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“How much should I spend on PR?,” is a good question. The short answer, which isn’t very satisfying, is – it depends. The level of investment you need to reach your PR goals depends on what those goals are, it also depends on the nature of your business and your market.
While we can’t tell you exactly how much you should be spending on PR, we can provide some statistics about what others are doing that might help, and we can also share some insights into how you should think about your PR budget.
For most companies, PR falls under the marketing budget. Here are some of the numbers:
- Gartner: Companies spent 10.2 percent of their revenue on marketing in 2014; digital marketing accounted for 25 percent of the total marketing budget.
- SiriusDecisions: In 2014, non-software companies with revenues of less than $100 million spent between 3 percent and 10 percent of revenues on marketing. Larger non-software companies, those with revenues of more than $5 billion, spent between 0.5 percent and 5 percent of revenues on marketing.
- IDC: Tech companies spend a weighted average of 4.5 percent of revenues on marketing.
- The Holmes Report: North American marketers spend 6.5 percent of their budget on public relations.
- The Content Marketing Institute: Marketers spend 28 percent of their marketing budget on content.
Does this mean that you should spend in the same way that other companies are? Not necessarily. If you think of PR as a cost center, then spending a certain percentage of revenue might make sense, but if you think of PR as an investment that drives revenue, then you can think of spending in terms of ROI.
In short, if you're making money off of PR because it's increasing traffic and boosting sales then you would want to continue to increase that budget until it plateaus.
In the past, it was difficult to think about PR spending in this way because it was almost impossible to tie PR activities directly to revenue. Today, thanks to the digital nature of media, the online behavior of modern buyers, and sophisticated new tools for media monitoring and analysis, PR professionals can calculate the impact of what they are currently spending and predict the results of budget increases or decreases.
When it comes to spending on PR there is no rule of thumb that will tell you the right number. Analysis of the impact of your past PR efforts on the bottom line is the best way to calculate what it will take to reach your goals in the future.