Get the Most Out of a Project-Based PR Engagement

Mar 25, 2021News

Are you interested in ramping up your brand’s PR efforts but aren’t ready to go “all in” with a long-term commitment? Consider hiring a PR firm for a project-based engagement until you’re ready for a more comprehensive program.

The benefits of establishing an annual PR program that’s divided into monthly retainer payments are clear: from the start you have a dedicated PR firm that fully integrates with your team, builds expertise in your brand and provides ongoing strategic insights to increase the margin of long-term success. 

That said, there may be times when a monthly PR retainer isn’t in the cards yet. Perhaps your budget is tight or you’re hesitant to pull the trigger on a year-long contract. Rather than putting PR on the backburner of “someday” initiatives, try a project-based engagement instead.


Why Choose a Project-Based PR Engagement?

A project-based PR engagement is a great way to trial a new PR agency to see if they’re the right fit for your company. You’ll have the opportunity to assess their strategic approach and quality of work without the pressure of a long-term commitment. 

This type of engagement works best when any of the following scenarios apply: 

  • You need support meeting a challenging deadline 
  • You have a well-defined project plan that you need help executing 
  • You have a limited budget or prefer to pay a flat fee for a one-off project


Maximizing a Project-Based PR Engagement

While a short-term PR engagement can be extremely valuable, there are key differences between projects and long-term relationships. I like managing expectations up front to help my clients get the most out of one-off projects: 

1. Measure success based on individual activities. One of the advantages of a retainer structure is that it gives your PR team ongoing bandwidth to work toward long-term initiatives, like planning and executing an annual strategy or watching a pitch materialize after months of seeding. But you can still build toward PR goals with targeted one-off activities. These activities might look like:

    • Creating a template for a perfect pitch 
    • Building customized media and editorial calendar lists 
    • Pitching a specific article that you’ve already written 
    • Generating placements for a press release

2. Recognize the boundaries of a project-based scope. Project-based engagements have clearly defined scopes. There will always be more you could be doing, but it’s important to remain focused so you avoid scope creep. Rather than creating an unreasonable plan on a tight budget, maximize your investment with a clear set of goals to execute flawlessly.

3. Be prepared. You can expect a project-based engagement to last approximately one to three months with defined start, middle, and end dates. The better prepared you are at the beginning of the project, the more your PR firm can accomplish within the duration of the scope. I recommend:

    • Choosing a single point of contact who can transmit information quickly and effectively 
    • Completing any prep work the PR firm requests 
    • Being fully responsive and engaged from start to finish

Whether you’re looking for a retainer relationship or a project-based engagement, I’m here to help you achieve your PR goals. Give me a call to discuss next steps!