for the results, and your retainer remains the same, month after month. 

So, if you want to save money, hire an agency that does things differently, but realize PR isn’t cheap. You must decide if the results are worth the price tag. And then, holler at us so we can help.

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