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You’re engaging a PR agency – congrats – but do you sign them up for a project or an ongoing monthly retainer? What’s the difference? Is one better than the other? The answer is, there is a time and a place for both, and here is why.

What’s the difference?

A project is short-term – anything from a week to around four months, maybe even six – with a specific outcome or for a particular piece of activity.

A monthly retainer, on the other hand, is for an ongoing period of typically around 12 months or more. Your fixed monthly fee secures the agency’s PR professionals for a set amount of time each month.

What are some of the reasons to choose a project or a retainer?

Projects are great if it’s a one-off campaign. For example, you’re opening a new venue or launching a new product and want to create that initial buzz, hosting a special event, looking to kickstart your social media, or just want to make sure the agency is the right one before locking into a longer term contract.

Monthly retainers are ideal if you want your messages to be communicated to your audiences consistently – very important for a thought leadership strategy or to remain top of mind always.

Which is best? There are benefits to both which are outlined below.

Benefits of a project?
  • Best to hit short-term goals, and fast!
  • Better if budgets are tight.
  • Opportunity to test your agency-client relationship before committing to a retainer
Benefits of a retainer?
  • Best for achieving long-term goals.
  • Consistent billing each month so easy to plan within the marketing budget and often a lower per project cost.
  • The agency gets to know you and your business inside and out, which builds trust and efficiencies long term.
  • You have PRs always watching out for opportunities for your business.
  • Your activity is prioritised as you’ve pre-purchased the team’s hours. The team is often available at short notice when you need them.
  • When the brand isn’t doing anything particularly interesting, your PR agency can help to come up with ways to still get your brand noticed.

Hope that helps! Please get in touch if you need any further clarification about what is best for you.