what’s your story? here’s mine.

[tweetmeme source=”storylinePR” only_single=false]I’ve been getting a lot of resistance from fellow PR pros on introducing a new concept. My clients think it’s a great idea and I am still of the mind that it would be a great option for small and medium-sized businesses, (who are my target market), to enter the PR game. The concept is a pay for placement.  In addition to fee structures that I currently offer… retainer and by project, I am introducing a “pay for play” pricing model as an option. Essentially this will include a base fee, (to cover the up-front costs of campaign development), plus a fee associated with the type of media attained.

This all came about when I launched two campaigns simultaneously.  Each had great news value and the level of effort was essentially the same.  Both received the coverage they expected, (one was targeted to community print and broadcast, while the other was interested in some of the bigger players such the dailies and talk with a mix of national exposure).  Both clients were extremely happy with the results, as was I.  Since both campaigns were negotiated on a ‘by project’ basis, I prepared the invoices and something become crystal clear.  The value of both campaigns were identical. Yes, the level of effort was the same – but the outlets and reach for their news was quite different.

I had an “a-ha” moment.  Should the client who received the higher profile coverage pay more for that kind of buzz?  Would the client pay more?  Why should the client who received coverage in community media pay equal value when the outlet reach was substantially different from the one who received higher profile in print and broadcast media?  I put out a poll and invited business and PR pros to weigh in on the different payment options… they were:  ‘retainer’, ‘by project’, ‘pay for placement’ or ‘combination’.  The result?  While only 15% responded that a retainer arrangement  would allow them to explore  / expand their PR efforts,  23% indicated a pay for placement model – and 62% a combination of these two options would be beneficial.

Despite all the flack I have received from the PR industry, (and as one colleague pointed out – ‘at least I’m seen as participating in the conversation’… Thanks M for that boost!), I am going to give it some legs.  There is much to consider in developing the measurement tool, but storylinePR has created one that will evaluate this new concept.  So to test the waters, sort of speak, I am inviting Ottawa area small and medium-sized businesses to submit their story to gain free PR services for a news story.  I will pick two entries on September 7th based on desired media outlets and news value.  Each will receive complimentary media strategy and message development for the news item, a professionally written news release and distribution to their media outlet choice – followed by a comprehensive report – for FREE.  In exchange, I will ask recipients to complete a ‘bit lengthy’ evaluation.  Sorry, a necessary evil in order for me to determine the client value of the pay for placement model after the experience.

To enter, simply complete the entry form and submit!  It’s really a win – win!  As a result of participating, two lucky businesses will have an opportunity to receive free PR services and potentially obtain free media coverage and exposure which could translate into new business.  Good luck and I look forward to hearing your story!

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