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Who are the best PR agencies or consultants and what is the expected cost?

We're considering hiring a PR agency, so I was wondering if anyone had recommendations? Also, how much would a good PR agency cost and do you think it's worth the price?

We could probably handle all the PR on our own, but I don't want it to suck up an inordinate amount of time from building the product and business. Any advice is appreciated.


24 Replies

John Battelle
3
0
John Battelle Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder, EIC, CEO, NewCo
The right firm has relationships with the kind of journalists and influencers that matter in your particular market, so the choice should be determined by that. Firms cost anywhere from $10K to 40K or more a month. And the best ones have their pick of who they work with, so you want to come referred.

Everyone thinks they can handle PR on their own, but a great PR person/firm is invaluable, in particular as you go to market, or have a business that is really trying to make some change in the world, and is having trouble getting that story told well.
Chia-Lin Simmons
0
0
Chia-Lin Simmons Entrepreneur • Advisor
Ex-Googler; Co-Founder / CEO RedHelicopter; Founder LookyLoo
John beat me to it. I agree 100% with him on hiring a great firm and the best taking their pick of clients. The other method is to look for an extremely connected freelancer but that is also hard to find. Like many things marketing folks believe they can do it themselves. The valley is littered with companies wi th great products but failed due to good marketing and PR.
Daniel Wiser
0
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Daniel Wiser Advisor
Innovative & Entrepreneurial Marketing Executive
You should have a clear idea of your PR strategy and what types of coverage you're looking for - in advance of searching for a PR agency. You may not need an expensive agency with connections. There are many fantastic freelancers that will cost a small fraction of a large firm - and may provide more strategic help, with the same rolodex (usually they come from the big firms). It's more important that you have a good story to tell - which will naturally lead to more (and better) PR. Be careful about overpaying for a name. There is also value from an authenticity standpoint to keep PR in house - should that be an important part of your strategy.


Eric Wolfe
0
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Eric Wolfe Entrepreneur
CEO, Co-Founder at Swapt.com
John, Chia-Lin, and Daniel - Thanks so much for your responses and advice. Very helpful.

It sounds like everyone has found a lot of value in a good PR agency or freelancer. However, since we're a startup, we can't afford +$10k per month. I was hoping that there would be a more affordable option for a startup, but one that still adds value by really selling your story to the right publications/audience. Since every dollar counts at this stage, my biggest fear is "overpaying for a name" or taking on some ill-conceived, boilerplate solution to PR.

Ideally, we're looking for a well-connected, intelligent freelancer to target tech press. I've heard a very wide-range of what this might cost us, so I was curious how this worked out for other entrepreneurs that were once in the same position.

In any case, I really appreciate all the helpful advice. Thanks for taking the time.


Neha Palacherla
0
0
Neha Palacherla Entrepreneur • Advisor
Marketing
It's possible to do a lot of the work yourself.Pete Kazanjy of TalentBin (acquired by Monster.com) wrote out a great checklist for startups to use on our blog -http://founderdating.com/pitching-practice-a-public-relations-launch-checklist-for-early-stage-startup-founders/

There are also a couple other discussion posts similar to this one. If you do a search, you might find more info in those as well!
Don Daglow
0
0
Don Daglow Entrepreneur • Advisor
3-Time Inc. 500 CEO, Technical Emmy® Award, International Speaker, Advisor at Founders Space accelerator
I'd talk to Perrin Kaplan at Zebra Partners, who understands tech and online very well. She is very senior and well-established but may be more responsive to a startup than some larger firms. I've known her many years and can vouch for her.

The Wikipedia article about her:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perrin_Kaplan

Zebra Partners:http://www.zebrapartners.net/
Jacqueline Lyon
0
0
Jacqueline Lyon Entrepreneur
Project Manager at Fortune 421, Inc
Coming from a long PR background myself I know first hand the value of a good agency. You get what you pay for. Equally if you are starting up you might be able to find a good start up agency in your area that can grow with your business.

What sort of PR presence are you looking for? There are a number of different avenues of PR and also a number of niche agencies that focus on different specialities. (i.e eco, hospitality, social media etc.) I don't know where you're based but a good agency in the San Diego area is Dart Public Relations. http://dartpublicrelations.com
Kevin Nakao
0
0
Kevin Nakao Entrepreneur
Head of Employee Engagement at TINYhr
Since you are a start-up, I would do the PR yourself until you have enough momentum and news to keep a good firm busy. You can establish your own relationship with journalists via twitter, reading/commenting on their articles, etc. Many prefer to speak to founders/entrepreneurs. You can offer up exclusives, letting one outlet get the news before others to help secure press. You should also try to fit your pitch into bigger trends they may be writing about.

The other thing is to establish your own thought leadership , domain expertise, and company brand by guest posting on sites with traffic and on topics relevant to your space. You also have more input on the final piece and can get more ink. At my last start-up I would work on press for a major product announcement and then shift to guest blogging between product launches.

As your company starts to grow and achieve IPO-level momentum, then hire the right firm -- ask the journalists you have developed a relationship who they would recommend. I also recommend having in-house PR people because their skill sets can be critical for helping more tech-oriented executives with messaging, positioning, and consumer/customer value propositions.


Bryan Lemster
0
0
Bryan Lemster Entrepreneur
Owner, Halcyon Innovation, LLC.
Check out www.pmbcgroup.com
Chia-Lin Simmons
0
0
Chia-Lin Simmons Entrepreneur • Advisor
Ex-Googler; Co-Founder / CEO RedHelicopter; Founder LookyLoo
If financial are an issue, I would recommend hiring a consultant to build a PR strategy and using a freelancer if you can find a good one. It is a question of what you are trying to achieve and what your expectations might be. If you truly have news, you should build a PR strategy and get the right fiverage. It's not the amount of the blogs but what is helpful is getting the time with tech reporters for Techcrunch, GigaOm, or Time Magazine if appropriate. Perhaps it is because I am a marketeer but I really think do-it-yourself only really works if you have a solid marketing person in place.
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