Small Business B2B Marketing Blog

Business Public Relations, It is Time To Adopt Pay-For-Performance

Posted by Robert Hennessey on Thu, Jun, 04, 2015

Originally posted in IndustryArchive.Org

Many small businesses struggle with integrating public relations as a marketing tool for their 
marketing campaigns. Public relations services for small business are at best a monthly activity and usually less frequently
then once a month. Many small business owners will say, “We don’t have enough content to conduct an ongoing PR campaign.” Others say, PR it just cost too much because of the way that PR services are sold.” Just about all say, how do I begin to evaluate my return-on-investment using public relations?”

Public relations firms usually are compensated on a monthly retainer for so many billable hours. Most small businesses cannot afford five to ten thousand dollars a month for just one of their monthly marketing activities.

Historically, the job of the public relations firm was to “publicize” a company’s products and business activities enforcing their brand recognition among their business customers and general audiences. Today, we call this creating a “buzz.”

Once small business discovered that they could get, their company news distributed without the expense of costly PR services they embraced the Internet and social media immediately. The Internet now serves as a media communications tool often replacing the previous PR channels employed by public relations firms like newspapers and trade magazines.

Now businesses can send Tweets and share Instagram’s at a moment’s notice to break the news about a new product introduction for free. Companies no longer have to wait weeks for an article or product announcement picture sent by their public relations firm to appear in a trade magazine they can post on their blog.

Previously, the PR firm spent time writing and disseminating a press release to promote your product or service to various media outlets. This is where their commitment to you ended. Moreover, from their perspective they did their job and if your press release was run in a few newspapers or trade journals mission accomplished. If not, then they would encourage you to create another piece of content since they will be charging your monthly retainer no matter the outcome of their efforts.

The crux of why so many small businesses avoid using public relations today is traceable to the advent of social media, the Internet and the lack of accountability regarding return-on-investment for public relations services.

However, while social media especially Twitter is an efficient and low-cost news disseminator, it is limited to only one hundred and forty characters. Twitter offers insufficient information to be useful in communicating how and why your company can solve business problems for your potential customers. Business articles, case studies, press releases and white papers are still needed to build brand and competency for small companies with potential clients. Given the dominance of content marketing as the necessary component of B2B problem/solution marketing there remains a need for affordable and accountable PR services.

Enter Accountability
Savvy businesses are now challenging the public relations firms with a new approach to creating media “buzz” and it is called pay-for-performance. Introducing accountability to the public relations service is long overdue and now possible.

With pay-for-performance PR the financial risk shifts from you to the public relations firm. The public relations services you purchase must produce a quantifiable result. No longer do you have to settle for we hope a newspaper or trade magazine picks up that content and publishes it.
The lack of accountability in public relations services is unacceptable in other parts of a company’s business operations. It should no longer be tolerated in PR either.

Pay-for-Performance PR 1.0
Enter pay for placement public relations services where PR firms charge clients only for content that make it into print. In this early iteration of pay-for-performance PR, the cost of placing the content is negotiated upfront, and the PR firm is paid based on the number of placements achieved. There is no cost just for making the effort of press release placement as in the past with a monthly retainer.

Having determined the value of content placements upfront a real cost is at least calculable. Still missing is the value of PR placements and most importantly tying the content to a measurable result, like sales to establish the real value of public relations services.

Is Pay-for-Performance PR Achievable? Yes!
We know the content creation cost, and now the placement cost can be calculated; the last piece of the puzzle is how to calculate the value of a single piece of content. Up until now this was a huge stumbling block to calculating a real ROI for PR. Tying a single piece of content to purchase has been the problem. Now there is a way to link public relations releases to the acquisition action. No longer fuzzy and vague the value of your PR effort is now verifiable.

Pay-for-Performance PR 2.0
It is now possible to directly monitor and measure the effectiveness of content in creating sales. PR content articles, case studies, market research, white papers can all be now accountable for generating sales or not making sales. IndustryArchive.Org closes the loop on being able to calculate a real ROI for every piece of PR content created and placed on behalf of PR clients. Now a public relations service where you pay only for content that generates sales. For more information call

Bottom Line
Small B2B companies can now get real value for their PR dollars that are measurable and accountable similar to other types of business investments.

We invite your comments on public relations services that are pay-for-performance versus paying a monthly retainer. 


Topics: small business marketing, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing

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