By Alima Atta  

How much to charge? How to charge? Quantifying PR has always been a challenge and is a topic of great debate and consternation for PR firms. We often have to defend our budgets because the general belief is that it is intangible and therefore should be cheap.  It is funny though how the same people will pay a management consultant an astronomical amount of money and in the same breath pay us a pittance.  We do pretty much the same job so how did PR end up at the bottom of the cost ladder?

Well, having worked in the industry for a while, it is safe to say that you can get a publicity/PR campaign within your budget but the reality is that your budget can determine how effective your campaign is. I say this to those who either do not have a budget in mind or who think that PR should be cheaply done.  You get what you pay for!   In the same breath I can also say that to get the most PR exposure you do not need to hire the most expensive PR agency; you should hire the most skilled or most efficient.

The cost of PR services is usually determined by two factors. The first one is the medium of communicating your objective/campaign which can be through the radio, TV, newspapers, sms, online platforms etc. Since we pay for broadcast media in Nigeria your agency should let you know upfront these extra costs so you are not surprised.  The second factor is the value of the effort and time put into brainstorming, developing, planning and implementing your campaign - hourly rate of the consultants.  My candid advice to individuals or organizations who want to employ the services of a professional PR consultant/firm is that you need to work with a PR firm that best reflects your business size. Most times their rates will be in line with your prospective PR budget. If you are a small business owner with two employees, you need not hire a high-dollar PR agency with dozens of employees. Sometimes you find a company you can grow with and it both serves you well because they understand you fully and mature with you.  In conclusion, any agency you choose to work with, big or small-, ensure that they have the necessary tools to make your campaign a success: solid track record, good media contacts, clipping and tracking services and the maturity/ability to cope with anything that is thrown in their way. After all, your money must work for you.

I hope you find this helpful.