"Do you have a guarantee?"
When it comes to our pricing, we not only have a guarantee, we created a first-of-its-kind “Credits System” designed to protect you from the most common risks that media agency contracts entail. Here’s a rundown of how media agency risk works.
In media, there are 3 primary variables that you cannot control:
- The gatekeeper lag – You can’t control when editors and journalists get back to you… if they do at all.
- The publishing cycle – Even AFTER a gatekeeper has said yes, it can take several months before any content is actually completed (an article written, a podcast recorded, etc).
- The media cycle – Even if you media is prepared and ready, you never know when breaking news or other unpredictable events will pop up, further delaying when the content actually sees the light of day. …best-selling authors (and aspiring best-selling authors).
This is just the nature of the media. Because most agencies run on a monthly retainer model, different agencies manage these variables in a few sneaky ways.
- Number of guaranteed placements per month. An agency might guarantee you 2 (or more) placements per month, but this incentivizes them to go after anything and everything (even if THEY know it doesn’t do anything, they hope YOU don’t). If the agency is at risk of missing their quota, they resort to tactics like simply paying for coverage (which meets guarantee requirements, but provides you with zero benefit).
- Pay per impression. This disincentivizes the agency to care about quality of coverage. Any impressions that contribute to the quota are fair game, whether they benefit the client or not.
- No guarantee. And of course, some agencies don’t provide any guarantee at all! Their entire model is based on “churn and burn”.
"What is the Clout Monster Credits System and how does it work?"
If you’re a client who can commit to media efforts for the minimum effective time frame (more on that below), our original credits system will put your mind at ease – without compromising on results.
Here’s the gist:
- Get credits: Each package gets you a number of credits and 6-months of our services.
- Placements redeem credits: Whenever we get you a media placement, some number of credits will be redeemed. We’ll keep actively pitching until you run out of credits.
- Don’t pay for unused credits: If we don’t get you enough placements by the end of the 6 month coverage period, we’ll either refund you the full value of those remaining credits, or we’ll keep working for free until they’re all redeemed.
Getting all your credits up front allows our service to be more flexible. They go along with your timeline, ebbs and flows with your launches, and the credits never expire.
It gives you peace of mind that you’re getting a) the most press we can get you b) of the highest possible quality c) as quickly as we can without having to hold anything back to meet artificial quotas.
Here’s a full breakdown of how it works:
“Why a 6-month engagement period?”
Unless you’re on a very specific timeline, a 6-month timeline is ideal for getting you the best and most useful press. That’s because of variables like:
- Seasonality: Not all months are created equal. The news cycle during the holiday season is very different from the summer. A November during an election year is very different from any other November when there’s no election. Not to mention unpredictable, uncontrollable events that can pop up at any time. 6 months is the best period to account for seasonality.
- Snowballing: Something that most clients don’t realize is that really big press opportunities come from first building the relationships and getting smaller press as leverage to “snowball” it – which can take months of campaigning, especially if you haven’t already been in the media. (Even if you have been, being CURRENT and relevant are crucial to getting coverage, so you’ll need a renewed campaign.)
- Editor timelines: Press is not about getting an instant mention. In some cases, you’ll be scheduling a podcast episode in advance, or we’ll need to write an entire article and have it pass through 5 rounds of editing before it can go live.
We’ve tried shorter timelines like 3 months and found that it compromises the service. For example, one of our previous clients signed on to a 3-month plan. Except…all the major press didn’t land until month 4 when our services had technically “expired.” That client was ultimately thrilled with the results, but had we been on a 6-month plan, it’s possible we could have snowballed that press to even better results.
“What exactly do credits get me?”
Not all media placements are created equal – a one-line mention in a no-name blog does NOT have the same impact as being on the cover of Time Magazine. We believe you shouldn’t be charged as if they’re the same thing.
We grade press mentions into 4 tiers and assign a “credit value” to each. For example, compare the following two placements:
Say you have a balance of 30 credits. If we land you a media placement in The New York Times, 10 credits will be redeemed and you’ll have 20 credits left. Then, if we get you another placement in a small local paper, 2 more credits will be redeemed and you’ll have 18 credits left. And so on.
“How many credits do I get?”
Our plans have a set number of starting credits, but you can always add more.
Credits NEVER expire and are not rationed out on a monthly basis – when you purchase a package, you’ll have all of your credits available immediately.
Due to the nature of media cycles and editorial processes, we obviously can’t guarantee that each month will have a specific, steady amount of placements. It’s not impossible to have several months go by with nothing but crickets, only to suddenly have a year’s worth of media attention all drop in the same week.
Here’s how we handle that:
“What happens if all my credits get redeemed before the 6 months are over?”
It’s possible you could redeem all your credits quickly with several months left in the coverage period.
Don’t worry if this happens – we won’t just cut you off! We’ll continue to offer media support for the full remainder of the coverage period like handling communications with editors, answering questions from writers, etc. If you want us to actively pursue new, greater press opportunities to keep the momentum going, you can always add additional credits to your package (which may be eligible for a discounted price!).
“What happens if I still have unredeemed credits at the end of 6 months?”
On the other hand, if for any reason we haven’t gotten you enough media placements to redeem all your credits by the end of the coverage period, we’ll do one of two things:
- We’ll extend the coverage period at no additional cost until the remaining credits are redeemed, or:
- We’ll refund the amount you paid for all your unused credits.
“What are the full credit values?”
“What if we disagree on the credit value of media placement?”
Every engagement starts with a discussion about what you’re trying to achieve with press. It’s in both our interests to be aligned on your goals – we don’t want to pursue placements that don’t benefit you, yet we don’t want to deprioritize anything that you value highly. Based on what we discuss, we’ll adapt our efforts to align with your priorities so you don’t waste any credits.
While our client relationships start as a 6-month engagement, our hope is for them to last for years. We want to be a trusted partner, not a fly-by-night operation. If for some reason we do have a disagreement on credit values, we’ll find a way to resolve things to your satisfaction.
“How much do the credit packages cost?”
Our best value plans are $10k+ per month over 6 months. Our most affordable plans, for those on a budget, start at $5k per month — also over 6 months.
Once we know your goals, we’ll work with you on our best recommended plan.
“What if I have a tight timeline?”
If you have any unique constraints, we can work with you to create a custom package. For example, some clients may need special accommodations for time sensitive projects like:
- Product launches
- Crowdfunding campaigns
- Book releases
- Funding rounds
- And more
Let us know what you need and we’ll let you know if we can make something work.
“Who are the people behind Clout Monster?”
Clout Monster is a boutique PR agency led by Stephanie Lee and Steven Alexander Young. Meet the team:
Hi, I’m Stephanie and I have over a decade of media experience. In addition to PR work, I’ve also created several trainings for both writers and business owners teaching how to get major media placements.
Steven Alexander Young
Digital Marketing Strategist/ Fractional CMO
Hey, I'm Steven. Having been disappointed by traditional media agencies in the past, I designed the Clout Monster Credits System in hopes of providing media-style results with a direct response guarantee.
READY TO REACH OUT?
Before you reach out, please understand that we choose to be selective about whom we take on as a client for a few reasons. Generally speaking, PR is a long-term play, so we are vetting you as much as you are vetting us. But also, at the end of the day, we work with people, not mere products or faceless entities.
If we are going to help you spread your ideas to the world, WE have to believe in YOUR story, ideology, business, etc.
So if you’re interested in working together, click the button below to get started on an application.
Don’t worry, you won’t be locked into anything after you submit. It’s the first step to determine if there’s a potential fit, and if there’s a fit, you’ll hear from us.