How much are Public Relations services worth? Is it better to hire a PR agency or a freelancer? What is the rate sheet in a specific country? Let’s finally answer all these questions!
Price of Public Relations…, how much for PR in…? Have you already tried Google-searching this? And encountered answers like: The price for public relations services depends on so many factors that it is impossible to give you the price range without knowing the exact scope of work, and industry, and … – this is not going to be another article like this!
While this does not mean that the above answer is entirely incorrect, we will do our best to give you a concrete sense of price ranges for communications services provided by PR agencies in different parts of the World, including the US, Europe, Latin America, the Arabian Peninsula, and Australia, among others.
Moreover, our network of PR agencies is exceptionally transparent when it comes to prices, so we are going to present sample Scopes of work and their prices.
Firstly, we believe in transparency and want to promote it among the PR industry.
Secondly, some time ago we prepared an article about the prices of PR for startups. But while the startups that we had been working for grew, so did we as a PR agency. We love working for young, thriving firms, but honestly said, most of our clients now are scale-ups and developed businesses. We need to answer their questions and their needs.
Big PR agency, boutique PR agency, freelancer, or internal public relations division? Which is the most effective?
The question of what unit to engage in your PR campaign is something you need to start with. The answer will vary, depending on who you ask. Here are the most common answers from representatives of these four categories:
A top PR agency costs a lot, but it comes with quality and experience in serving huge clients. Wouldn’t you like to be assisted by a team that has supported Coca-Cola, Ford, and Microsoft? Their excellency and contacts with media and opinion leaders are usually spotless. Their network internationally can help you go global.
A boutique PR agency could be more engaged in your project. Your firm wouldn’t be “one among 100 others”, and you wouldn’t face enormous pressure from both a business and PR results perspective. Quality and results are still good, especially when the team consists of more senior members (in a big PR agency you might be handed to juniors). Moreover, boutique agencies often specialise in a given sector. All of this at a noticeably lower price. [Related: How to choose a local PR agency?]
A good freelancer will have an even more personalised approach, and will be, obviously, cheaper. When chosen carefully, e.g. upon trusted recommendation, it could be a golden bullet. Sometimes freelancers are ex-seniors from PR agencies, fed up with huge organisations. So, are there any “buts”? Yes, there are… But what, if the freelancer gets sick? But what, if the freelancer gets fed up not only with the PR corporation but – after some time – also with your organisation? But what if the freelancer, who can handle a maximum of 2-5 clients, is presented with a better business opportunity? A freelancer will not present a replacement, as the PR agency.
An internal PR department is something each company is seeking to create. Usually, it comes with time, company growth, and it is always a good choice. Huge investment though, as it’s a long-term engagement, including taxes, insurance, office costs etc., like with all other employees. Interestingly, internal divisions of communications often cooperate with PR agencies, outsourcing some of the assignments, and making sure the PR strategy is executed.
Last but not least, in each organisation, especially at the beginning, its Founders and CEOs are also PR executives (consciously or not.) They are the ones who try to develop a good image, apply to contests, draft presentations etc. This is an important stage of PR activities and should not be underestimated!
Public Relations – what am I paying for?
The starting point when it comes to budgeting for PR services is to make an estimate of the scope of work. Depending on what the client’s goal is, the agency proposes certain activities and makes an estimate of how much time it will take to perform.
Hourly rates are the other major variable. They are linked to the competence required of the consultants to perform each task. An hour of work by a consultant who designs a communication strategy will cost more than a junior consultant who compiles a news feed. This needs to be taken into account when working with freelancers. PR agencies often use average prices and packages. See an example:
PR agency rate card
I promised full transparency at the beginning of this article, right? This is our sample rate card for public relations services in given countries. As we are an EU-based network of PR agencies, we use EUR as a reference currency (but jump to the local currencies later in the article):
Let’s focus on examples of a monthly flat fee. For regular PR services, your company would pay around €4,000-5,000 in Germany and France, €2,500-3,500 in the UK or Spain, and around €2,000 in Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary. More countries are presented below.
What would you get for that? This is the suggested scope:
Interviews. Coordinating high-level 1:1 meetings (or e-meetings) with relevant journalists, including the management (briefing, coordination, follow-up).
Opinion Pieces / Bylines. Text creation and/or localisation in close coordination with the brand’s coordinator plus media pitches (1-2 per month, depending on the number of press releases)
Press Office. Coordination of incoming media inquiries, media management, and preparation of answers in close coordination with the brand’s coordinator
Monitoring & Reporting. Research of publications mentioning the brand (online, print), creation of reports, if desired: competitor monitoring (extra-paid), trend barometer
Monthly PR Activity Plans. Roadmap of all activities, including updates
Backend Services – Consulting. Recommendations and proactive suggestions for possible PR activities, regular customer contact
But, again, this is just an example. Agencies prefer longer arrangements. It brings their business stability and enables investment in consultants. Therefore in the case of a retainer agreement, you can always negotiate the price and count on better prices.
Let’s go into detail to answer the main question – how much would I pay for PR in a specific country? We will focus on external opportunities: freelancers and PR agencies.
PR pricing in different regions
This will not come as a surprise that the main component of the wage paid to a PR specialist is based on time spent on the PR project. Obviously, this will differ in different parts of the World accordingly to the purchasing power there. My favourite Bic Mac Index might be helpful here, too.)
However, while taking a look at the below passage, you will find out that there are some surprises: e.g. Enterie’s prices in Norway are similar to Ukraine’s.
Let’s start with the capital of Public Relations, where it all started – the United States. Then we will process regionally:
Public Relations Rate Sheet in the US
The cost of PR in the US can vary significantly. Monthly retainers in PR agencies can range from $2,500 to $20,000 per month for most businesses. Large national and global PR agencies won’t consider a project for under $15,000 per month and up to $30,000-$50,000 per month for the biggest clients. Why such a huge difference? (Even more than in other countries we will discuss?) Differentiation factors are:
team members involved
the scope of the project & the goals of the client
size of the company (and the possibility of crisis communication)
the region: New York and the West Coast (LA, San Francisco) are extremely expensive; consider Chicago, New Jersey or Texas for more affordable PR prices
Freelancers may charge hourly rates to help with news releases and distribution. Average hourly rates for PR in the US range from $125 to $500 depending on expertise and subject matter (for example, a crisis communication campaign will cost much more per hour than PR for a startup).
So, if you are not a top-notch company like General Motors, and you are searching for budget-wise PR support that will provide a good outcome, expect to pay a minimum of $3,000-$5,000 monthly (this is what Enterie offers for media relations through our Chicago-based agency), and around $15,000 if you want to boost your earned media campaign with SEO, podcasts and bought media in general (extra paid opportunities budget is included here) in a B2B-specialised PR agency.
If this is above your budget, campaigns are also popular in the US. These are typically paid in advance or in instalments and can range from $8,000 to $20,000 (so, at least, this is not a monthly-engagement). While the scope is much more focused than an ongoing monthly commitment, this approach works well for funding announcements, launches, acquisitions, major milestones, and other hard news that you want to share with the media and make a big splash.
Companies dream of being covered in the London-based BBC, “The Economist”, and “The Guardian”… England’s media landscape is vast and it is beneficial to have a specialist “on the ground”, despite the fact that English is a so widely-spoken language. How much do you have to invest in a British PR consultant?
The price range in a UK-based PR agency is £1,800–£4,000 GBP per month for a small/mid-sized company (equivalent to $2,500-$5,000 USD, similar to the minimum wage in the US). For bigger international brands that require elements of Public Affairs and more extensive scope, the price can be closer to £10,000. The top-notch firms charge upwards of £25,000+.
There are different billing models, from an hourly basis for ad-hoc work to monthly retainers. From a freelancer to a huge international agency, hourly rates range from £30 to £200, depending on the level of expertise employed. For project-based cooperation, for example, a press release, the price in the UK is around£1,000–£2,000. At Enterie you pay £1,300 for press release editing and distribution to journalists ($1,700 USD.)
Most agencies require pre-payment for new clients up to 50% of the project. Long-term contracts fall under the normal trend of monthly fee payments stated in the contract.
As in the US, there is a difference in price depending on the localisation of the PR firm. We cooperate both with London-based consultancies (especially when Public Affairs or Crisis Communications is incorporated – these behoves in-person contacts in the capital of England), as well as Middlans and Bristol-based teams, which offer more affordable services.
PR Price in France
Of all the countries we’ve discussed so far, France is the first where English is not the primary language. Even though greatly understood in business, communicating in French is extra-crucial when establishing your activities in France. As a result, having a local PR team seems necessary. What to expect when approaching them?
Most PR agencies in France will present a price range between €3,000–€6,000per month. An hourly rate basis is €130 on average. Nevertheless, it also depends on what services they provide and how experienced the person providing the service is. For instance, for crisis communication with a senior consultant, the hourly rate might triple (€300). Freelancers charge from €40 (Junior) and from €100 (Senior with 10+ year of experience in communications) per hour.
For project-based cooperation, e.g. press release distribution, the price in France is around €1,700. Short-time projects are usually paid for prior to cooperation.
PR Price in Germany
Germany is one of the top economies in Europe, which influences the prices of PR services. A continuous media relations campaign typically costs between €3,000-€5,000 per month. With the elements of SEO, marketing and design assignments it rises to €7,000-€10,000 EUR.
Average hourly rates for PR in Germany range from €100 to €400 depending on expertise and subject matter. Interestingly, Germany is very decentralized and it’s not necessary to do business (and PR!) from Berlin. Frankfurt and Munich are other very business-friendly cities. Local media outlets are influential and it’s crucial to reach them.
A single press release dispatch (without extensive follow-up) through our network costs €1,800 per campaign.Check the details!
PR Price in Eastern Europe (CEE)
Often seen as “one market”, Central-Eastern Europe countries have different languages and cultures. They are also inhabited by the same number of people as the biggest states of the US. Learn more about PR in Poland (40M people, like California), Ukraine (41M), Hungary (10M, like Michigan), the Czech Republic and Slovakia (16M combined, almost as many as in Florida), the Baltic countries (6M combined, like Arizona). In conclusion, they cannot be treated as one when it comes to communication.
Retainer fees for a verylimited scope of media relations in Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia start at €1,600 EUR per month, per country. Bigger PR agencies start their pricing at €2,500 and it gets up to €4,000-€5,000 for more extensive work for bigger brands.
When working with Enterie, we can cover all three Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) for €2,000. In Ukraine(44M inhabitants) you can engage PR services (despite the war) for €2,700 per month.
If you are sure you do not need a PR consultant’s support but have important news to announce, a single news release costs from €900 to €1,200 EUR per country. The hourly rate basis is €50 for a freelancer, €80 for a PR agency, and up to €250 for crisis communication.
Short-term projects (3 months or less) might be requested to be settled in full before the partnership commences. Long-term contracts follow a standard model of monthly fee payments. Be aware, that while some countries implemented the EU-supported currency euro (EUR), others (like Poland or Hungary) use their local currencies.
PR Price in Western Europe & Scandinavia
As in business and daily life, the Public Relations sector in Scandinavia and other Western European countries is very transparent and straightforward: the final cost is usually the number of hours multiplied by the hourly rate:
In Belgium and Luxembourg, it’s from €125 per hour.
In Denmark, it’s from €80 for juniors up to €250+ for partners.
In Norway, it’s between 100€ and 200€.
In Sweden, it’s between 150€ to 300€.
In the Netherlands, it’s from €300.
Retainer fees depend on the size of the customer, their ‘absorption potential’ by media, type of business, thus the above: number of hours we work for them. This leads to retainer fees between €1,500 for start-ups (and quite limited scope) up to €3,000 to 4,000 for larger corporations in Belgium and Denmark, between 2,900€ to 4,500€in Sweden and Norway, and to €6,500–€7,500 for continuous PR support in the Netherlands.
PR Price in Southern Europe
The cost of PR in Italy, Portugal and Spain depends on the customer’s needs, sector and several other factors like the duration of the contract (long-term relationships are appreciated). For monthly PR strategies that include one press release per month, one article (a piece of content for the press), a follow-up with media and one-to-one media relations, one corporate interview, and one speaking opportunity per quarter, our minimum fee is €2,100 EUR per month, per country.
Project-based cooperation is really affordable. E.g. your press release can be send-out by a professional agency in Italy for as little as €1,250. (Order this service HERE) Experienced freelancers start at €50 per hour.
In other southern countries prices vary depending on the region and size of an agency, but are cheaper than in most European Union countries. In Greece, hourly rates of local consultancies are from €60, in North Macedonia and most Baltic countries from €45.
PR Price in Dubai and Arabic Penisula (GCC)
Global PR strategies need localisation or the Arabic context, and it is quite beneficial to include local PR and strategy consultants in the process. The median monthly retainer in Dubai is $5,000 USD. The range is from $3,500 to $20,000 per month, depending on the project’s scope. It’s best to find an agency, that will prepare all media materials in English and Arabic, and reach all Pan-Arab media. At Enterie, introductory rates start from $2,750 USD and include drafting the media release in English and Arabic, distribution to the GCC and Pan-Arab media, monitoring, and final report.
That’s the result of hourly rates, which are $150-$250 USD at the agencies. Freelancers start at $50 USD.
The region is vast, and it’s possible that what you’ve learned about PR in the Western world may not be applicable. In China, for example, journalists are not very critical, as brands allowed to do business are somehow supported by the government. Online presence and KOLs are especially vital to reach the public. Prices for small projects start at $1,500 USD, and monthly retainers are around $5,000. Similar figures appear in Japan and South Korea. It’s way cheaper in India, where there are dozens of media relations agencies (they do retainers for $1,200 USD) and freelancers (starting at half of the agencies prices, at around $600 USD, per monthly project).
As Enterie we are present in Singapore and can support you in person from there.
Enterie is a global network of tech-focused, independent PR agencies that support brand communication in 80+ markets, including the US and the EMEA region. We can become your one-stop shop, which makes your comms’ daily management easier.
Through our local PR teams, you can flawlessly target your audiences in local languages, knowing local culture and specifics. We mostly specialize in Tech PR, international & digital enterprises, fintech, IT, e-commerce, investments, online marketing, and sustainable businesses, among others.
As a Communication Specialist with 10+ years of experience, he has launched brands for local and international markets. He teaches students about PR and startups at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland.