The Price of PR and Social Media Webinars and Conferences is Too Damn High

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New York gubernatorial candidate, Jimmy McMillan, may have received more votes from PR pros/students had he lobbied against the outrageous prices of industry events

I love getting emails about upcoming webinars and conferences. From presentations on social media ROI to how to build an effective media list, these opportunities can help everyone in the PR industry.

But just as you are about to sign up (since most of the e-mails conceal the price), you get to the registration page and find out the cost is $200. $300. In some cases they can be more than $1,000! Are you kidding me?! Forget the fact that small agencies and self-employed PR practitioners can’t afford this, but neither can big agencies!

Here’s a sample of some upcoming events:

Expensive options*:

– PRWeek$895 for the “Age of Opportunity” social media conference

– DIGIDAY – $595 for a conference labeled, “The Seismic Shift: From Buying Content to Buying Audiences”

– PR News$329 for a webinar on How to Make the Jump from to Visual Communications With the Flip Video Camera

*Just because I’ve highlighted these three outlets, doesn’t mean that they never offer low-priced events

Affordable options:

– Business WireCosts vary, but BW offers a variety of different events without pros/students having to break the bank

– PRSA They offer a ton of free events for members AND non-members

– Ragan’s PR DailyThough some of their offerings can cost a lot, they do provide affordable ones as well

So how do you feel about all of this? Much ado about nothing or do you think something needs to happen to help reduce costs so more people can attend these events?

Please leave a comment below if you agree that webinars are too expensive and let your voice be heard!

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22 comments on “The Price of PR and Social Media Webinars and Conferences is Too Damn High

  1. AGREED! I can’t tell you how many conferences and webinars I’ve wanted to attend, but simply couldn’t because of the expense. Fortunately, there are so many free ones available… makes me think of your previous post:)!

    It takes a little research, but you can sign up for alerts as to when free webinars or seminars are available. I typically attend these at least twice a month or so…

      • I receive email notifications from Cision, Constant Contact, Optimum Productivity… those are the ones that jump out at me off the top of my head.

        Although some webinars might not be totally applicable to PR, I ALWAYS learn new things that I can apply to my business.

        As I receive more alerts, I’d be happy to let you know about upcoming FREE events:)!

  2. Great post Andrew – and something that has been driving me crazy for years! The only organizations that can afford these events are corporations and governments. (They are the only people I know going to these events anymore.) Unless I win a free pass, there is no way I can justify blowing my yearly pro-d budget on one conference, no matter how many awesome speakers they have lined up.

  3. I understand that some conference organizers are in it to make money and/or some organizations (especially associations) use conferences to support their efforts throughout the year. If they don’t charge for the conference, you’re not going to get any value out of them for the rest of the year.

    $329 for a webinar is absolutely ridiculous. I rarely pay for webinars and have never paid more than $50 for an hour webinar. There’s online all-day conferences that I might pay more for, but certainly not $329 for an hour’s worth of time.

    Also, I would take PRSA off your list on the bottom and move it up to the top. While they do — in some geographic areas — have great local PRSA groups that organize amazing events (both networking and speaker/panel events), their “conferences” are super expensive. Wasn’t this year’s PRSA in the $1000+ mark?

    • You are right about some organizations depending on these conferences to make money, but I’d like to know how many conferences actually have a full attendance based on a ridiculous pricing structure.

      Because PRSA does offer some freebies, I decided to put it on the Affordable Options list. But honestly, all organizations could be listed as Expensive.

      Appreciate the comments!

  4. Totally agree and, so far, have never participated in any webinars because of the cost. What makes it more outrageous is that many of the speakers are using these as platforms to promote their own businesses! I know because I have done that myself.

  5. Not only are these seminars/webinars overpriced but most of them are so basic that they aren’t worth the time, let alone the $$.

    There is good information out there on how to apply social media but the best thing to do is get your feet wet and try it. The most difficult aspect of social media is how quickly it changes. I build YouTube Channels that integrate with other social media tools and as a Google Content Partner am constantly struggling to keep up with what’s new and how best to apply it.

    • You really have to do your research and ask questions of others in the industry to find out which conferences/webinars might be worth it (no pun intended). Agree though that while some are very good, many are not well organized

  6. I agree. I attend mainly tech events because you can break into them. I don’t think I have ever attended a PR specific event. I have not broken into the field and do not have the $$ to do so. SO I go to events which are cost effective and maybe I do not learn specific PR related material but I do get the benefit of networking.

  7. There is a certain company that sends very informative emails twice daily abut the PR industry, but several times a day also sends information about their upcoming seminars, almost always in Chicago (their headquarters), or on the East Coast. As an employee of a southern California PR firm struggling to find enough training budget to send people to local PRSA and other local training events, I just have to laugh as I hit the delete button. Yeah, sure we have enough to pay $500 to $1,000 for these seminars AND a similar amount for the airfare to get there, PLUS three days of lost billable hours, one day for the one-day conference and two more days to get there and back.

    • One piece of advice is to figure out your budget for the year and then decide which events to attend. So even though you may not be able to see a lot of them, go to the ones that you feel are MOST important

  8. I have to be very judicious about what I ask my boss to pay for so I totally agree, so far I have not seen anything that justifies the prices posted.

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