Proud Scottish agency remains in 1% of those publishing PR costs and charges

by Scott Douglas

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

Our latest audit of PR agency websites shows 99% provide no information on the cost of PR services

PR message on bank note to illustrate PR costs and charges

CASH IS king. Money talks. Pay to play. Whatever way you look at it, in the business world its cold, hard cash that makes things happen.

For public relations agencies the same rules apply. As the cheeky image above suggests, we will happily promise to PR any bearer of Sterling who is prepared to hand it over in sufficient quantities.

But persuading business people to part with their hard-earned dosh is no easy thing. They generally want certainty and clarity on the prices before they will pay for services.

That’s particularly relevant as the world readjusts from the economic ravages of the Coronavirus – and as people across the UK brace for the next financial shock coming our way in the shape of Brexit.

So, it’s never been more important to be clear about the cost of your products or services, right? Er, no…

If you are thinking about using or choosing a PR agency and want information on what that will cost, then brace yourself for a very long and fruitless search of PR agency websites. If the information is out there, then we can’t find it. And we’ve spent years searching.

Holyrood PR’s clear and transparent PR costs have been published prominently on our website since 2012. We believe it is incredibly important for price-conscious potential clients to have a clear, unequivocal understanding of what we charge.

But it seems that we are on oddity and an outlier. Since 2014, we’ve been carrying out an annual audit of at least 60 Scottish PR agency websites to check which of them are transparent and publish their PR costs, fees or charges online.

So we can say with confidence that if you take the time to review the websites of those Scottish PR agencies, what you will find is a mixed bag of design, plentiful sales messages and gushing promises of great work. What you won’t find is any clue about what you might actually pay for those services.

Our latest audit took into consideration 75 of Scotland’s PR agencies – from the biggest multinationals to the smallest boutiques. Pretty much the only thing they had in common was that they all had a website. Oh yeah, and 74 of them (that’s 98.7% for those who are counting) did NOT offer any information on their PR costs and charges.

Indeed, only one other agency provided information about its PR fees. Take a bow the two-strong team at boutique rural agency, Whale-Like-Fish. After numerous years being the only agency in Scotland to publish our rates, it’s nice to finally have some company.

Despite PR being a sector that is worth £13.8 billion to the UK economy, Scotland’s PR firms are incredibly coy about what they charge. Why is this? Frankly we’ve got no idea.

Might it be that some PR firms fix their fees on the fly, deciding what to charge according to how much they believe can be squeezed out of you? Or maybe their charging structure is incredibly complicated and designed to blindside you with unexpected charges and increases. Neither possibility sounds particularly attractive.

We’ll let you hazard your own guesses about why Scottish PR agencies are so reticent about sharing their costs and charges.

However, we’ll keep carrying out our annual audit while we live in hope for more transparency – and we’ll continue to publish our PR costs prominently, ensuring our clients enjoy peace of mind.

Want to work with a public relations agency that is transparent about PR costs and charges?

We’d love the chance to hear about the opportunities and obstacles facing your business and to explain how high-impact professional PR services can help.

Getting in touch couldn’t be easier. Phone us on 0131 561 2244 or take a few seconds to fill and submit the simple form below and we’ll get straight back to you:

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