Making the decision to hire external PR support is a big step. It can be daunting to figure out what type of agency size, structure and services you need.
The first thing you’ll want to look for is transparency in pricing. What is the agency doing with your budget? How do they invoice projects and what are you getting as far as time and expertise?
Here are a few insights into what you need to know about PR service fee structures.
Hourly vs. fixed fees vs. retainer
Some agencies offer either hourly or fixed fees for their services. Hourly is just as it sounds, the agency will track time spent to complete a task, such as writing a press release and then doing media relations or developing a social media strategy. These will then be bill based on the hours used to complete each task. If additional edits are required, these costs can creep up quickly.
A fixed fee will be a flat rate for a project. Often, an agency will share a specific price for each project that is agreed upon in advance helping you control your total costs.
Lastly, a retainer is a flat monthly rate and can be a very effective way to engage with an agency. With a retainer, you’ll know that every month your PR team is either providing a number of deliverables, hours or both to move the needle for your business. Retainers make it much easier for your PR agency to provide a selection of services, and for direction and projects to be greenlit at a rapid pace since a new contract or agreement doesn’t have to be negotiated for each project.
Some fee structures consider who is working on the project. For example, junior-level employees may have a different rate than senior leadership. So, when social media is being posted by an account manager, that could be invoiced at a lower amount than if senior management is working on strategy. These higher-level employees can be billed up to $500+ for their time. However, some agencies, like Beyond Fifteen, have a blended rate. This means that you can benefit from having senior leadership work closely on your account without the steep costs.
Mark-up for ad spend
Another thing that some agencies do is mark-up ad spend. For example, if the agency places $5,000 in Facebook ads, they will then mark-up the spend to the client at sometimes 10 to 20 percent. That means the media buy will end up costing the client $5,500-$6,000. Asking an agency about their policies for marking up ads or other out of pocket costs can be important in terms of how far your budget actually goes.
If you don’t know what to look for, it can be confusing to review PR agency service fee structures. In summary, some key take-aways are to find out if fees are hourly or fixed, if a retainer is available, if the agency charges different rates for different staff and if they mark-up ad spend. Finding out these significant pieces of information can help you make an educated decision.
Connect with us to learn more about working with Beyond Fifteen, our services and fee structure.