Public relations or PR should play a part in every company’s marketing strategy. Before launching this type of strategy, it’s important to learn about PR budgeting. Here’s a helpful guide on how to create perfect PR budgets.
What does PR mean?
PR is an abbreviation of the term public relations. The Public Relations Society of America defines PR as strategic communication that drives “mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Generally speaking, anything that involves your business and the public is considered PR. The public doesn’t have to mean consumers or business partners. A lesser-known aspect of public relations involves when companies interact with government branches and their officials.
New to PR budgeting? Here’s a quick overview
Your company’s public relations budget can involve one or a combination of the following strategies:
- Media events
- Press conferences
- Speaking commitments
- Community engagements
- Social media
- Crisis management
- Content marketing
- Digital marketing/SEO
Source: Franchise Performance Group
Before creating or working on your company’s PR budget, think about whether you want to take care of PR work in-house or by hiring freelancers. There’s no getting around the fact that PR campaigns take time and effort. But, will this time and effort be spent by your employees, an outside marketing firm, or a combination of both?
If you have employees that already do similar work, you’ll avoid lots of outsourcing costs. In other situations, it’s more financially feasible to hire an outside marketing agency than several full-time staff members, especially for smaller projects.
While preparing your company’s PR budget, make sure to check out our extremely helpful guide on paid, owned, and earned types of media. It offers an in-depth look at the types of media for your business and their respective costs.
8 amazing ways to get the most out of PR budgets
Not every company is working on updating its PR budget. Your business might be preparing a PR budget for the first time. Don’t worry, we’ve got eight awesome PR budgeting tips for new companies.
1. Start with a small budget
One of the most important things for you to remember when preparing your PR budget is that you don’t have to take an “all-in” approach to PR budgeting. Instead, think about starting out small and investing in the most important types of PR for your business goals.
If you get positive results, consider increasing your investment by a smaller percentage next month, next quarter, or next year. By doing this, you’re not putting too much on the table and you’re still able to scale up your PR budget.
Companies wanting to do the most with smaller budgets should consider owned media strategies. This includes all media sources you own, including:
- Business websites
- Company social media pages
- Emails to those in your customer database
2. Take a closer look at where your company’s money goes
Before determining how much money to spend on PR campaigns, it’s best to first find out how your company’s budgets are being distributed. Most companies’ budgets allocate funds to multiple departments.
If you decide that PR budgeting is going to have positive impacts on your company, it’s likely worth allocating money from other departments.
3. Consider outside financing for worthwhile PR endeavors
Unfortunately, almost no company is exempt from dealing with difficult times. Your company might also not have the luxury of being able to allocate money from other departments. During these times, it might be wise to consider a source of outside financing.
Before considering this route, make sure you understand the revenue and positive impact PR projects can have on your business. This type of calculated risk might be worth it if it has a high likelihood of paying for itself while bringing in a nice profit.
With this type of financing, your company can instantly start a PR campaign that utilizes paid media strategies.
4. Prioritize your company’s PR plan
Start by making a list of what PR projects your company wants to focus on. Next, determine how many people/companies you need for these types of work.
Understandably, most companies don’t have the time and resources to invest in every single type of PR strategy. To make the most out of your company’s PR budget, it’s a good idea to prioritize the types of PR activities you want your business to take part in.
If your company is in the SaaS industry, you’re probably not going to get as much ROI from having local newspaper articles published as you would by spending the money to host an industry-wide event.
On the other hand, companies marketing themselves to senior citizens in their vicinity might get more ROI from local newspaper and mail campaigns than by creating YouTube videos or spending thousands on influencer campaigns.
5. Go digital
It’s impossible to deny that many companies realize the benefits of digital PR strategies. This can include anything from creating social media posts to implementing a new referral program on your company’s website. Digital strategies are effective ways to improve your company’s relationship with the public that work quickly and are cost-effective.
In a recent interview with PR Daily, Southwest’s Chief Communications Officer Linda Rutherford recently said she will “spend less on physical events,” including news conferences and media events, in favor of “commtech as well as social and digital” going into 2020.
It’s certainly easy to see why. Most types of traditional PR involve spending lots of time and money working with other companies to have information published in newspapers, magazines, and similar publications. Now, companies can create entirely digital campaigns that have similar results without wasting time and effort.
If your company currently relies on traditional PR methods without great results, it’s time to enter the digital world of PR marketing.
6. Partner with influencers
If your company isn’t using influencer marketing as part of a public relations strategy, now is the time to start. One study found that 92% of consumers trust influencers over celebrity advertisements.
So, what is a B2B marketing influencer? Influencers are people with large followings. These followers can come from video sharing websites, social media, podcasts, and any other source of internet popularity.
Influencer marketing usually works well for companies needing a PR boost. It’s also extremely helpful for companies that don’t want to wait weeks or months for PR strategies to reach a large audience.
Make sure to check out our excellent list of influencer marketing software to help your business skyrocket its PR results.
7. Track your ROIs
One of the most important things you can do with your company’s PR budget is to understand the ROI, or return on investment, of everything you’re spending money on. If something is not making money, get rid of it and invest those funds towards what will make an impact.
As SHIFT Communications’ Vice President of Technology Christopher Penn put it in a recent interview, it’s important to “articulate what the increase [in PR budgeting] will mean in terms of business impact.”
So, how can you determine the impact of your company’s current PR budget? Think of your company’s PR-related efforts as a machine. If you put $100 into this machine for PR purposes, how much are you going to get back out? If it isn’t at least $101 (hopefully it’s much more), it’s probably not a good PR strategy.
Source: Duncan Jones
Let’s go further with this concept. How much money does your company’s PR machine provide for what you put into it?
Using the image above as an example, imagine you’re spending $20,000 on PR-related costs each month. This brings you 30 leads, each of which has a worth of $3,000 to your company for a total of $90,000 profit.
Putting $20,000 into this company’s PR machine gives back an estimated $90,000 worth of leads each month. This provides an estimated $70,000 worth of profit or a 350% ROI.
We have a way for you to try this out for yourself with a free downloadable ROI template.
All you need to know is how much you spend on advertising, the estimated worth of each lead, and how many leads your PR campaigns bring in. Simply enter your numbers into cells A, B, and C. Everything else on the right (including the ROI calculation) is done for you.
8. Keep up with metrics that can alter PR budgets
As a business owner, it’s imperative to keep a close eye on what others say about your company. Fortunately, you can also track each aspect of your company’s PR campaign. Many companies track the impact of their PR efforts by using the following types of software/applications:
- Media monitoring
- Web analytics
- Social media statistics
Are you interested in learning how your current SEO campaign is working out? Consider checking out Ahrefs. On the other hand, you might be wondering what people are saying about your company on social media? You might try using Buffer, a social media monitoring tool.
Don’t miss our expert guide on all of the digital marketing software you can use to automate your company’s PR strategies.
Wrapping things up
In closing, there are many reasons why so many businesses focus on the importance of PR. Feel free to use our budgeting strategies to your company’s advantage. Whether you work for a small business or large corporation, making changes to your company’s PR budget can make amazing results happen.