No matter the size of your company, seeking help from a PR consultancy to help reach your goals is a great idea. One of the most frequent questions we’re asked by new clients is “what’s right for me and my company -a retainer or project-based PR arrangement?”
In simple terms, retainers are great for:
· Having access to a broad range of services delivered by the consultancy
· Building a relationship with a dedicated team for proactive opportunities
· Achieving long-term goals
· Keeping to a budget
· Being consistently in the media builds your profile as an expert
· Staying top of mind with media and your audience
On the other hand, project-based PR is good for:
· Hitting short-term targets
· Launching a product or project initially
Operating under a retainer agreement, clients essentially agree in advance to buy/pay for a specific amount of time in professional PR services over month for the life of a project. Just as importantly, your PR consultancy reserves and protects that time for you and your work.
In our experience, retainers are an integral part of a successful consultancy-client PR relationship for growth. Here are three key reasons for organisations to make a commitment and see PR as part of their long-term strategy for growth.
1: It’s a marathon not a sprint
Any new relationship starts with the ‘getting to know you’ phase. While a PR consultancy can quickly come up to speed on client messaging, goals, products and competitors, the relationship itself can take a bit of time to settle in. How do you “the client” prefer to be contacted, and at what times of day? Is a quick phone call best, or are you client detail-orientated and a big fan of reports? Have you worked with a consultancy before, or are you new to the world of PR? All these factors can have a big impact on the start of a new consultancy-client relationship, which must be built on trust, service and honesty to succeed. A retainer agreement allows a great workflow and relationship to develop and idea and opportunities to flow.
In contrast, a project agreement is usually for a fixed set of deliverables, at a fixed price, for a fixed period, so the consultancy focus more often than not moves on and only looks for opportunities up to the project end and not beyond as they need to move onto other projects.
That’s not to say that PR projects can’t bring value: they can, and they do. If an organisation wants to get a taste of what PR is really all about or wants to make sure PR and a particular PR consultant or agency the right move for their business, a project can be worth considering but it is usually les cost effective in the long run.
2: The perfect fit
The long-term view and growth that come with a retainer guarantees the PR team will be made up of the best people for the job; the account Managers, Writers, Consultants and Directors with the combined expertise to think outside the box and turn a simple concept into a successful, results-driven PR campaign.
Not only does a retainer enable the relationship to flourish, but it also enables the PR team to let their creativity flow for the growth of your brand. While a project will focus on a single idea with a single goal, a rolling retainer will ensure the PR team is constantly thinking of the next idea, topic, or theme to make the campaign a success.
A PR team working on a long-term client will gain an understanding of the client inside-out, learning exactly what makes the organisation tick and having historical knowledge of what has been the most successful, and potentially not worked, for the company in the past. Ideas that a consultancy has, can not only shape the future of a PR campaign, but the future of the entire organisation; getting perspective of where a gap might be in the market or where additional expertise might be needed.
A retainer agreement lets a PR team plan for the future, agreeing with confidence to say a feature slot in the news in three months’ time, because they know it will still be of interest to their client and that they will be there to assist and leverage any opportunities for maximum PR.
3: A shrewd investment
A PR retainer can be seen as more of an investment than a project; not just from a financial perspective but from the commitment involved, but the return on investment is more than proven in the client work we do. We’ve had clients reach new audiences, get million dollar grants and multi-million dollar clients via consistent PR presence. Investing in a retainer agreement means that, in turn, your business gets an investment from the PR agency: a long-term commitment to help your business grow and succeed.
After all, who knows what the future holds. A retained agreement with a PR consultancy means that you know someone always has you in mind seeking opportunities out of you, and also has your back in the challenging times - whether it’s a rogue employee creating the need for a crisis PR strategy, or a member of the marketing team resigning with a PR consultant in the know would leave you with a gap in resources and knowledge and ability to deliver to your customers and achieve the growth you desire.
PR projects certainly have their place in the world, but retainer agreements are making are great investment in your business’ growth and reach. With economic pressures increasing now is a great time for organisations to take a step forward and make PR a permanent feature of their marketing strategy.
For more information on working with PR Profiler on the growth of your profile and brand, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org