Whenever I talk to someone who owns a pay-for-placement PR firm and the topic turns to their fees, they’re suddenly tongue-tied.
That’s because the fees are hefty, like $1,500 or more to get a story placed in a business journal—something that isn’t that hard to do yourself, even for inexperienced Publicity Hounds, if you just do just a little research on how to pitch business journals.
A new PR firm, Washington, D.C.-based Publicity Guaranteed, has its fees right on its home page. They range from $195 to get a story placed in a 10,000-circulation daily, up to $2,850 for an article in a publication like the Wall Street Journal or USA Today. In other words, you don’t pay anything unless a journalist writes an article.
Missing, however, is their definition of an “article.” Is it a brief item? Or a full-fledged feature? That $2,850 figure seems minuscule, compared to what other pay-per-placement firms charge for top-tier media hits.
As I explain in my book “How to Hire the Perfect Publicist,” one of the biggest problems with this kind of PR is that confusion can surface over the types of placements the client must pay for. If you’re in a national newspaper today, as a result of a pay-per-placement pitch, and the story is picked up by a national radio show four months from now, after your contract has expired, do you have to pay the firm for the radio placement?
If you’re working with a pay-per-placement firm, make sure this is spelled out in the contract.
The best time to use pay-per-placement PR is when you need top-tier media hits and you buy the service to supplement a regular publicity campaign you do yourself, or one done by a PR firm that bills hourly, by retainer, or by the project.
That’s because pay-for-placement the fees are so high that a typical PR campaign done done exclusively that way is far too expensive for most companies.