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If your consumer brand is at a point in its journey where you’re wondering how to get featured in magazines, then it’s time to consider consumer PR. Many consumer brands have been successfully created through marketing and advertising, but the evolution from an ambitious challenger brand to a category leader is only possible with the power of PR.

So, you’ve gotten as far as wondering how to get your product featured in magazines, but you haven’t gotten as far as figuring out exactly how to start getting there. That’s where the Avaans consumer PR cheat sheet comes in.

In addition to outlining what you can expect from engaging an experienced consumer PR agency for your consumer brand, this article supplies a PR dos and don’ts list to help first-timers understand how to begin their PR journey.

The significance of PR in consumer brand authority

While paid advertising and other marketing techniques are the triggers that push consumers to buy your product, PR is the thing that gives people confidence in your brand. Here’s a fictional example to explain the critical difference.

People are bombarded by digital ads every few seconds. Let’s say your product is a magnesium supplement for muscle recovery and restful sleep. Your innovative branding, packaging, and even the product itself are deserving of headlines. You know that – but your prospective customer doesn’t. They’re going to Google magnesium supplements and, for the next four days, will be buried under a slew of online ads for every magnesium-based pill, powder, and potion under the sun.

But, here’s the difference that PR makes – after people see your ad and research your product, they’ll see that it’s been published in trusted publications. Now, the next time they see an ad, they’re that much more likely to purchase your product instead of a competitor’s.

That’s because PR creates authority, authority inspires trust, and trust builds customer loyalty. It’s like a burr effect – PR makes sure that the seed of your brand sticks in a prospect’s mind until they see an ad for your product, which acts as the trigger to purchase. PR gets you to the table, and marketing closes the deal. You need them both, but PR is the thing that will create the burr effect.

The power of media coverage for brand awareness

While PR is by no means limited to print and digital media, it would be unwise to discount the importance of a well-placed media feature in a publication that aligns with your brand identity and your target audience. A media feature is an evergreen asset that works just as hard as a backlink to your site as it does on a pitch deck for prospective investors, for much longer than the average marketing asset at that.

Plus, the tagline “as featured on [insert brand-matched publication]” becomes a coveted endorsement that fortifies the trustworthiness of your brand, differentiating and often elevating it above the competition. Finally, getting your product featured in magazines is a smart way to increase brand awareness in market verticals that aren’t currently being targeted by your current marketing strategy.

The dos and don’ts of consumer product PR: how to get featured in magazines

So, you want to know how to get your product featured in magazines? This PR cheat sheet will give you a brief overview of dos and don’t that media relations experts consider essential.

Do be prepared to send out product samples (for free)

If you want journalists to write about your product, you have to show them how it works. Sending samples is a standard practice of exposing the press to your product so that they can write about it in their publication.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a quid pro quo exchange. Sending a sample is not a guarantee that the journalist will feature your product in the next issue, though it certainly helps with brand stickiness (remember the burr effect?). Journalists don’t work for you; but, they can help your PR work very hard for you. What is guaranteed is without sending a sample, your product will not get featured in a magazine.

Getting Featured in a Magazine: Don’t treat the press like the enemy

Unless you’re dealing with hyper-specific circumstances in which an investigative journalist is doing their job, the press is not angling for a “gotcha!” moment – they’re angling for a story that their readers want to read. You can drop your guard. Respect your interviewer’s time, come to the interview prepared, and approach the exchange with the same degree of professionalism that you would in a meeting with an investor or a dream client.

Do manage your own expectations and timelines with fluidity

PR is a powerful tool, but it’s not magic. An accomplished boutique PR agency will have the capacity and expertise to shoot for the moon with audacity and accuracy in equal parts, but first-timers should make peace with the idea of landing among the stars. Either way, PR is designed to take your brand to new heights.

It’s also useful to bear in mind that, because your PR team works quite closely and fluidly with a vast network of fast-moving journalists, you might need to make quick decisions about your availability for interviews and product features.

Don’t sign up for a long-term commitment if you don’t need to

Committing to the high ROI of PR efforts shouldn’t have to mean committing to high-intensity, long-term plans. For consumer product brands who want to develop a punchy product pitch, or simply want to sample the power of PR without taking the plunge, a micro PR contract could be the answer and a way to get featured in a magazine.

Enter the race with an Avaans PR sprint

PR can be a sprint, not a marathon. Avaans Media offers seasonal micro PR sprints for consumer product brands who are new to PR, want to launch a new product, or want to reduce their PR budget by up to 80%. Get in touch today.

As you start to consider the impact of PR on your consumer brand, it’s easy to look at its value through a traditional marketing or advertising lens. Granted, paid media may be easier to track and measure regarding ROI, but that doesn’t negate the significance of consumer PR and its ability to expose your business to powerful publicity.

However, as with all investments, to warrant additional spend towards a PR budget, you need to look at the quantifiable metrics and outcomes of working with a top-rated PR firm.

So, how can you measure PR and its effectiveness and what do consumer brands need to know about measuring public relations for consumer brands?

The importance of intentional investment

How you measure PR is intricately linked to your business outcome goals and how well your PR firm understands them. Expert PR firms show you how specific outcomes align with your goals and objectives.

Measuring public relations for consumer brands is about knowing where you want to end up. When it comes to gauging whether or not your consumer brand will benefit from hiring a PR firm, it’s essential first to understand that you may need to alter your ‘measuring stick’ used for calculating earned media value because your value depends on your specific outcomes. For example, a brand that wants to be acquired differs from a startup brand. Each growth phase is important, and PR’s role in each is valuable, but exactly HOW valuable depends on the importance of the goal. In other words, although businesses can track their earned media value, there is no set rule on how to effectively measure it as with paid performance measures.

That said, the reality is paid media offers satisfying dashboards and stats like click-thru rates, but it doesn’t tell you what’s holding back your consumer brand from going further; how could the advertising be more effective? How could you product be more beloved? That’s PR’s job, and that’s why it’s important to have both paid and earned media strategies.

However, a few best practices can help increase the impact, reach, and overall effectiveness of earned media.

Some value will depend on the media coverage your brand gets and by whom; placement in a national publication your customers read is far more valuable than a national publication your customers don’t read. There’s more to it, though; is it newsworthy and shareable? Do you share the article with competitors? Where in the article does your brand appear? Is it written by an authoritative lens or a credible industry thought leader? How can you use the final piece in your marketing? These questions need to be answered before effectively measuring your PR.

Ultimately, working with a top PR firm will allow you to develop the required baselines and KPIs for your unique goals so you can see the impact on your bottom line.

Through this collaborative approach, PR professionals can better create a strategy for effective and long-lasting success, communicating the ways to track revenue increases from PR outcomes with you in a way that’s clear and confident.

For example, if your goals are more sales-orientated, your PR strategy may be based on seasonality or product launches. If your objective is to build brand awareness, the focus of your PR strategy may be to gain exposure through thoughtfully crafted press releases. The outcomes could then include anything from a merger/acquisition, an IPO, or venture funding.

That’s where we come in.

At Avaans, we use emerging trends, hard data, and emotional intelligence to create compelling consumer PR campaigns for brands.

Our PR sprint program is all about fast-moving tactics and fast results, specifically for consumer brands who want product-focused PR. Contact us today; we’re consumer PR experts, and let’s talk about goals, metrics, and media coverage.

Consumer brand communications hinges on one core goal: getting in front of the right audience. However, for many businesses, this rarely surpasses the stage of paid media marketing. Could this be due to the fact that many companies feel out of their depth when it comes to strategically navigating the space beyond paid media coverage? An example is the perplexity around common marketing terminology like paid and earned media. So paid vs earned media, what’s the deal?

Although this may seem like semantics to some, the reality is that earned media coverage, specifically from reputable or industry-specific journals, carries unparalleled weight in the eyes of potential clients, partners, and investors. Although this doesn’t negate the power of paid media, businesses can’t afford to cast it in the same bucket and ignore its strategic brilliance.

In this piece, we’re looking at the difference between ‘earned’ and ‘paid’ media and how understanding the unique characteristics of each can help elevate industry visibility, drive growth, and craft compelling narratives that help consumer brands excel over competitors.

What is paid media?

Paid media refers to marketing or advertising forms that companies pay for directly. The exposure is purchased. Although it’s often considered low-hanging fruit, it remains an essential staple of a healthy, balanced PR and content strategy.

One of the key differentiators between paid and earned media is that in paid media, businesses control some elements, including content (which is often still editorially approved). Still, it varies from advertising spots in that there are no variables for targeting or reach criteria. However, because it’s paid content, you know the piece will run. Once approved, it’s guaranteed. Formats include media types such as sponsored posts, native ads, and, sometimes, social influencer campaigns.

This makes it particularly great for establishing a startup brand. Paid media excels in providing context and awareness, especially when running paid ad campaigns alongside sponsored content.

Almost all successful consumer brands have some sort of paid media campaigns and purchase exposure to help reach a wider audience and increase their brand visibility. Today’s readers understand sponsored content; they accept it when the content is good, but they also understand it differs from earned media coverage. Why? Sponsored content lacks one key area: trust.

Enter earned media.

What is earned media?

Earned media is essentially any third-party-generated media coverage, publicity, content, or conversation around your brand (that’s not paid for). Think of earned media as the digital form of ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing, except the conversation comes from significant industry thought leaders and authoritative lenses, making it far more trustworthy than traditional advertising or paid content. Naturally, this can have a considerable impact on your marketing efforts and increase consumer brand recognition.

This type of media coverage refers to the exposure, validation, or recognition a brand receives from an impartial third party. Traditionally, earned media existed in the shape of news outlets or interviews. However, it can come in many forms in today’s landscape, such as thoughtfully crafted press releases, expert commentary, bylined articles, reviews, and media shares.

The catch? Achieving valuable earned media coverage doesn’t happen overnight.

Building brand trust is a marathon, not a sprint. Although you can do short-term PR campaigns based on seasonality or product launches, the most valuable ROI-driven PR comes from consistency.

The value of earned media

Inarguably, earned media creates the highest trust between your brand and your ideal audience. It’s sincere, credible, and authoritative. How? Ultimately, earned media relies heavily on successful narratives to third parties. To do this, businesses must establish credibility, trust, and working relationships with journalists, bloggers, and other third parties – and PR firms make that introduction much easier. However, journalists will need to see brands “do as they say” before they trust the brand enough to include them in a story or write a story about the brand. Needless to say, this doesn’t happen overnight and, despite best efforts, can yield little results without professional guidance and support. Still, this limitation isn’t enough reason to remove the value of earned media from your communications plan.

Although ‘earned media’ requires more work (more consistently) – it doesn’t have to be your job.

Which is why we’re here.

Earning the victory with Avaans media

At Avaans Media, we understand that in a competitive environment, not all businesses have the time and resources to commit to a long-term PR engagement.

That’s why we’ve created PR sprints that boost our clients towards earned media victory.

Think fast-moving tactics and fast results.

Our sought-after PR sprints are specifically designed for businesses in the consumer product space, including CPG and consumer tech, that want us to introduce their products to our deep well of media contacts for earned media opportunities.

Get instant visibility and credibility and start introducing your products to the press with our short-term product PR program.

Consumers no longer prefer brands that incorporate environmental initiatives – they demand it. It is no longer a novel feature reserved for what was once labeled ‘eco’ brands but is widely expected from consumers regardless of the industry. Still, there is additional pressure on consumer brands within the health, lifestyle, pharma, skin, and wellness sectors to prioritize sustainable, social, and environmentally conscious practices. So it’s important to know the difference between purpose-driven PR vs greenwashing.

But there’s still a critical gap between legitimately incorporating sustainable and social initiatives and how you communicate this to consumers. Cue purpose driven PR, your brand communication strategy that allows you to leverage the brand recognition and awareness that specific eco-friendly values hold for your company. But brands beware – despite best intentions, without careful execution and communication, your attempts may be misinterpreted as ‘greenwashing.’ Here’s what you need to know about the latter and how to avoid it at all costs.

What is Purpose Driven PR?

Purpose-driven PR encompasses the earned media coverage around a brand relevant to its corporate social responsibility. This content can include anything from the industry’s involvement in climate change and sustainability initiatives to any eco-friendly switches the company makes (like in packaging, shipping, or manufacturing). Investing in successful purpose driven PR strategies, however, goes far beyond improving consumer loyalty to their brands.

In fact, according to a recent poll of 1,048 Americans, 55% stated that they would spend extra on sustainable and eco-friendly products. On the contrary, 4 in 10 said they are likely to boycott companies that aren’t as committed to turning green – a definitive motivation from a sales perspective. Even more so from a brand awareness standpoint, as proven in a new global analysis commissioned by WWF, indicating a 71 percent increase in internet searches for sustainable goods internationally over the last five years.

Some refer to it as ‘the eco-wakening,’ but be forewarned, despite the advantages of purpose-driven PR from a business perspective – consumers are as quick as ever to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a.k.a’ greenwashing.’

When it becomes ‘greenwashing’

Greenwashing is the antithesis of purpose-driven PR and refers to brands leveraging the economic value of purpose-driven initiatives and related PR without necessarily genuinely living up to the standards. However, it’s important to remember that this may not always be intentional. Often, consumer brands are labeled as ‘greenwashing’ due to a lack of knowledge on how to approach purpose-driven PR successfully. One example of this may be consumer brands who use vague language concerning their eco-friendly product, such as ‘all-natural’ or ‘made with clean products’ or ‘recycled materials’ instead of descriptive, informative, and transparent language. They avoid transparency around their supply chain and focus on a tiny sustainable change to distract from other harmful practices while overlooking the company’s broader environmental impact.

How brands can avoid greenwashing

Recent studies on U.S. consumers revealed an ever-increasing trust gap between consumers and brands, especially pertaining to sustainability. In fact, merely 38 percent of surveyed consumers believe brands and their promises concerning environmental sustainability. There is a dire need for credible, authoritative, third-party publicity to bridge the trust gap and establish your brand as a true north regarding its green messaging. This is where appropriate PR strategies can play a significant role.

In the interim, there are a few things consumer brands can keep in mind to avoid greenwashing, such as utilizing deliberate, clear, and accurate language and avoiding generic assertions such as “organic” unless the product is certified organic.

But there’s a catch.

Conversely, consumers are attracted to simple, jargon-free sustainability messages that connect directly to them, their families, and the world around them.

By keeping this in mind, consumers must find a natural and healthy balance between communicating authentically and accurately without becoming so far removed from their ideal consumer’s frame of reference.

Our opinion? If you can’t prove it, don’t use it. But you have to be a part of the conversation, or it’s only a matter of time before your competitors surpass you.

The landscape of consumer marketing and PR is perpetually shifting, with the direct-to-consumer (DTC) models marking one of the most significant trends in recent years. This model, particularly within the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector, has transformed how brands connect with and sell to customers. By bypassing traditional retail channels, DTC CPG companies are reshaping consumer expectations and experiences. Integral to this transformation is the role of public relations.

As a cornerstone of communication strategies, PR helps DTC CPG brands build an image, communicate with audiences directly, and craft narratives that resonate in a crowded marketplace.

Understanding the nuances of DTC CPG public relations is essential for startups and established brands alike. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive guide to this dynamic field, offering insights into its history, what it entails, the benefits, and current trends, including the recognition of top consumer PR agencies and the impact of accolades like the Inc. Power Partners Awards.

The History and Evolution of Consumer Public Relations

Historically, consumer public relations revolved around garnering media attention for products typically found on retail shelves in various departmental stores. Brands would strive to secure coverage in print media, television, and, more recently, digital platforms to influence consumer behavior. The aim was to boost visibility and credibility through third-party endorsements from the media.

However, over the years, as the DTC model has risen, the focus of consumer product PR has expanded heavily. Now, it’s not just about getting a product mentioned in the online or offline media; it’s more about forging a direct line of communication and trust with consumers, fostering a community around a brand, and using storytelling to differentiate products in a saturated market.

The evolution of PR in the CPG sector is closely linked to the emergence of the DTC model. As technology advanced, it provided an opportunity for brands to sell directly to consumers online, bypassing traditional retail middlemen. This DTC approach offered numerous benefits, including greater control over brand messaging, direct customer feedback, and higher profit margins.

Key Components of Consumer PR

  • Media Relations: Securing coverage in both traditional and new digital media.
  • Influencer Partnerships: Collaborating with influencers to tap into their follower base.
  • Content Marketing: Creating valuable content that resonates with the target audience.
  • Social Management: Engaging and managing the overall brand image on social platforms.
  • Crisis Management: Preparing for and responding to any negative issues or press.

The Role of Public Relations for Consumer Products

The public relations model for DTC CPG brands offers a myriad of benefits, altering how these brands approach marketing and customer engagement. From the control of branding to the nimble response to market shifts, DTC CPG PR paves the way for a more intimate brand-consumer rapport.

Enhanced Brand Control

DTC operations empower brands with unprecedented control over their narrative. This autonomy in branding and messaging ensures that the public image remains undiluted. Direct sales to consumers eliminate intermediaries, granting DTC brands the authority to craft their reputation with precision, aligning every campaign and communication with the brand’s ethos and long-term strategic vision.

Customer Data Insights

The DTC approach facilitates direct communication, yielding rich customer data. This data is the lifeblood of targeted PR campaigns, offering insights into consumer behaviors. Leveraging this information means PR initiatives can be exceptionally tailored, ensuring that every message resonates deeply with the intended audience and increasing campaign efficacy and consumer engagement.

Agility and Flexibility

The agility afforded to DTC CPG companies is unparalleled. They can pivot with alacrity, adapting PR strategies in real time to address market fluctuations or consumer sentiment shifts. This responsiveness is invaluable in maintaining relevance and momentum in the fast-paced CPG landscape, ensuring that PR efforts remain aligned with current trends and customer expectations.

Authentic Customer Relationships

The cornerstone of DTC PR is forging genuine connections with customers. Engaging consumers directly not only personalizes their experience but also cements long-standing relationships for years to come. These authentic interactions are a fundamental component of successful PR, as they foster trust and loyalty, which are critical in converting one-time buyers into lifelong brand advocates.

The Role of Top Consumer PR Agencies

Top consumer PR agencies play a pivotal role in shaping the success of DTC CPG brands. These agencies specialize in understanding consumer behavior and crafting messages that connect with target audiences. They also have the expertise to navigate the digital landscape, where much of the DTC interaction takes place. Moreover, recognition through reputed platforms such as the Inc. Power Partners Awards (IPPA) can catapult a public relations agency to the forefront of the industry.

Consumer Marketing Trends and Influence on PR

As the DTC CPG sector evolves, so do the marketing trends that shape it. PR strategies must adapt to these CPG Marketing Trends to stay effective. Some current trends include the following:

Personalization

In the era of data-driven marketing, personalization has become the linchpin of customer engagement. Brands that harness consumer data to tailor communications see a substantial increase in connection and conversion. Personalized PR campaigns resonate more deeply, resulting in a more meaningful dialogue between brand and consumer and fostering a sense of individual attention.

Sustainability

Now more than ever, consumers demand transparency and responsibility from brands. A commitment to sustainability is not just ethical but also resonates with the values of a growing eco-conscious audience. Effective PR strategies communicate this commitment, demonstrating a brand’s dedication to sustainable practices and its role in driving positive environmental change.

Technology Utilization

Innovative technology such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are transforming brand experiences. By integrating these technologies, PR campaigns offer immersive experiences. This showcases a brand’s innovation and modernity, creating memorable interactions that can elevate the consumer’s journey and deepen brand affinity.

Community Building

Building a community goes beyond transactional relationships; it cultivates a sense of belonging among consumers. When CPG brands focus on community building, they nurture brand advocates and create a loyal customer base. PR strategies that encourage community engagement contribute to a supportive ecosystem where loyalty is strengthened, and consumer insights are gleaned.

Steps to Build a Successful Consumer PR Strategy

In the fast-paced world of DTC CPG brands, an effective PR strategy is a crucial component for success. It requires careful planning and execution. Here, we outline the fundamental steps necessary to construct a PR strategy that resonates with your audience and amplifies your brand message.

Define Objectives

Setting clear objectives is the compass that guides your PR campaign. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This provides direction for all PR activities, ensuring that every effort is aligned with what the brand actually aims to accomplish, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, launching new products, or entering new markets.

Understand the Audience

Grasping the nuances of your target audience is crucial. Believe it or not, this basic understanding goes beyond demographics to psychographics – the interests, behaviors, and preferences that define them. Knowing your audience informs the tone, content, and direction of your PR messaging, ensuring that it resonates on a deeper level and genuinely connects with those you aim to reach.

Craft the Message

A compelling message is the heartbeat of your PR strategy. It should encapsulate your brand values, emphasize your ethos, highlight your unique selling propositions, and speak directly to consumer interests. This message must be consistent across all platforms yet adaptable enough to remain relevant in various contexts and formats, ensuring it engages and inspires action and drives results.

Choose the Right Channels

Selecting appropriate channels is critical to ensuring your message reaches your intended audience. This decision should be informed by where your audience is most receptive to communication. Whether it’s engaging through social media, targeted email campaigns, influencer collaborations, or traditional media outlets, choosing the right channels maximizes the impact of your PR efforts.

Measure and Adapt

The only way to gauge the success of a PR campaign is through diligent measurement. First things first, utilize analytics to track reach, engagement, and conversion. This data provides insights into what’s working and what isn’t, allowing for real-time adjustments. Adapting your strategy based on these metrics ensures continuous improvement and a greater return on your PR investment.

Launching a CPG Startup with Effective PR

Launching a CPG startup in the DTC space requires a robust PR strategy. Therefore, startups must establish a strong brand identity, create buzz around their product launches, and maintain momentum through sustained PR efforts. Key considerations for a CPG startup include:

Budget Efficiency

For a CPG startup, it’s essential to craft a PR strategy that delivers maximum impact without overstretching financial resources. This means identifying cost-effective methods, such as leveraging organic social media reach or securing earned media coverage, to build brand awareness. Efficient budgeting can lead to significant returns on investment, driving growth even with limited funds.

Media Savviness

Gaining media attention is pivotal for a CPG startup. It’s about crafting stories that resonate with journalists and their audiences. With resources often limited, startups must be cunning, using newsworthy angles and timely pitches to break through the noise. Understanding the media landscape is critical to securing coverage that can catapult a brand from obscurity to recognition.

Digital Focus

A digital-first approach is indispensable for a CPG startup looking to make waves in the DTC sector. This involves a strategic presence on social media, content marketing, and influencer partnerships to amplify reach. Focusing on digital allows for detailed targeting and analytics, enabling startups to efficiently reach and engage with the desired audiences and track the success of their campaigns.

Challenges and Opportunities in DTC CPG Public Relations

While consumer PR presents many opportunities, it’s not without its challenges. Some include:

  • Necessity of holistic storytelling that resonates on multiple levels.
  • Imperative for unparalleled customer service that bolsters public perception.
  • Critical need for efficient logistics to fulfill customer expectations.
  • Essential management of customer data to tailor and refine PR efforts.
  • Immense growth opportunities for those who skillfully navigate the PR landscape.
  • Potential for deepened brand affinity through effective communication and engagement.

The Future of DTC CPG PR

The horizon of DTC CPG PR is expected to shimmer with innovation as brands leverage cutting-edge technologies to enhance consumer engagement. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will transform brand storytelling, offering immersive experiences that could deepen emotional connections with consumers, turning casual browsers into loyal and vocal brand ambassadors.

On the other hand, as data analytics become increasingly sophisticated, DTC CPG PR strategies will likely become more personalized, predictive, and preemptive. PR campaigns will be crafted using insights gleaned from big data, enabling brands to anticipate consumer needs and trends, thereby delivering relevant content that resonates with the target audience at just the right moment.

Finally, sustainability and authenticity will become the cornerstones of future DTC CPG PR efforts. Consumers are gravitating towards brands that not only talk the talk but also walk the walk in terms of ecological and social responsibility. Transparent and genuine public relation narratives that align with a brand’s ethical actions will foster ultimate trust and loyalty in a competitive market.

To conclude, DTC CPG public relations represents a dynamic and integral facet of brand strategy in the modern marketplace. From the strategic insights provided by top consumer PR agencies to the innovations recognized by the Inc. Power Partners Awards, the field is both challenging and rich with opportunity. As CPG marketing trends continue to evolve, so too must the approaches to consumer product PR. At the end of the day, for any notable brand, particularly a CPG startup, navigating this space with a strong and adaptable PR strategy can make all the difference.

Elevate Your DTC CPG Brand with Avaans Media’s Expert PR Services

For emerging industries and hyper-growth companies looking to navigate the complexities of DTC CPG public relations, partnering with an experienced agency can be transformative. Avaans Media stands out as a top-rated, award-winning PR agency with an executive-level team of big thinkers whose eye for detail provides exceptional results. So, what’s stopping you? Contact us today.

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.

 

But what if you’re an ambitious company looking for PR to take you to the next level?

In 2023, PR hourly billing rates looked like this: 

PR Agency CEOs: $439/per hour (up from $417/hour in 2020) 
PR Agency EVPs billed an average of $381/per hour (up from $319 in 2020)
PR Agency Senior Account Execs billed an average of $333/hour (up from $319 in 2021)
PR Agency Account Managers: $257/hour (up from $256/hour in 2020) 

So if you’re an average company, and you’re looking to maintain your position, you’re probably spending in the range of 10% of revenue on marketing. If you’re looking to dominate, your budget should be higher. A typical breakdown might be that 1/3 of the budget is advertising, 1/3 of the budget is content, and 1/3 of the budget is PR.

Ambitious startups typically allocate between 12-17% of revenues to marketing.

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 $120,000 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.

It’s safe to say that if your PR team has executive PR experience, and your agency spends an average of 45 person-hours per month on your account, your monthly retainer will be around $14,400 per month. It could be less if your team is more junior. If you require more executive hours, your fees could go up. 

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 for PR is the agency itself; the people on the account. This makes sense because, unlike programmatic ad spending (a typical minimum is programmatic spend is $25,000/month), PR agencies rarely have minimum spend or activation fee requirements outside their retainers.  60% of the PR agency fee is for staffing; experience and talent are the main drivers behind the PR agency fee.

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.

Why is PR so expensive research

USC Annenberg Communication Report 2023

 

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. 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 annually, don’t hire an agency, hire a freelancer.

Odwyer PR’s annual report shows rates increased considerably in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2023, so if your agency didn’t raise its rates during those year, you’re fortunate, but if you’re shopping, the current rates may come as a surprise; but PR Rates are expected to flatten out in 2024, so while there will be modest increases in 2024, they won’t be the big jumps we saw in the last four years.

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 specializes 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:
  • PR 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 potential 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.

 

(sources: Odweyer PR)