Maximize your PR budget: 3 ways to achieve more impact

PR is a crucial part of any communications strategy – but I am going to say that aren’t I? As a PR professional I am bound to tell you that PR can help you to increase your sales potential, strengthen your brand reputation, and help you recruit and retain talent. 

It might surprise you to learn, however, that I think PR can be expensive, and that getting the most from your PR budget can be a challenge. A strategic and targeted plan is going to help, making sure your activity is hitting the mark is a sure-fire way to cut out wasteful activities. But what else can you do to keep your PR spending efficient?

As A3 Communications celebrates its 20th anniversary as the data storage industry PR agency, I asked the team how they would maximize their PR budgets if they were in-house.

1: Understand your budget and how it is being used

I am thinking about those ongoing subscriptions that no one really uses properly. Or services that seemed like a great idea at the time, but actually do not quite fit with your current strategy. Really drill down into where you are spending money, and whether it is still the right place to invest. Perhaps you could get more from one of your subscriptions and save admin time. Or maybe you are paying for a service or cost that your PR agency already includes in their fee, such as coverage monitoring, or copyright licenses? 

I can almost bet that you will find at least one or two savings here (or perhaps a renewed commitment to get more from the services you are paying for).

Next comes the slightly trickier part: prioritizing the activities that are left. There are a number of ways to do this, but I would always advise using impact as your measure. Consider which activities help you get closer to your goals. And stop doing the things that do not make a difference. You can always pick them back up if you realize that they bring in results you need.

2: Know what to outsource

You might not need an outside agency to cover every aspect of your PR activity; look at where you have expertise in-house. Perhaps you have an amazing content creator, but your team’s strategic skills could be stronger. Or maybe social media is in the bag and what you would actually need help with is building relationships with journalists and analysts.

Once you have identified your skills gaps it is much easier to work out where bringing in an expert could actually represent value for money. For example, a specialist PR agency offers instant connection with top influencers, along with strategic planning and content creation. A good agency will let you select the services you need so you are not paying for something you already have in-house. And consider one-off projects before committing to a longer contract; these can range from a full-blown product launch, to simply issuing a press release. If you are not sure how to best allocate your (limited) budget, talk to a couple of agencies, and see what activities they would recommend in order to reach your goals with your available resources.

Always make sure you have a good brief so that your agency can focus on what is really important and help you work towards your outcomes. Find more in our blog post about briefing your PR agency.

3: Think efficiency

Identify the processes you can streamline. Take your approval process, for example. How can you reduce the number of review cycles without lowering the quality of your copy? Hint: it is hugely influenced by your brief (again!)

Find ways for your internal teams and external agencies to work together with less friction. Create shareable resources so everyone has direct access, encourage your agencies to talk to each other so you do not become a bottleneck, and open up access to your salespeople, spokespeople, in-house writers, etc. 

Make your coverage work harder. When you have spent hours (or days) finessing an article, or a press release has been through rounds and rounds of reviews, you need it to have more than one outing. Check out our tips for maximizing your coverage.

And then…?

Whatever your budget, a PR program – like anything else – needs direction. Every activity, every process, every service must help you to move in that direction. And every activity, process, and service should be creating impact or removing friction. In the most cost-effective way possible. 

Work with a PR agency that can help you get more from your budget. With over 20 years as a data storage PR specialist, A3 Communications works with vendors to boost their profiles with customers and top journalists, bloggers and analysts. Get in touch to find out more and get the power!

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