Setting PR Ranges|How to Include Social Media Marketing| Reader QA

A reader writes . . .

I'm working on a proposal for PR work to a potential new client, and was wondering how you are incorporating social media tools into your proposals.
Do you set up a separate rate structure re strategy and implementation for creating a buzz on blogs, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, etc., compared to the traditional PR methods of writing press releases and press kits, pitching to the media, and charging a placement fee upon publication? Or, do you integrate social media into every proposal as part of a strategic overall marketing plan?

Good questions!

And the answer is . . . it depends on the client, their social media marketing and PR goals  - and, maybe most importantly, where their community gathers. Here’s how to assess a client’s readiness, settle on interaction levels and then build in pricing. We set creative investment levels, but don’t charge placement fees upon publication. Each CoryWest Media client’s proposal is based up our proprietary Marketing Transformations Process: a mix of strategic planning, creative services, distribution, media relations, social media marketing and ongoing communications.

Assessing a Client’s Readiness from a Social Media Marketing and PR perspective

Questions to ask:

1. Where are we now? Is it working?

Some clients prefer traditional media relations: papers, TV and radio. To them, it’s important to be seen in mainstream media. Since most of these outlets have a site, their coverage will show up online, too. Typically, these aren’t our clients, but they may be yours.

2. Why do we want to go there [social media marketing]? What happens when we get there?

Yeah, Oprah’s on twitter and you may be, too. But is your client ready to commit to making social media marketing an always-on initiative? When you get there, to be successful, you have to be alive and on. A set-up site is like a cardboard cutout of a movie star in the theater lobby: it may be fun to look at, but everyone knows it’s a false front.

Going after the cool kid factor isn’t enough of a reason rush into being seen online. Once you’re a cool kid and you’re making the social media rounds you have to ask: does anybody care if we’re riding in the limo? Maybe it’s enough to distribute a news release via a system that has built-in social media tools and see where the crowd takes your and your story.

3. Where is our audience? Can they find us?

Think about this: it’s Friday night and you’re going out on a date. You want to go to the ballet. Your boyfriend wants a pricey steak. The couple you’re double-dating with that night wants to go to a double-header. Everybody’s going to a different place to get information about how to make a decision and then, let’s leave it all up to you all to figure out how to take action, which brings us the next question . . .

4. How do we come up with a plan? Who’s going to work it?

Social Media Marketing and PR Plan: Engagement Levels

You need a plan, man. That’s where the agency comes in. Hopefully, with a system they’ve developed and tested for other clients – or better yet, the agency itself. As a 2 3/4 year old blogger who’s been through not just the writing and posting of over 570 pieces, I know about the pains, joys and challenges of keeping a publishing platform up and running. It is. not. easy. But, it can be manageable – and rewarding. Blogging does not equal all of social media. However, it is excellent training for how to attract, track and grow an audience through the conversation information route.

Social media marketing and PR is about connecting and communicating with emotion, engagement, empathy and entertainment.

Voicing messages for organizations and companies, penning pithy quotes for a press release and crafting success stories is much different than being responsible for the client’s brand in the social media sphere – 24/7. Who will manage the interactions – the agency or the client?

Will your company talk for their company? What happens if no one is watching and something really exciting, in a good way, comes across twitter at 3:00 a.m.? [Here’s where I need everyone’s input.] What do you think about these levels?

Level Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Blogs
Monitor search.twitter.com search search Google Alerts
Listen RSS, tweetbeep Friends Ask Questions Blog roll
Respond 2-4 hours w/in a day w/in a day w/in hours
Develop Followers Group Group Blog
Expand Tweetchat Fan Page Discuss Guest Blog
Nurture Followers become advocates/friends Friends become friends Friends become partners Feature readers
Community Named and active Self-driven Autonomous Recognized

Pricing Social Media Marketing and PR Creative Services

Time is a huge factor here. Maybe that’s why there a movement away from traditional public relations. Personalized connections can rack up the time.

One source quotes the average cost of a PR retainer as $5000 to $6000 per month, with $10000 per month for an aggressive PR program. Another quotes beginning public relations retainers at $2000 to $5000 per month. A third source estimates averages $300 per hour with an average retainer that require 20 to 40 hours per month at a cost of $2000 to $4000 – a volume discount? Finally, here's a more recent update of how much top bloggers make.

Throw all of that out and consider this: an agency is now getting thousands of placements online via one 140 character tweet that took a total of 90 minutes to craft – true story. Would you argue for or against this approach? Why?

So what’s the total investment for public relations and social media consulting? The answer: it depends. Having a proven system helps you and your clients target success. Have experience with mixing public relations and social media? Tell us how you manage the planning and set the investment.

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