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Pay-For-Performance Public Relations

By: Robert Hennessey

Pay-For-Performance Public Relations

Now that content marketing dominates the business-to-business landscape and public relations firms are self-proclaimed digital marketing or digital communications firms it is time for companies to request a pay-for-performance public relations service model. Public relations firms usually are compensated on a monthly retainer for so many billable hours. Measuring the results of public relations has always been difficult, if not impossible and requiring a long time to evaluate success.

Historically, the job of the public relations firm was to "publicize" a company's products and business activities enforcing their brand recognition among their business customers and general audiences. Today, we call this creating a "buzz."

What has Changed?

The Internet now serves as a media communications center often replacing the previous PR channels employed by public relations firms like newspapers and trade magazines. Tiger Woods for example and others only use their website to disseminate news regarding themselves and their brand.

Now businesses can send Tweets and share Instagram's at a moment's notice to break the news about a new product introduction for free. Many will live stream their business event directly to their target market and show the reactions of their customers like Apple and others do. Companies no longer have to wait weeks for an article or product introduction picture is sent by their public relations firm to appear in a trade magazine.

Previously, the PR firm spent time writing and disseminating a press release to promote your product or service to various media outlets. The PR firm commitment to you ended here. Moreover, from their perspective they did their job and if your press release appeared in a few newspapers or trade journals mission accomplished. If not, then they would encourage you to create another piece of content since they will be charging your monthly retainer no matter the outcome of their efforts.

Accountability Now!

Savvy businesses are now challenging the "digital communications" firms with a new approach to creating media "buzz," and it is called pay-for-performance. Introducing accountability to the public relations process is long overdue and now possible.

With pay-for-performance public relations, the financial risk shifts from the client to the public relations firm. The public relations services you purchase must produce a quantifiable result. No longer do you have to settle for we hope a newspaper or trade magazine picks up that content and publishes it. Otherwise, worse you have to buy advertising to ensure placement of your "free" public relations release.

The lack of accountability in public relations services is unacceptable in other parts of a company's business operations. It should no longer be tolerated in PR either.

Enter pay for placement public relations services where PR firms charge clients only for content that make it into print. In this early iteration of pay-for-performance public relations, the cost of placing the content is negotiated up front, and the PR firm is paid based on the number of placements achieved. There is no cost just for making the effort of press release placement as in the past with a monthly retainer.

Having determined the value of content press release placements upfront, the real cost of PR is at least calculable. Still missing is the value of PR placements and most importantly tying the content to a measurable result, like sales to establish the real value of public relations.

Is Pay-for-Performance Public Relations Achievable? Yes!

We know the content creation cost, and now the placement cost can be calculated; the last piece of the puzzle is how to calculate the value of a single piece of content. Up until now, this was a huge stumbling block to calculating a real return-on-investment for your public relations. Tying a single piece of content to a particular purchase has been the problem. Now there is a way to link public relations releases to the sales action. No longer fuzzy and vague the value of your PR effort is now verifiable.

Pay-for-Performance Public Relations 2.0

Now it is possible to monitor directly and measure the effectiveness of content in creating sales. PR business articles, case studies, market research, white papers can all be accountable for generating sales or not making sales. IndustryArchive.Org closes the loop on being able to calculate a real return on investment for every piece of PR content created and placed on behalf of PR clients. Now a public relations service where you pay only for content that creates sales.

Bottom Line

Business-to-business companies can now get real value for their PR dollars that are measurable and accountable similar to other types of business investments.

We invite your thoughts and comments on whether you prefer public relations services that are pay-for¬performance versus paying a monthly retainer.

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