By Melissa A Vitale
As the head of a boutique PR operation, one of the biggest parts of my job is to manage my clients expectations on their PR campaign.
One of the biggest conversations I hate to have is the "I want more results, but I don't have the ability to increase the budget."
From the perspective of my company, it may seem against my : I opened MAVPR in an effort to make top tier media relations accessible to startups and vice brands. So isn't that embodying the same ethics of the PR Agencies that don't provide certain services to clients that don't meet a certain budget?
In all of MAVPRs proposals there's a set expectation that should be expected for the monthly retainer. I've figured out how many hours of pitching is required for vice brands in order to see results. I've also formulated a scale of my services for different budgets based on my hours and the amount of revenue I need to bring in each month to keep the lights on.
Typically in a PR retainer, you are paying for representation, pitching and strategy (aka everything that makes a press placement happen). A publicist is not a slave so having a publicist on retainer does not mean unlimited work. It needs to be capped somewhere.
Every story takes hours to pitch and even longer to see through to publication. The more people on a PR team, the more hours and people who can cultivate these individual stories.
When you look at a big PR agency like Edelman or 5W, you see minimums in the tens of thousands. You also see top tier results that dominate headlines. While my results can be compared to similar results of these big PR firms, they blow me out of the water in the volume of results. If you work with one of these big firms, you're going to be in so many more relevant areas of coverage than working with a boutique firm.
These big firms have 5+ people on a team cultivating relationships on behalf of the brand every day. PR comes down to man hours and when there's more people on the team, there's going to be more results.
It should go without saying that unless there's an increase in budget, there cannot be an increase in services. If an account is expected to have 2-8 placements a month and a client says the account is under-performing with three placements in a month, it means they're expecting their minimum number of placements to be DOUBLE what they've agreed to pay. It may be two placements, but if one placement takes 10-20 hrs, that client just asked for up to 40 hrs of free work. I don't have an extra 40 hours in my month unless you don't want me to eat or sleep (which if you expect your publicist will physically harm themselves for your campaigns you should probably never work with a publicist).
While I have the reports and tracking that I am one of the best options for vice brands without a big-agency budget, you shouldn't come to MAVPR or any boutique PR firm with the expectations of the same results of an agency with double my minimums.
You don't go to Kate Spade and at checkout, ask the cashier where your Chanel bag is. You get what you pay for. If you want the results of a global agency - you need to seek out a global agency.
In public relations, the more money in your budget, the more hours can be spent on cultivating the relationships that lead to top tier coverage for your brand.
Brands looking to maximize their startup budget can find a boutique firm that specializes in telling impactful stories in their industry.
For Vice Brands looking to explore cost effective public relations packages, learn more about MAVPR’s services via: melissaavitale.com/services.html
A public relations agency specializing in brands and startups across plant and intimate wellness