Pay As You Go
Tired of fat PR agency retainers? Pay-for-placement firms like Annie Jennings PR (www.anniejenningspr.com) offer an attractive alternative. The firm bills only when it's scored a story in one of your "wish list" media. Fees are based on the medium's reach, the contact information included and other factors. A feature in a daily paper may run about $1,500, while an interview on the Today show could hit $6,000.
Reed Byrum, president and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America, cautions that before hiring a pay-for-placement firm, ask:
- Who is my audience? Customers, financial contacts and other audiences may all want different information.
- Are results guaranteed? No reputable company will promise placements.
- Is this company communicating my key messages? Or are they just sending anything that will get picked up? Annie Jennings PR usually adjusts fees based on the value of the placement to the client. Firms differ in their policies, so shop around. Primetime Publicity and Media Consulting Corp. (www.ptpublicity.com) and PR firm Jadis Communications (www.jadisinc.com) are two more options to consider.
Got media lists? If not, online media directory Contacts on Tap (www.contactsontap.com) serves up about 60,000 U.S. contacts, including key personnel at newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, radio and television stations, and wire services. Sample the service through its 15-day free trial. After that, a single-user annual subscription to the database costs $395. (The site's sharp-witted editorial on topics such as PR tips and tactics is free.) Add an extra $300 to your tab for Premium service, and you can export the contacts into a database, spreadsheet, contact management or label program. Send in a competitor's 2003 or 2004 media directory, and they'll comp you an extra $95.
Gwen Moran is a consultant and writer specializing in marketing. Reach her at email@example.com.