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Optimizing your PR budget for 2021: Doing more with less

Most businesses are taking a hard look at where they’re spending right now, and finding out where cost reductions can be made without sacrificing results.

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As companies seek to reduce costs for 2021 –or at least keep them under control–, the PR budget is often one of the first to face cuts. This is happening despite the fact that it’s more important than ever for companies to connect with the public and get their message out. Addressing this dilemma means taking a ruthless look at where you’re spending right now, and finding out where cost reductions can be made without sacrificing results.

First things first: Setting goals for 2021

If your PR budget is cut dramatically, you may need to scale back your ambitions. In difficult times, it’s essential to allocate funds strategically. Can you afford to sponsor major events this year? What happens with booths for events that are less likely to happen? Should your goals for earned media coverage be reassessed? As you examine what was achieved in 2020 and work on your PR strategy and plan for 2021, it’s important to be realistic about what can be achieved with fewer resources and to set KPIs accordingly.

Empower your in-house team

Salaries, agencies, and freelancers are among the biggest costs in a PR budget. It’s likely that new hires won’t take place amid all the uncertainty, and that you'll have to make the most of the team you’ve got. Now is a good time to reassess any agencies you work with - are you getting good value for money, or could it be time to leverage your in-house resources? Freelancers are less expensive than agencies, but those costs can still add up quickly, so for your 2021 plans, make sure you distinguish between what's nice to have and what's absolutely necessary to reach the goals you've defined.

There are lots of advantages to bringing your PR in-house. Though it can be a challenge, once you do so, you'll have better cost oversight, more ownership over your brand message and story, and the ability to coordinate a response to any situation and execute it quickly. Make sure to think about dealing with first responses to crises and other unexpected demands before you make a final decision.

Leverage technology

If you work in a small team and you’re wondering how you can take all the work agencies and freelancers are doing in-house without increasing the size of the team, the answer seems to be technology. Investment in technology makes sense for most teams that have the capacity and expertise in-house and who want to centralize their processes and keep their communication relevant. Choosing a tool that allows you to manage content creation, media contacts, outreach to journalists, and monitor analytics in one place can allow you to create powerful campaigns without the hefty price tag.

Choosing a tool that covers the whole PR workflow ensures you don’t spread your resources too thinly and allows your team to optimize their time without changing between multiple platforms and tools. It also cuts down on a ton of administration and bureaucracy, allowing your team to focus on crafting the right messages. PR software can help you achieve all that without sending your expenses through the roof because unlike some agencies, there are no hidden costs – you pay for what you need.

No more newswires

Newswires are an inefficient way to spend money. This should be the first line you cut from your budget. In good times, PR teams use them to try to generate a little extra buzz around an announcement, but they are generally an inefficient way to spend your hard-earned PR budget and don’t usually generate high-quality coverage. Instead, use the PR software and tools you have invested in to create highly targeted media lists and build meaningful relationships with journalists who cover your beat.

Final thoughts

Automation is sometimes thought of as a threat, but the reality is that it can help you achieve your Public Relations goals even in difficult times. Tools like PressPage offer access to hundreds of thousands of journalists and influencers, intuitive content creation and distribution tools, a newsroom that matches your brand, all within your department’s budget.

New to PressPage? If you’re interested to see how you can improve your PR workflow with our platform, book a short demo here.


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