How much does PR cost – and why is it so difficult to find out?

by Chris Fairbairn

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Edinburgh PR agency shines a light on murky world of PR fees

transparent money in front of blurred womanWEDGE. Spondulicks. Moolah. Foldable. Dosh. Dough. Readies.

Call it what you will, this cash stuff is important – and as Theresa May famously pointed out, there’s no magic money tree.

Which means that anybody selling products or services has to be aware of the first question asked by potential customers: “How much is it?”

If you are trying to find out how much PR costs, then it’s a simple enough question, right?

Wrong. Unfortunately, if you are in a business trying to find out likely charges for PR services, then good luck to you. It’s not information you’ll be able to discover very easily.

Frankly we’ve got no idea why that is the case – and we’re delighted to say that we break the mould, because Holyrood PR’s clear and transparent pricing structure has been published prominently on our website since at least 2012.

That means any potential client can easily establish our fees and all of our clients can be confident in the knowledge that no other client is getting preferential treatment via a more favourable rate.

But it seems we’re ploughing a lonely furrow. The end of 2017 saw us complete our fourth annual audit of transparent pricing in public relations. For the fourth year in a row we failed to find another PR agency which publishes its rates publicly on its website.


Why is there such a lack of transparency? We can’t speak for other agencies, but we can hazard a guess – could it be that some less scrupulous PR firms fix their fees on the fly, deciding what to charge according to how much they believe can be squeezed out of you?

Colourful Scottish Banks notes of various denominationsStop and think about that for a minute. Have you ever been on holiday to find out that the person on the sunbed next to you paid half the price for the same package? It feels like getting stiffed – and that stings like a particularly nasty case of Scottish sunburn.

The same would be true if you found out your PR agency was charging you a much different rate from its other clients. No client of Holyrood PR ever faces that dilemma.  That’s because we believe transparency is an essential element in building trust.

Of course, we also recognise that price and value are two very different things. Simply having an hourly or daily rate listed on a website isn’t a guarantee of fantastic results. But it’s an important starting point – and a sign to potential clients that an agency which is confident about its cost structure will also be confident about delivering results.

This year’s audit took in 59 Scottish agencies, as well as the entire top 100 agencies according to the annual guide published by the industry bible, PR Week. Our rigorous methodology includes a manual search of each website, a search bar check as well as a sitemap scan.

Despite those efforts we were left disappointed. We couldn’t find fees or rates for any of the agencies we checked. We can’t say for an absolute certainty that the information isn’t there at all – but if it is, it’s certainly isn’t easy to find.

For us, honesty and clarity are essentials in business dealings and we believe that such fundamental information on fees and charges should be prominent and easy to find on our website. That means you won’t have to rummage through countless pages of online information to find Holyrood PR’s service rates, which are published on one of our most prominent pages.

However, in the majority of cases even the most extensive trawl through a PR website will leave you none-the-wiser about costs and charges.

Should you decide that 2018 is the year that you become a client of our multi award-winning PR agency, one thing is for sure. At least it won’t leave you with that feeling that somebody else is getting our services for a cheaper deal.

Do you want to know exactly what you are paying for when working with an award-winning PR Agency?

Isn’t it time you found out about the many benefits for your business of working with Scotland’s most transparent PR agency?

Give us a call on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the simple form, below, and we’ll get straight back to you.

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    Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

    Chris Fairbairn

    Chris Fairbairn is an Account Director with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood PR. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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