When you started your PR business, you were probably pretty passionate about helping exciting brands grow their inbound marketing efforts. And while you may be a whiz kid when it comes to securing media placements and fostering relationships with journalists, financial matters may or may not be your strong suit. And hey, that’s okay—entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats, and it’s okay if money matters aren’t where you shine brightest.
That being said, setting a budget doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor, and Press Hook is here to make it easier to grow your brand’s audience and footprint, without spending too much to do so.
Here, our top picks for setting a budget in 2022:
First, review 2021
Before you can create a roadmap for the future of your PR business, you need to determine your starting point. Set aside a full day to collect crucial data to guide your goal-setting. Take a tally of your cash flow, your expenses (including paying contractors), your investments, and your overall tax picture. From here, you can get a sense of what worked—and what fell short of expectations. Perhaps you did an activation for a brand that wasn’t successful, resulting in them ending their contract. Or you hired a remote assistant that was worth every penny, tenfold.
There is always a temptation to reinvent the wheel when setting a budget. And while you may need to switch up how you allocate your funds, don’t try and fix something that isn’t actually broken. To better understand your PR business and make smart financial choices for 2022, try to be realistic and forward-thinking, while also learning from the past.
Take inventory of your current clients
As a publicist and marketing professional, your PR business relies heavily on your roster of clients. Depending on where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, you could be a one-person show with five or so clients or a five-person team with clients in the double digits. Whatever your current position, part of setting a budget is thinking holistically about your client relationships. Consider asking yourself these questions:
- Are my clients happy? Are there pain points we could address?
- Have my clients experienced growth since hiring my PR business?
- What is the state of my contracts? Will they renew when it's time?
- How can I illustrate their ROI accurately—and convincingly?
- What product announcements and company news do my clients have coming up?
Many leaders will book end-of-year or January meetings with their clients to check in. Use this time wisely to illustrate the impact of your work, including media placements, website traffic, sales growth, and any information you gather on increased brand awareness. Not only will this make your clients feel satisfied with their investment in your PR business, but it also entices them to continue working with you in the year ahead.
How does this play into setting a budget? By having an accurate pulse on the state of your income stream, you can prepare for both the expected and unexpected expenses that come with a PR business. Plus, you can allocate your savings goals toward your own aspirations, like a new website, a corporate retreat, and other pricey investments.
Set your hiring goals
Once you have a grasp on the client side, turn your focus inwards. The most expensive part of a marketing company is your employees and/or contractors. And to turn a successful PR business into a thriving one, you need more hands on deck so you can scale. When setting a budget, you should consider what types of experts you want to bring into the fold in the coming year. These might include:
- Account managers to take on additional clients
- Specialists to help fill in your skills gaps, including an accountant, a web and/or graphic designer, a professional writer for press releases and website copy, and others
- Assistants to manage the administrative tasks that take away your strategic planning time
To determine if you should hire full-time employees or contractors, speak with a financial expert to understand what makes the most sense for your PR business. From here, you can get a strong understanding of the expense required before setting your budget for 2022.
Create a calendar
Sure, there are many parts of being an entrepreneur that you can’t plan for (ya know, like a global pandemic?). However, as a publicist, you can anticipate upcoming dates, deliverables, and deadlines. This includes the most common editorial calendars for most media companies, tax dates, deadlines for award submissions, and so on. Give yourself a day to map out your month-by-month anticipated expenses and income estimates so you feel more confident going into the year. This is part of setting your budget and setting your expectations and aspirations.
This will—and should be!—a living-breathing document that’s subject to change. However, having a tentative blueprint will help you make a strategic financial decision to grow your PR business.
Look for new resources
Whether it’s a journalist’s weekly newsletter of opportunities, an invite-only Facebook group, a networking event, or an emerging platform like Press Hook, winning in business is all about being on the lookout for new resources.
Want to learn more about setting a budget for your PR business? Reach out to Press Hook to see how publicists have used our service to their advantage.