PR Firms Provide More Value for Less Than Hiring an On Staff PR Person

If you’ve ever heard, thought, or said, “I know we need a good PR program for our business, but we have a tight budget and I’m not sure we can afford it,” then you’re probably a small to medium business owner in today’s economic environment!

We hear these thoughts fairly frequently and with good cause. Every dollar you spend these days requires a solid return on investment. The question always arises, how much then should I spend on a public relations program? Should I hire a PR individual or an agency? How much PR budget is too much or too little?

Frequently business owners may opt to hire an “internal PR person.” The saying goes, “I can hire someone for a lower price than the PR proposal the agency just gave me.” Well that may be true in some cases, but if you look at the real costs you’ll quickly see hiring an individual on staff doesn’t always provide the greatest ROI.


  • You’ll be hard pressed to find an experienced PR person for under $36,000 per year. (If you’re hiring one person you’ll need an experienced person. More than likely you’re looking at $45,000 – $55,000 for someone with a few years of experience, and anywhere from $60,000 to +$100,000 for someone with a lot of experience.)
  • When you add benefits and other employee overhead like technology and office space you’re significantly adding to your expense beyond the salary.
  • More than likely one person on staff won’t have the bandwidth you need to do all the public relations activities necessary to make the PR ROI.
  • There are also other resources your PR person will need such as wire distribution services, professional membership fees, and media databases (which can costs thousands of dollars per year) adding to the overall costs.

When you consider this, cost-to-ROI comparison becomes significant. You could easily pay anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 per month for a PR person with just a few years experience—more as the experience grows!

Now, compare those costs to an agency. At Snapp Conner PR we usually recommend small to medium businesses be prepared to spend at least $3,000 to $5,000 per month minimum in order to implement an effective PR program designed to help them grow. That’s a minimum. There are no hard and fast rules on the budget. Some programs are great at that amount, others need to be bigger programs. That’s $36,000 to $60,000 per year, well within the competitive range of hiring one person on staff. Especially when you consider:

  • With a PR agency you get the advantages of a PR account team comprised of 3-5 PR professionals all working on your behalf for that $3,000 – $5,000 per month investment. You couldn’t hire that many people for that amount of money anywhere.
  • The PR agency has a wealth of knowledge and experience at all levels melded together to strategically plan and execute a program designed to help you meet your goals.
  • The PR agency has all of the technology, databases, and other resources needed for a strong PR program on your behalf.

You already know you need a strong PR program. Next time you’re weighing the costs of hiring an individual or an agency, remember how many internal people and resources you’ll have to pay for to get the benefit of a reasonably priced PR budget from a strong PR agency.

Author: A. Cory Maloy |