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PR department cost calculator

What's the cost to staff PR? We have an app for that (see below).

Public relations companies typically charge several thousand dollars per month. Some PR agencies charge hundreds of thousands monthly for global organizations or complex campaigns. There are also less sophisticated PR firms that may charge less. There are some PR strategies and tactics that organizations can implement at a lower cost.

An in-house PR department is much more expensive than hiring an outside PR firm.
We'll show you.

If you’re debating between hiring a public relations department, whether it's a department of one or multiple employees, be aware that the actual cost of staffing a PR professional dramatically exceeds his or her salary.

In the marketplace, the current voluntary turnover rate is 25%,  almost double from three years ago, and it costs an average of 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. And even as much as 75-200%, according to industry consultant Del Esparza.

Additional costs include

  • Salary & benefits: recruiting, retention, training, and managing
  • Insurance & taxes: benefits and payroll taxes
  • Rent: office space, furniture, and technology
  • Tools & technology: devices, phones, software, and service bureaus

Whether you choose to take a risk on employing and operating an effective PR department or attempt to get by cheaply by hiring only one person, the expenses and risks add up quickly.

Add those risks and expenses together and you may find that you'd be better served by investing your budget in a professional PR firm like Axia Public Relations. According to the Public Relations Society of America, organizations retain outside public relations counsel for two major reasons:
1. They offer the flexibility of talents and skills.
2. They provide objectivity and are not influenced by considerations of personal advantage.


A PR department can cost more than you think.

How much PR staff do you need?

For most companies – and especially for mid-sized to large companies – an effective PR campaign will require the efforts of a PR team (count on at least three people).

  1. A senior PR leader who will develop and implement planning, strategies, and evaluations; approve corporate communications programs; and manage staff

  2. A junior PR professional who will develop deliverables, copy edit news releases, pitch media, and coordinate personal appearances and speaking engagements

  3. A PR assistant who will write news releases and other deliverables; schedule meetings; make phone calls; route incoming communications; pull media lists; monitor, clip, and measure media coverage; and handle other administrative duties

Large corporations will require an even larger PR staff to manage their multi-industry verticals and geographic locations. According to the University of Southern California - Annenberg, the more PR staff a company has on payroll, the more that company depends on outside PR firms. (Another reason to reconsider an internal PR department.)

"Do what you do best and outsource the rest." – Bill Gates

For our clients, we typically work in teams of three or more: a strategist, account manager, PR writer, blogger, social media manager, media pitcher/booker, copyeditor, and an assistant. In addition, other members of our PR agency team jump in to help as needed with special projects, previous experience, unique expertise, or to make valuable introductions among their business and media relationships.

Use our calculator below to calculate the real cost of staffing PR in-house vs. outsourcing to our expert PR firm.

A PR department can grow large quickly.