What's the actual cost of a press release?
This is a question a lot of PR consultants, along with small and mid-sized agencies, are frequently asked. "Press release cost" is actually is one of the top searches when it comes to public relations, too.
The short answer is that you’re asking the wrong question.
A press release is just a tool. And sometimes, it’s not necessary for the job at hand.
Depending on who you as, you could get a press release for as little as $20 (thank you Fiverr!) or much, much more. On a budget? Spend $500 to have a release written, put it over a free or paid newswire, or send via one of those “lists” you can buy from database experts, and watch the media coverage come rolling in! That could be your entire press release cost right there.
The goal of your PR campaign is (or should be) to secure influential editorial coverage in the media. And it often takes more than a ConstantContact email blast to do so. So what’s that worth?
If I had a hammer…
Again, the press release is just a tool. I can buy a hammer at my local hardware store. That doesn’t mean I can design a house. Note that I didn’t say build a house.
I do know how to swing a hammer. But designing a house is much different than hammering a nail into wood. And to be honest, I don’t know much about nails, so not being an expert, I may buy the wrong nails for the job at hand. All nails are not created equal!
There’s a chance that your press release isn’t even the right tool for the job. Maybe you need a wrench, cement mixer or a laser…If you are someone who has never worked in construction and designed a house, you could easily buy the wrong tools.
And that’s why you hire an architect and their team of skilled contractors.
When building your PR house, you’re going to want someone, or a team, to design it with a strategy in mind that will meet your goals. In the PR world, we often link that under the umbrella of a campaign. And what no budget conscious client wants to hear is that this campaign will cost you more than just hiring someone to swing a hammer for you.
So how much for a campaign?
Hopefully you’ve changed your mindset from thinking about the cost of a press release are asking “What’s the cost of a campaign?” Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer to that question either. It’s similar to asking what the cost of a car is.
It depends on your needs, desires and usage scenarios.
Do you need all-wheel drive? A sunroof? Room for five? A Land Rovers and Jeep Wrangler can go off-road, but they’re very different cars and offer different experiences. Honda Civics are incredibly reliable, but they’re not the fastest cars off the line. But maybe you don’t need the fastest car on the block. Or an ignition that turns on with a retinal scan. Maybe you only need to go fast enough to get to work on time, and that’s ok!
Good, results-oriented (you do want results, right?) PR campaigns require effort and patience. Sure, you may land incredible media coverage right off the bat.
I’ll be the first to share with you case studies where we knocked it out of the park in the first week, securing coverage that led to immediate and traceable sales or phone calls to the CEO’s office. It happens for sure. But the reality is, usually it takes months to build momentum, if not longer.
The secret to securing great news coverage isn’t a golden hammer, killer media list or over incredibly well written press release. It’s reaching out to the right reporters with a story idea relevant to their coverage topic. And architecting a strategy to make it happen.
All of that said, if you really just want a hammer, I’m happy to sell one to you.
I just want you to understand that even the best hammer out there won’t magically build you a house overnight.
Bill Byrne is a veteran PR pro with serious disdain for people who call themselves gurus or ninjas, unless they’re spiritual leaders or feudal Japanese mercenary. In the last 20 years Bill has worked with a diverse range of brands, ranging from the youth marketing space to financial entities, tech products, general consumer goods, along with beer brands and snowboard companies. A former NYC agency guy, he spent years in the Manhattan offices of Cohn & Wolfe and PainePR before eventually co-founding Remedy Communications in San Diego.
Photo via Pixabay