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    How much does Public Relations cost

    One of the most common questions potential clients of our public relations firm ask when they call us is, ‘How much does Public Relations cost?’ This is a difficult question to answer, and we’ll do our best to explain some PR guidelines.

    As clients, you rely on our PR counsel to develop your brand and help your company grow. So it’s natural to want to be comfortable with the firm’s people and practices, and you should expect to enjoy the fruits of their efforts. 

    Throughout the UAE PR agency landscape, we have seen quite a lot of variety when it comes to charging clients. The primary types of PR service are- retainers, project-based fees, payment-by-results, and a rate card pricing structure. They come with advantages and disadvantages for both PR firms and clients. Lets take a closer look to each and what they cost:  

     

    Retainers

    Retainers are by far the most preferred agreement for almost all PR agencies. This is when the client agrees to sign a contract for more than six months and they’re referred to as a ‘PR retainer’ and in this case the agency will represent the client for the duration of the contract with a set scope of services delivered on a monthly basis.

    The costs of PR retainers start from AED 10,000 per month and can go up to as much as AED 100,000 per month. The main factors that influence the cost of a retainer is the scope of services needed, the type of industry you are in, and the area you would like to cover with your PR communications. The cost also varies with the size and experience of the agency you are looking to work with. 

     

    Hourly rates

    Another very common pricing structure is charging hourly fees and billing at the end of each month. Different members of the staff in the agency have different hourly rates depending on seniority. A hybrid between retainers and extra hourly fees is also common practice in many agencies.  

    This means that there are some committed basic activities, and whenever there are spikes of work to be done for the client, he/she gets an extra bill for the extra hours. Hourly rates for Jr. Executives start at AED 200 per hour and Account Directors charge as much as AED 500 per hour.  Hourly rates are the perfect solution for brands and companies that have spiked activities throughout the year.

     

    Project Based Fees

    Launching new products or services into the market is a very common activity for PR agencies. Often the first three months are deemed as the launch period for which the fees are slightly higher than the retainer costs. Agencies refer to these as ‘PR Projects’; ‘a big announcement from international brands’ or ‘local exhibitions’ sets a good example for a PR Project. 

    PR projects generally last 45 – 90 days subject to the activity and scope agreed with the clients. Projects are seldom less than 45 days as the monthly news cycle is 30 days.  Anything longer than three months would be considered a retainer, and not a project. PR projects cost anything as little as AED 20,000 for a release and press office management (45 days) and can go up as high as AED 100,000 for a launch of a hotel or new brand (90 days). 

    The price points for projects are determined by- the industry you are targeting, the reach of your campaign (Dubai, UAE or the GCC), as well as the duration of the activities.  

     

    Payment – by – result

    This is probably the least popular method of doing PR in the Middle East. Agencies are paid a fee per placement or article they secure for a client. The size and the publication are measured according to the readership and advertising value. Based on this, the agency and client agrees on fees per article starting from Tier A media to social postings as well as digital mentions.

    Since this model is 100% results based, clients only pay for what has been achieved and agencies are rewarded purely on the results they have garnered. However, the GCC and Middle East still needs some education on this model and how it could be beneficial to the industry and its supporters.

    Tier A media clippings can cost anything from AED 300- AED 5000 subject to the size of the clipping and the circulation of the publication.  Monthly magazines start from AED 100 for a simple listing to AED 2000 for a full-page review or article.  Social Media posts and digital mentions start from AED 100 per post.