Since financial advice is a trust-based business, PR should play an important part of every advisor’s marketing plan. And given that much of today’s news and media articles are carried online -- and the fact that people will almost certainly “Google you” at some point during the get-acquainted process –- having a good number of media mentions that show your professional character and business philosophy can really make a difference in how people perceive you and your potential value to them.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll provide answers to some of the questions posed to me when I speak at industry conferences about public relations for financial advisors. If you have additional questions, the best way to get them to me is to post them as a “comment” right here on The Marketing Maven blog. I’ll try to address them in a future column.

Here’s the most frequently asked question I hear at industry conferences, related to PR and working with the media: How do PR firms work and get paid?

In a nutshell, there are five basic structures for working with a PR firm:

Retainer Plans

Hourly Service Plans

Project Work Plans

Pay-for-Placement Fees

Group Training and Empowerment Programs

Last week, I told you everything you ever wanted to know about retainer plans. This week, we'll talk about Hourly Service Plans.


Some independent PR practitioners will work by the hour, doing writing and pitching on your behalf; however, they may not have access to all the professional tools and resources that a larger firm will use such subscription-based media leads services, professional newswire distribution plans, media list building and distribution services, media measurement and tracking services, multiple team members scouring editorial calendars and visiting with key journalists to see how you can help them, etc.

If hourly services are offered, you’ll likely see bottom-tier pricing around $75/hour and top-tier pricing coming in around $300/hour (and everything in between, depending on the skill, education and track record of the person doing the work).  Some PR practitioners will ask you to send a good faith deposit, which they will show as an account credit, debiting down the total as services are rendered.

The advantage of working on an hourly basis is that you can decide when you need to stream in services. You will not need to make a monthly monetary commitment. On the flip side, the PR practitioner may not make a monthly time commitment to you and you may find yourself frustrated if you call with exciting news only to find that the PR professional is busy doing work for another client. You may also wonder if time is being tracked accurately and/or could be surprised by too little or too much activity being exerted on your behalf. Hourly service plans do not typically include New York Media Tours, interview round tables or press conference strategies (usually, a project fee will be requested and charged). 

A good public relations plan can, however, be developed and implemented working on an hourly basis with skilled PR practitioner. Finding the right practitioner is essential, though, since there will not typically be a backup plan to eliminate bottlenecks, battle fatigue, and periods of high demand.


In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss the three remaining options for working with a PR firm and/or doing some of the work on your own.


Leia Farmer, Deputy Chief Compliance Officer for Securities America, and I spoke with an enthusiastic group of financial advisors on Friday, July 15th, 2011.  If you missed that session live, you can download the slides and audio recording of Building Your Online Presence in a Smart, Compliant Way at:

As president and CEO of Impact Communications, Inc., Marie leads a dedicated team of marketing communications and PR professionals serving financial institutions and a select group of independent advisors on an exclusive basis. Marie can be reached through her website,