Maybe you’ve never hired a PR firm before, or maybe it’s been a while and you’re just unsure of what a PR agency costs. Either way, you’re asking yourself, “how much will a PR firm cost me?” Since PR usually falls within the marketing budget, let’s start there. To grow your position in the marketplace, a good marketing allocation is about 15% of revenue. In 2022, the average marketing budget for B2C brands was 13.7% of revenue, and for B2B brands, it was about 10% of revenue. So if you’re an average company, and you’re looking to maintain your position, you’re probably spending in that range. If you’re looking to dominate, your budget should be higher. Ambitious startups typically allocate between 12-17%. A typical breakdown might be 1/3 of the budget is advertising, 1/3 of the budget is content, and 1/3 of the budget is PR. Large international agency budgets can be $380,000 or more annually, while a mid-range agency budget typically clocks in at $156,000-$180,000 annually and a smaller agency budget would be $100,000 per year, a mid-range freelancer could be anywhere from $36,000-$100,000 a year . If you’re a CPG or DTC brand with a marketing spend of under $100,000, then you might consider consumer product PR sprints, which feature micro contracts that align with key buying seasons.  Hiring a PR agency is an investment, but considering PR converts ten to 50% better than advertising, PR is indeed a place where the ROI pays off.

 

So what goes into a PR agency’s fees?

 

According to Muck Rack’s 2021 State of PR report, the number one cost to a company to PR is the agency, which makes sense because unlike programmatic ad spending (a typical minimum is programmatic spend is $25,000/month), PR agencies rarely have a minimum spend or activation fee requirements outside their retainers.

 

PR agency rates increased, and in 2020, the average PR agency CEO billed $417 per hour, while VPs clocked in at $319 per hour and Account Managers billed $256 per hour. The average blended rate was $240 per hour. It’s safe to say that if your PR team has executive PR experience, and your agency spends an average of 10 person-hours per week on your account, your monthly retainer will be around $13,226 per month.

If you require more executive hours, your fees could go up. If you work mostly with a junior team, your rates could go down. Oftentimes, fees are different depending on your strategic objectives. For example, if you want to keep a firm on retainer for a few calls a month, and no proactive media outreach, your annual fees may be considerably less. If you are trying to secure investment or you’re pre IPO, you may find your fees are on the higher end of an agency’s fee structure.

It’s a balance to strike your budget with your goals, but when asked, I always give the same advice to CMO’s and startup founders. In 2020, 45% of companies increased their PR budget. If your budget is $400,000 or more per year, hire an agency that does $20 million+ in revenue. If your budget is $180,000 per year, hire a boutique PR firm, with less than $10 million in revenue. If your budget is $60,000 per year, don’t hire an agency, hire a freelancer.

Odwyer PR’s annual report shows rates increased considerably between 2019 and 2020, so if your agency didn’t raise its rates, you’re fortunate.

Agencies are notoriously reluctant to share minimum retainers, but in 2013, several agency executives did just that with PR Observer, an industry publication.

“To properly scope a client program and assign the proper team support, we feel $15,000 – $17,500 per month is a reasonable starting point.”Anne Green, President & CEO, CooperKatz & Company, Inc.

“Our retainers range from $7,500 – $50,000 or so. Crisis costs are different and generally charged by the hour with a $20,000 minimum.”—Ronn Torossian, Founder & President, 5WPR

“We have some clients that pay us $100,000 or so per year, some clients that pay us more than $100,000 per week, and many clients that pay us $100,000 or so per month.”— Mark Hass, President & CEO, Edelman United States

“Our clients generally pay between $15,000-$30,000 a month depending on the workload.”—Stu Loeser, Founder & President, Stu Loeser & Co.
So what’s typically included in a bespoke retainer rate? Well, again, that may depend on each agency’s specialty. For example, if your agency specialized in digital communications, you may find that social media content creation is included, but media relations are not. But the following services are a good rule of thumb to expect within our typical PR agency retainer:
  • Strategies about how to stand out from your competitors using PR
  • Internal and external communication strategies that match your growth goals.
  • Campaign development and creative activations for marketing opportunities.
  • Media relations, and securing regular media coverage, speaking engagements.
  • KPI and business impact reporting.
  • Copywriting such as press releases, speeches, white papers, and branded journalism.
  • PR crisis planning – but not necessarily crisis management.
  • Partnership strategy and potentially management such as cause, social impact, or purpose-driven PR initiatives.
  • Executive training, including media training, interview prep, and research or executive ghostwriting.
  • Content strategy for video, social media, and inbound leads.
  • Content creation oversight, including social media, photography sessions, and video development.
  • Poll or research development, implementing the poll may or may not be within the agency’s retainer.
  • Peer agency coordination, such as with branding or advertising agencies.
  • PR campaigns that “make the news,” are designed to create word-of-mouth or media opportunities.

For a complete list of what we would include in your PR retainer, reach out to us and tell us more about your business and your goals.

Hiring a PR agency is an investment, but considering PR converts ten to 50% better than advertising, PR is indeed a place where the ROI pays off.

Despite the challenges for cannabis brands, social media is important to them.

In 2005, just 5% of American adults were on at least one social media platform. By 2020, that number had risen to 72%. And as social media has become a ubiquitous part of modern life, social media marketing has, in many ways, become a virtual version of the storefront. It is vital to the success of retail operations in the United States.

However, the booming cannabis industry cannot capitalize on social media marketing the way that others can. Because cannabis has still not been legalized at the federal level, major social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn all limit cannabis companies’ ability to promote their product on social platforms. Each platform has a specific policy in place that limits the efficacy of cannabis marketing online.

Many cannabis companies and cannabis-adjacent companies have had their profiles deactivated and pages deleted without notice by various platforms, and still others have their ad accounts shut down when they try to post a promotional ad for their products.

This ultimately costs each business money and customers and reduces their visibility and reach online. Social media platforms police these businesses and the content they post, and it’s not unheard of for a company to alert the platforms’ administrators to a competitor’s post as an underhanded way to reduce the impact of their advertising.

But while cannabis brands face and will likely continue to face specific challenges in advertising their product until it is legal at the federal level, there are still ways that they can advertise themselves while operating within social media platforms’ stated parameters. Let’s take a look at some of the ways cannabis companies can appeal to the hundreds of millions of people on social media without risking deplatforming.

Traditional Advertising

While you can definitely still make use of social media advertising, you will need to tread carefully to ensure that you are not in violation of any of the platforms’ policies, which vary from service to service.

One possible loophole to the platforms’ blanket moratorium on cannabis advertising is to publish ads that are for educational purposes. By ensuring that the ad is not promotional and doesn’t link to a promotional page, you will have improved the chances that your ads will be approved by the powers that be. There are, obviously, limits to the effectiveness of an ad that doesn’t actually advertise, and you’ll need to get creative for it to be effective.

However, even if your ads are educational and created for advocacy purposes, Facebook could still try to shut down your ads account or your business page. They may argue that even though your ads were merely meant to be educational, they still promote cannabis use.

At the end of the day, ads are an option, but you must exercise extreme caution. Most cannabis companies do not have much success with traditional advertising on social media platforms, and the few that do are in an extremely fortunate minority.

Educational and Valuable Content

In order to develop your unique brand online, you should publish content that your target audience will value. Your focus should be on educational content that could be useful to your customers, rather than on promotional content.

Share useful data with your target audience and indirectly promote your brand through videos, posts, articles, and more that help bring visibility to your brand but don’t violate social media policies. Even customers of businesses that are permitted to post promotional content regularly post other types of content, including educational content, as most customers don’t want to follow companies who only promote their products and offer little that is informational or otherwise useful.

Engagement

Instead of focusing on promotion, you should focus on engaging with your current customers and your new potential customers. Don’t post information about your products or price info. Don’t publish any content that shows customers interacting with your products. Instead, concentrate on creating content that won’t violate the platform’s policies.

There are many types of engaging and entertaining content that can instill brand loyalty in your customers, such as tutorials, infographics, behind-the-scenes content at your place of business, and more. When consumers interact with this type of content, it puts a proverbial face to your name, increasing their trust in your brand, and helping them get to know your business better.

Earned Media Attention

One of the most important social media advertising opportunities for cannabis companies is earned media attention. When individuals share content that you published in other forums, on other social media platforms and elsewhere, you earn social media attention. And unlike running ads that may go against platform policies and get your page shut down, this publicity is entirely free. Generating word of mouth is one of the very best ways to bring in new customers.

The content that people talk about and are excited to share is content that is entertaining, informative, and authentic.

Some ways to generate this shareable content is through:

  • Blogging – If you are in the cannabis business, you should absolutely maintain a regular blog. Draft interesting blogs and then share your blog posts to your social media platforms so that your audience can easily find and share your blog content. Select topics that you think your audience will care about and remember to keep it educational and informative rather than promotional.
  • Videos – Blogs, of course, require consumers to engage with the written word. Many people prefer a visual format, which is why videos are such a great way to reach your target audience. In fact, if you have the resources, you could turn your blogs into video blogs for those who prefer to watch rather than read. You can also share video content across various social media platforms, from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Instagram. You might consider using videos to interview important individuals in the cannabis industry, educate your audience on the many different beneficial compounds found in cannabis besides the well-known THC, and advocate for the federal legalization movement.
  • Podcasts – Finally, you can use podcasts to promote your brand and reach your audience. Grab some recording equipment and use one of the numerous free apps to create your own podcast. Use the podcast to do an audio version of your blog, or to conduct interviews with influencers in the industry or activists who are leading the fight to legalize cannabis at the federal level. And of course, share that content across all of your social platforms.

If you run a cannabis business, it can be an uphill battle trying to leverage social media tools to promote your products online. But there are still ways that you can reach your target audience and increase engagement through these platforms.

Contact Avaans Media

If you are interested in learning more about how to use social media to your advantage as a cannabis business, or are seeking assistance building your brand, look no further than Avaans Media, recognized as a top cannabis PR agency. Our team has the experience and skills to help you develop a strong brand and increase your customer engagement through social media marketing. Contact us today to find out more.

One of the biggest mistakes that consumer packaged goods companies make is assuming that consumers are only interested in shallow, colorful, brightly designed packages. Consumers care about who makes their products and where they come from. Setting yourself apart in the crowded CPG market is about more than making a good visual impression. Loyalty and brand recognition come from carefully curating your image and making a connection with your target audience in a meaningful and positive way.

Hiring a purpose-driven PR firm can help hone your message to consumers. This type of firm can also place your message in strategically valuable media outlets to get a foothold in a competitive marketplace. Navigating these strategic PR campaigns can be labor-intensive. An experienced PR firm can provide the professional support you need for brand growth and visibility. Investing in a PR agency with CPG experience may be the right move for you, especially in today’s economic climate and competition.

What are CPGs?

CPG, or consumer packaged goods, are products that are consumed by customers regularly and require routine replacement. These types of goods generally have a short shelf life. CPGs include food items, clothing, makeup, cosmetic products, and household goods. The market may feel dominated by big-name brands with extensive marketing teams at their disposal. However, now is the right time for emerging brands to take advantage of PR to increase their brand awareness and visibility.

CPGs and Consumers

Consumer packaged goods companies are one of the largest manufacturing employers in the U.S. The industry itself contributes nearly $2 trillion to U.S. gross domestic product and generates $1.1 trillion in labor income. What does this mean for the industry itself? It means the industry is not only profitable but also highly competitive. Brands are consistently competing for the attention and the hard-earned dollars of everyday Americans. When store shelves are saturated with products, brand recognition becomes an important factor in relation to consumer buying habits.

Consumers buy brands they recognize and trust. This relationship between the brand and the consumer does not happen overnight. It develops over time through carefully crafted messages aimed at the right audience. Once a consumer develops brand awareness, they are more inclined to continue buying the product they know the most about. Good companies will continue to foster their relationship with consumers by the following approaches:

  • Staying in touch with their needs
  • Managing expectations
  • Generating targeted messages aimed at increasing consumer loyalty

Companies can adapt and market towards their target consumer base by keeping a finger on the pulse of consumer awareness and buying habits.

How PR Can Help CPG Companies

Any economy can experience supply chain issues, rising costs, and product shortages. These issues rarely leave a positive impression on the consumer. The rise of social media has shown us that misinformation or negative sentiments can quickly sour an individual’s image of a brand or company. As misinformation spreads, so do negative consumer responses. Now more than ever, companies need to take a proactive approach to communicate with consumers. PR firms can help CPG companies achieve their communication goals by leveraging their influence with media outlets and crafting stories that positively resonate with their audience.

Public relations agencies specialize in helping their clients generate and distribute information about their business. Public relations is sometimes lumped under the marketing umbrella. While the two share similar goals, they are not the same. Public relations agencies know how to leverage free media, which does not cost a company anything to distribute, unlike paid ads or spots.

PR firms can be crucial in helping CPG companies create purpose-driven, helping to increase brand recognition. Brand recognition helps companies stand out from the crowd and sets them apart from their competition. PR firms can also assist with story placement in local news, newspapers, magazines, and national news organizations, letting customers know that you are out there in the marketplace. With strategic PR campaigns, brand awareness grows and can translate into more sales. With continued PR saturation, what was once brand recognition turns into brand loyalty. One-time customers turn into repeat customers, and sales may continue to rise.

Another benefit of using a PR firm for free media is credibility. Consumers know that when a company pays money for a commercial, billboard, or web banner, they are looking at a carefully crafted image designed to get them to spend their money on the product. PR agencies work strategically to place stories in free media. Free media adds an air of credibility to a company because the company did not directly pay to get its message to the consumer. For example, a story airing on a local news station about a company’s recent good deeds in the community can give the company both brand recognition and credibility.

A skilled public relations firm with experience in the consumer packaged goods industry should be able to help you reach your goals by:

  • Increasing visibility and credibility
  • Increasing brand recognition and brand awareness
  • Strengthening customer relationships and building brand loyalty
  • Generating positive word of mouth
  • Building community relationships
  • Reducing repetitional risk
  • Meeting consumers communication needs

Strategically crafted public relations campaigns can help a CPG company connect with its target audience in more meaningful ways. Building an emotional connection between a consumer and a company is powerful. This connection can eventually translate into more sales and more repeat business for your CPG company.

During difficult times, the first thing that companies often cut from their budgets is marketing or PR. Right now, PR and marketing are the last elements of business that should be on the chopping block. The time is ripe to get your message out to invested consumers desiring authentic and sincere communication. Take this opportunity to connect with your consumer base on a deeper, more intentional level and see how it translates into a better consumer-client relationship.

If you are interested in what a PR agency can do for your CPG business, now is the perfect time to explore your options.

You don’t need to be an influencer or celebrity to make public relations work for you. Having a good PR team on your side can help a business increase its visibility, brand recognition, and bolster its reputation in the community. These things can eventually translate into more customers and a bigger slice of the proverbial pie.

However, hiring a PR team isn’t free. A PR agency is an investment. Before deciding if hiring a PR firm is the right move for you, consider what makes a PR team an asset. Then ask yourself if a PR team is worth it for your business. Having a clear vision of your short- and long-term objectives and goals will help you understand the desired direction of your business. When looking towards the future, you may be surprised at how much value the right agency can add to your image and your bottom line.

What is PR?

Public relations agencies are businesses that specialize in helping their clients craft and distribute information about their business or industry. However, this information is not distributed in the form of paid ads or commercials. It is essentially “free” media that doesn’t cost a company anything to circulate. Free media can include local news stories, national news stories, newspaper articles, or magazine articles. Stories can also be distributed via the Internet or certain social media outlets. This type of media allows customers to see information or stories about a business without the filter of product sales.

The goal of PR is to put the right message in front of the right people. By generating favorable media coverage, a PR firm can help a client cement their image in the minds of potential customers. A good PR strategy can build brand recognition and customer loyalty, adding value to a client’s business.

Why is PR Worth It?

Numerous factors can make PR worth the price of a good agency. However, what makes a PR firm is worth its weight depends on the client’s needs, goals, and overall objectives. You get from PR what you help put in. Outlining your values ahead of time and communicating your needs with a PR firm helps them understand what you want to get out of the relationship. From there, a PR team can craft a unique strategy that can help you reach your objectives and allow them to target the audience you hope to capture.

An important way that PR can help bolster a client’s business is through brand recognition and credibility. PR professionals understand which media outlets can help build credibility while simultaneously increasing their visibility in the community. A solid PR firm will then be able to pitch story ideas and distribute press releases to the outlets that may help give their client the clout they need.

For good or bad, a strong public relations team can use the power of words to change the hearts and minds of people. Placement of positive stories and positive messages about a client can help build trust and loyalty. When something traumatic or negative happens, a strategic PR firm may also attempt to mitigate potential damage to a brand or turn the incident into a humanizing moment. Crisis management is just as important to a brand as positive story placement. A solid PR firm should have experience with both skills.

Skilled Professionals Who Know the Business

Many businesses handle PR internally. This strategy may work for certain industries. However, if you are considering what makes a PR firm worth hiring, consider the skilled professionals they hire to fill their firms. Many current public relations specialists are former journalists. This is important to note because former journalists have inside information about the business. They tend to have a wealth of contacts in the media industry and know how to get a media outlet’s attention. From drafting compelling press releases that don’t end up in the trash bin, to reaching out to community contacts, they know how to leverage their contacts for the client’s benefit.

News stories come from a variety of different sources. Because of the saturation of information, it’s not enough to simply email a press release or event notice to someone these days. It takes carefully crafted communication, outreach, and tenacity to pitch stories and get them placed in the right outlets at the right times. Good PR professionals are transparent, proactive, and passionate about what they do. They want your continued business and will go the extra mile to make sure that you see the value they add to your business.

How Else Can PR Benefit a Business?

Contrary to popular belief, PR is more than just submitting press releases and sending out event invites. At its core, public relations is about good storytelling. It is about crafting compelling and engaging messages that linger with an audience and spur them into action. A skilled PR firm should have experience handling different tasks as well as monitoring and responding to new and emerging trends within a client’s specific industry. Generally, a solid public relations firm will understand how to handle the following:

  • Crafting press releases
  • Following up with media outlets
  • Writing pitches
  • Speech writing
  • Copywriting
  • Blog writing
  • Event planning
  • Strategic crisis management
  • Market research
  • Community engagement

With these elements in play, a PR firm can contribute to the success of a business by:

  • Increasing credibility
  • Increasing brand recognition
  • Enhancing a business’s public presence
  • Enhancing a business’s online presence
  • Generating positive word of mouth
  • Handling crisis situations
  • Building community and customer relationships

What do these contributions all translate into? For many businesses, they translate into increased growth and sales. New customers are drawn to the business while existing customers develop brand loyalty and keep coming back as repeat customers.

If you are looking to grow your business or remain competitive in a thriving marketplace, you may want to consider the benefits of hiring a PR agency. Spending money on a firm today may add tremendous value to your company tomorrow.

If the legalization of marijuana in a growing number of states has taught us anything, there will likely be an emerging market for other products like psychedelics, as interest grows in their recreational and medicinal benefits. The stigma around using psychedelics, while still present, is starting to shift. The potentially beneficial and pharmaceutical uses for magic mushrooms and other substances are increasingly evident, and the market will likely follow.

Some estimates indicate that the market for psychedelic drugs could grow into a $6.9 billion industry by the year 2027. As psychedelics continue to gain mainstream acceptance, psychedelic companies are still in their marketing and PR infancy. Getting in on the ground floor means investing in a PR campaign today that could solidify your status as a psychedelic authority and leader in the industry in the future as it grows.

The psychedelic industry is a sophisticated enterprise that still suffers from stereotypes and misinformation. It’s much more than mushrooms, black lights, and velvet posters. A strategic PR campaign can help transform this image. It can also lend credibility to what should be considered the next big untapped drug market brimming with potential. As companies continue to grow and gain access to more capital, the opportunity for an IPO, or initial public offering, emerges. A strategic PR campaign can help push these companies into the big leagues.

Why Do Psychedelic Companies Need to Think About PR Now?

The legalization of marijuana has spurred new ways of thinking about old drugs. Psychedelics are getting a fresh look from both the public and private sectors. Researchers are uncovering promising data about the potential for these drugs to treat mental disorders such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety. With greater mainstream acceptance comes more pressure on government entities to decriminalize psychedelics and cannabis, both on state and federal levels.

The best time for psychedelic companies to capitalize on changing consumer sentiment is right now. Much of the emerging psychedelic industry is still in its infancy. When a substance is still considered illegal in much of the country, a stigma will obviously exist. The status of mushrooms and some psychedelics as Schedule 1 drugs also create major hurdles for companies when it comes to marketing. Changing the tide of both patient and political bias needs to happen now.

A strategic PR campaign can aid psychedelic companies in normalizing the conversation about psychedelics and help establish them as respected industry leaders. Changing the narrative on psychedelics doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a concerted effort to get the attention of policymakers and patients alike. PR professionals are uniquely positioned to help psychedelic companies leverage media coverage for a positive effect.

What is PR?

PR professionals specialize in helping companies get free media placement. Free media is media that does not require the company to pay for its distribution. Examples of this type of media include local news outlets, national news outlets, magazines, newspapers, and websites.

PR agencies tend to employ former journalists who have extensive contacts in the media industry. These professionals also know what it takes to pitch a story and what outlets are looking for in the source material.

What Can PR Do for Companies in the Psychedelic Industry?

The possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to what PR can do for the psychedelic industry. PR is a valuable tool in helping change the narrative about psychedelics. A PR agency can help a business craft a compelling and strategic messaged aimed at consumers or policymakers. The firm can then take that message to media sources for potential coverage. These outlets can distribute the story and help boost a company’s brand recognition within the psychedelic industry. Since this media coverage is not paid for, like commercials and ads, it also helps increase a company’s credibility.

Media coverage can also help shape future policies. It is essential to steer the conversation about psychedelics away from the negative and stigmatic image of drugs and towards more beneficial and informative coverage. Experienced PR agencies are experts at communicating. They understand crisis management and how to take potentially negative information and transform it into teaching moments. Although the conversation about marijuana and psychedelics is evolving, there is still work to be done when it comes to helping the industry shed problematic stereotypes.

It is also crucial to note that while change may seem slow to come, the needle is moving in a more accepting direction. It is easier to establish yourself as a reputable psychedelic company now and get in on the ground floor than it is to claw your way to the top of a crowded marketplace. Getting involved with a PR firm early gives you a head start when it comes to brand recognition, building credibility in the industry, and developing a loyal following and potential customer base. Your company can emerge as an industry leader just as other companies are attempting to jump on the bandwagon. Investing in PR today is investing in the future reputation of your business.

If these factors aren’t enough, consider what else a reputable PR firm can do for you:

  • Craft a brand story
  • Help establish you as a psychedelic industry leader
  • Generate visibility and brand recognition
  • Pitch stories that can help influence the public and policymakers
  • Help change the narrative surrounding psychedelic drugs
  • Target your key audience
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Build community relationships

Good public relations teams don’t sit back and wait for you to have news. They help strategize ways to make news. PR should not be passive. PR should be proactive in any market and help companies make their mark and shape the industry. A company’s needs for positive PR in the psychedelic industry are no different.

Whether you are a public or private psychedelic company, now is the time to start thinking about your image. With the help of an experienced PR team, you have the power to build your brand and mold the future of the psychedelic industry. The psychedelic business could quickly become the next big industry to experience hyper-growth. Getting started with PR early means you will have a strategic advantage over the competitors that wait to enter the market.

Calling Cannabis Influencers

We’re a cannabis PR firm that works with fast-growing and hyper-growth cannabis brands.

Since 2015 our team has helped build some of the most notable cannabis brands in the United States.

Cannabis influencers continue to work well with other cannabis marketing initiatives.

If you are a cannabis influencer or you are looking to break into the cannabis influencer space, we’d like to hear from you. If you’re a good match for any of our cannabis influencer campaigns, we will be in touch.

Thanks for letting us get to know you better!