10 Tips to Maximise Your Public Relations Budget in 2013

Posted by Joe Walton on 08/01/2013

The New Year is a time to look back, reflect and plan for the future. At Real PR, we take the chance to look ahead at what we need to do, learn and develop to serve our clients better.

For most organisations, 2013 is likely to be another challenging year. Even in times of plenty, getting the most out of a communications budget is important. When times are harder, the room for error shrinks and this can put pressure on budgets.


Scottish five and ten pound notes

Maximise Your PR Budget

If your New Year’s resolution is to get the most from your communications budget, we have compiled a list of 10 tips below to help:

  • Actions such as a sale, attendance at an event, the download of a document or a telephone call, can all be easily measured. This measurement can then be factored into PR campaign planning and activities to help demonstrate success later on and unlock more budget in the future.
  • Setting real objectives based on the outcome measurements (actions within the target audience) rather than the outputs (blog posts, press releases, press coverage,) will help to focus people on tactics that are the most likely to deliver.
  • PR agencies are here to help and we can guide a client away from a dead end to a more productive course of action. We are natural problem solvers and can spot a problem a mile away. The earlier you speak to an agency the more resource you can save.
  • Time is money, so focus your projects on the people (stakeholders, customers, the general public or employees) that have the highest probability of making a difference to your key objectives. This might not necessarily be the largest, easiest to reach or most noticeable group so examine your rationale and ask for a second opinion.
  • Planning can be very dull but it prevents misspent time and lost budget.  Even if you don’t know exactly what or when activity will take place, a plan can keep you on course and help you deal with surprises.
  • Make the most of online content such as audio or video by setting aside plenty of time to drive traffic and promote the content. Whether led In-house or in agency you need to ensure you have a strong plan to make the most of investment made in online activity.
  • Be realistic in what you can afford in terms of budget and internal resource. It’s better to properly invest in a campaign than to under-develop an idea and lose the opportunity to a competitor.
  • However, you should experiment. Large organisations often set aside 10% of their budget for experimental ideas, often digital in nature. To get the most out of this method you need to try a few ideas selecting those that work for a bigger budget or role in the future.
  • Open up to your PR agency. Public relations consultancies understand that we are there to deliver to your bottom line. Be it pounds in the till or volunteers for a project, we want to help you achieve your goals. By showing us how your organisation works, your market research, internal research, analytics and your sales figures we can developer ideas that will be better targeted and more effective.
  • Nurture your cheerleaders. Sometimes they are inside sometimes they are outside but all organisations have them. These are people who click every like, share every link and evangelise on your behalf to friends and family. Don’t ignore them or the part time evangelists. Grow and develop this network to take your news, stories and initiatives to wider audiences in an honest and efficient way.
  • Take a look inside your organisation for stories and talk to your clients about the problems they face. Both can be a great source of inspiration for campaigns and future tactics. 

These are just some of the ideas to help you focus you time and money in 2013. If you have additional ideas please leave them below. 

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About the Author

Joe Walton is a consultant at Real PR and Secretary of the CIPR Scotland. His main interests sit between communications, psychology and technology.

You can follow him on multiple social networks including twitter and Google+.