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Does a Digital PR Firm Yield a Positive ROI?

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Most business owners at least consider the possibility of hiring a digital PR firm, but as with all business decisions, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the costs. Is it possible, or common, for a digital PR firm to yield a positive return on investment (ROI)?

The Basics of Digital PR Services

A digital PR firm is an institution dedicated to helping brands like yours in all aspects of public relations (PR). Goals usually include maintaining a consistent brand, promoting brand visibility, improving favorability and loyalty among existing and prospective customers, and ultimately driving more traffic and sales. There are a variety of strategies that can aid you in this pursuit in the digital landscape, including search engine optimization (SEO), journalist collaborations, social media marketing, and media monitoring.

Most digital PR firms charge a fixed amount of money on a monthly basis for access to a wide range of services, such as pitching news stories, developing content, posting on social media, and more.

The ROI Equation

Conceptually, ROI is simple. It’s a measure of how much return you get for a given investment, and it applies to fields like finance, marketing, and of course, PR.

As long as your ROI is positive, the investment makes sense. For example, if you spend $10,000, and you get $12,000 of new business, you’re technically in the green. The higher the ROI is, the better you’re doing; It’s much better to make $100,000 off of a $10,000 investment than it is to make $12,000 off that same investment.

To calculate ROI, you only need to know two things: how much you spent and how much you benefited. But in practice, this can be very challenging to calculate.

The cost side of the equation is relatively straightforward, especially if you’re working with a digital PR firm with straightforward pricing models. The benefits side is where it gets complicated.

There are some objective metrics that you can calculate in the realm of digital PR, leading to measurable calculations of the benefits you’ve received. For example, you can calculate how much traffic you generated in a PR campaign, then calculate how much money that made you by factoring in your conversion rate. But there are also important variables that are harder to calculate, such as brand visibility and reputation.

The Benefits of a Digital PR Firm

If you want to get a true picture of the ROI offered by a digital PR firm, you’ll need to consider all the benefits:

  • Solid strategic objectives. What are you trying to achieve with your PR strategy? You may not have a firm answer on your own. Your digital PR firm can help you clarify your goals and your overall strategic vision, so you can get the most impactful positive results.
  • Exceptional brand visibility. Brand visibility is arguably the most important goal for any digital PR strategy, and digital PR firms can help you get it. They can promote you across social media, get you featured in major publications, get you listed higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), and much more.
  • Positive press. If you want to share good news, a digital PR firm can help you do it. It’s an easy way to build familiarity and trust across a wide audience.
  • Mitigation of negative press. It used to be arguable that “all publicity is good publicity,” and in some contexts, this is still the case. But there’s no question that bad news in the modern era can ruin you. A digital PR firm can mitigate the damage of bad news and possibly even spin it to look more positive.
  • Traffic generation. PR firms love to generate traffic for their clients, and from all directions – including from search engines, social media platforms, and publisher websites.
  • Semi-permanent value. Most of the work that digital PR firms do on your behalf is practically permanent. The content they develop for you and the reputational work they do can benefit your business for years to come.

The Costs of a Digital PR Firm

So what are the costs? That all depends on who you hire. Digital PR firms range from cheap to expensive, based on services offered, experience, access to resources, publisher relationships, and other variables. Still, most digital PR firms are priced quite affordably, especially compared to the value they can bring you.

Does a Digital PR Firm Yield a Positive ROI?

So what’s the bottom line here? Does a digital PR firm yield a positive ROI?

We can’t speak to every conceivable case, but in most instances, hiring a digital PR firm is a good investment. The costs are relatively low, the benefits are multifaceted and potentially lucrative, and most brands that hire a digital PR firm continue investing so they can continue seeing these impressive benefits.