PR Campaigns – The blog

October 2, 2008

PR Pay Roll

Filed under: CAST Communication — dfishfel @ 10:48 pm

As most of us are going to be graduating with in the next year, and with the economic crisis going on right now it is important for us to choose the right job once we are out in the real world.  So is a career in public relations the best choice, does it pay well?  Ronn Torossian’s (CEO of 5W PR) blog titled Influencer Marketing and Public Relations, briefly discusses how PR agencies usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to pay day.  He discusses how companies put on events costing tens of thousands of dollars, pay hundreds of thousands and sometimes even millions of dollars for advertisements, but wouldn’t even consider spending that much money to hire a PR agency.  He states that the largest company in the world would maybe spend $1 million dollars a year on a PR firm.  According to Ronn, a major budget for a PR firm is $15-$25k a month, this amount of money is like pocket change for ad agencies.  

Why is that?  PR agencies are the people that are there to help a company so why do we get paid so much less?  Why do companies fail to see the true importance of PR firms.  Is it because this industry is so young?  This all being said, and with the economic state of our country right now, is the PR industry the right choice to get into right now, or should we maybe think about switching to advertising and reap the monetary benefits?

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11 Comments »

  1. It is only a matter of time before PR becomes a valued part of a company. The gift and the curse with PR is that there is hardly any recognition unless you know what you are looking for.

    Essentially the whole concept of PR is pitching stories and getting other forms of media to cover the event or promote a product. Unlike an AD that you see that the company sponsored, part of the credibility with PR comes with being behind the scenes, underappreciated and underpaid.

    Comment by ccharvey — October 6, 2008 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

  2. I have seen PR viewed as both a booming industry as well as a field that is headed nowhere.

    I think that PR is headed in the right direction. While print media is taking a turn for the worse, the presence of online media is growing. The public relations industry can flourish in these new and advance avenues of message delivery and reaching out to target publics. Public relations may seem like an underappreciated industry at times, but I think that has a lot to do with the unfamiliarity that most people have of it.

    Times may be tough right now, but nearly all industries are being affected, not just PR. I don’t necessarily think money should drive our inspiration either. Although, a hefty pay check is nice to think about, the satisfaction of being successful and happy in your career should be much more valuable.

    Comment by letsgoblogging — October 6, 2008 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

  3. I think that one of the biggest parts of securing a campaign with a big company is to make them understand why they even need to hire a PR firm. PR is still a growing field and a lot of people don’t understand why it is so necessary for their businesses to thrive. One of the best ways for a PR firm to do this is to better understand the primary needs of their client. That’s why developing the objectives of a campaign is such an important aspect. Once the objectives are suited to meet the needs of a client PR firms can ultimately show their client how they will help them achieve their goals.

    Comment by knish21087 — October 6, 2008 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  4. I have to agree with Ronn Torossian when he says that communication professionals should be knowledgeable in business principals. This would only help a PR practitioner to be more valuable and better serve his or her client. What good is a PR campaign designed by someone who knows little about what they are communicating? This is something all PR professionals need to realize. While PR pros can keep saying that they know how to better relate to the media and key publics, it means nothing if they don’t know what their clients actually want or need.

    Comment by davemerenda — October 6, 2008 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

  5. The amount of money a PR professional makes depends on the area of public relations he or she enters and the skills he or she has. I’ve never heard of anyone, except ones working for nonprofits, complain about low pay. I also believe PR and advertising are not the same. PR “sells” an image; advertising sells a product. PR has to be truthful; advertising is allowed to mislead. The constant media stream will force businesses to understand the value of PR, especially in times of crises.

    Comment by mara2009 — October 7, 2008 @ 12:12 am | Reply

  6. I think it is interesting that people tend to overlook public relations, when a company’s image is such a core principle in their success. Being a public relations major, I actually get asked quite often what that actually means. I think Mara2009 makes a great point when they say that advertising sells a product whereas public relations “sells” an image. As we are becoming more and more reliant on the internet and social media, it is becoming more obvious how important it is for a company to have an “image manager” in digital world. I think that as the years go on, recognition, respect and hopefully pay 🙂 will only continue to increase as the need for public relations increases.
    Dave makes another good point in regards to public relations professionals needing to be business savvy. Being able to communicate effectively begins with understanding your key publics.

    Comment by kristarogers — October 7, 2008 @ 9:37 am | Reply

  7. This is a very interesting and thought provoking post…Kudos!! I would say that companies and individuals fail to see the importance of PR because it is a relatively new form of communication…Well compared to advertising. Even as a December grad I am unsure of which form of PR I want to pursue. I have not really thought about advertising but I think it is something to do now. I think advertising and PR are in the same family and public relations they are not synonyms; therefore students should research and carefully consider their options. It may be true that PR firms are underpaid compared to advertising firms but I think the PR industry as a whole is on the rise, despite the economic crisis. In fact I think the economic crisis may help grow the PR industry because all companies, not just banks, need to reassure their customers and employees and how better to do that then through a PR campaign?

    Comment by erikanp2004 — October 7, 2008 @ 10:53 am | Reply

  8. This is a very interesting topic because it is constantly talked about within the industry of PR. I think that the field of PR typically gets the short end of the stick when it comes to payments because corporations and clients feel that it is not necessary to have a pr agency, instead it is helpful. This mentality of PR agencies being helpful but not vital to a client’s success is what I feel breeds the issue of low payments. In order to mitigate this train of thought, it is necessary that pr agents continue to build a reputation as being absolutely necessary for the success of the company. Once people see the importance of such a field to the future of their company, they are much more likely to budget more money to the cause.

    Comment by cate415 — October 7, 2008 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

  9. I have to agree with everyone in saying that PR definitely gets the shaft when it comes to pay because of how corporations view the PR industry. Not many corporations realize how essential it is to have a PR program implemented and in turn, they view PR as kind of a luxury that is above and beyond their basic needs. I think that it is really important for these companies to realize how essential PR really is and that in turn will help them out more than they think in the end.

    Comment by lbridge — October 7, 2008 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

  10. This is definitely a different topic for our class but I think it’s important nonetheless. Salary affects most careers. While I agree that PR agencies are not paid enough, most companies do not realize the value of having a PR agency, so they don’t feel the need to shell out a lot of money for their services. Until corporations realize the importance of PR professionals, salary will remain an issue. I’m not quite sure how this problem can be solved without agencies raising their asking prices and then proving themselves with excellent performance.

    Comment by bkranz — October 8, 2008 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  11. I don’t think that all of us should jump ship just because of the state of the economy or because we may make less than an ad agency right now. Eventually PR agencies will be seen as the important entities they are and companies will start paying them more. We just need to all be patient. Yes it is hard not making the money your degree should entitle you to, but there is always freelance PR to help your income.

    Comment by amyfoley1975 — October 15, 2008 @ 1:38 pm | Reply


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