When it comes to marketing your brand, there are many different concepts and philosophies that you can track to increase your odds of success and drive more sales. Public relations vs advertising is something every company needs to consider when they develop their marketing budget.
Advertising and Public relations (PR) can work together to help you achieve your goals faster. They have some similarities, but each approach has different implications for your brand in reality. Choose the right mix for your brand and goals to dominate the market.
Both PR and advertising can help you get exposure to specific audiences and help you develop a positive brand image. But is one ultimately better for your business than the other?
Let’s take a closer look.
What is PR?
Public relations is how you share information between your business and the public or other businesses in your industry.
It is a strategic communication process to build a mutually beneficial relationship between the organization and the brand. Often a company will use PR to announce important news such as a relaunch to its target audience or stakeholders to increase brand exposure and presence. With the right
Press releases can help you garner media attention and get journalists writing about your company. Releases are statements in a news release or comments directed at print and digital media members. Promoting your content through this channel can be very effective, as consumers are more likely to trust information that third-party endorses instead of paid advertisements.
Media exposure can help a small business grow by getting them in front of new audiences with every story.
What is Brand Advertising?
Brand advertising is a form of advertising that helps establish connections and build solid and long-term relationships with consumers.
Companies that use brand advertising aim to get long-term positive recognition. These companies establish brand identity, credibility, and loyalty with their prospects intellectually and emotionally.
PR is a Better Asset than Advertising
Putting an ad in a newspaper, magazine, or TV, is expensive. Advertising online can be done at a lesser expense. However, a lower budget will suggest fewer impressions.
The articles in those same news outlets are why the audience views the outlet; they are not looking for advertisements. Therefore, the news coverage developed by your public relations firm will represent a return on your investment.
The investment can easily dwarf the return on investment of advertising. With the right PR strategies, your company can keep benefiting from a campaign for years to come.
The Main Difference is PR is More Credible
When we watch and read the news, we want to be informed, educated, and entertained by what’s happening.
It is more feasible we will trust and respond to a story in the news than react to the same information produced through an advertisement. When a commercial comes on, we become put off by the interruption. We all know advertisements are built on attempting to sell us something. A news outlet providing a press release or story uses its credibility. As a result, they extend credibility to your brand.
Why sponsor the news with paid advertising? Especially when you can become integrated into the news information with a PR story.
Public relations specialists understand how to help you craft a message to the market that will help you be perceived as an industry expert.
PR Has More Potential Reach
One distinct difference marketing departments need to understand is that a successful PR campaign has no cap on the reach of the content. Whereas, the reach with ads will cap out when the money runs out.
If you place an ad in a print magazine with 1,000 subscribers, you get 10,000 impressions. Most of the impressions will generate little response. As a result, your message will be ignored entirely.
If you write a press release, you can send this same press release to multiple audiences. Newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV stations can share your press release. The same can occur only with the same news networks, social media, and thought leadership articles.
Also, that press release will likely stay online for many years. However, the print ad most likely will not appear online and eventually disappear.
Public Relations Makes it Personal
Communication in advertising is one-way. You present the message, and the audience listens. The objective of advertising is to pitch a product or service. While it can get a direct response from potential customers, it does not create a conversation that can lead to a relationship.
Social media fosters relationships with customers. You can create a personal conversation by responding to customers’ posts and comments on your social media pages and your company’s pages. Integrating your PR strategy with your social media marketing strategy is a great strategy and free publicity. Media stories become fantastic social media content.
Compelling your audience to feel important is unique to public relations. You are providing them a more personal perception of your brand, which is more challenging to do in advertising.
A PR Campaign is an Active Conversation (Ads are one-way conversations)
Consumers passively view advertising. The ability to record TV shows means viewers often fast-forward through the commercials. The same thing occurs in magazine and newspaper ads as customers skip to what they want.
Ads often go unnoticed.
A story shown on a news network or a good article placed in a magazine will entice potential customers to engage with the content actively. Rather than skip the ad to the following article.
PR is part of a greater strategic communication process that can help you start a conversation with a potential customer and lead to many more beneficial relationships.
Key Differences Between Public Relations vs Advertising Campaigns
Both achieve brand awareness and help you reach your target markets, they just achieve it in different ways.
- Organic vs Paid
- Unlimited reach vs Limited reach
- Gets social media shares vs No shares on social media
- Educates market vs Pushes specific product
- Thought leadership vs Purchased attention
- Editorial content vs Ad copy
- Third party credibility vs Public skepticism
The Hybrid Approach
So some of you may be thinking, “why can’t we do both?” And the answer is you can! And one of the best ways is to boost your media features as ads on social media! Use the targeting features within each social media platform’s ad center to curate your target audience.
Another hybrid approach is to use a social influencer to amplify your public relations strategy and reach. Using influencers are paid campaigns. But they can help by building trust and a positive relationship with their audience by sharing your media appearances on their social media with an endorsement.
Paid media is one of the advertising tools that fit the hybrid approach. Advertorials as they are now commonly referred to are ads that are designed to look like organic news stories. The headlines are nice and juicy so they attract a lot of clicks. Many consumers won’t bother to notice or care that what they are reading is paid content and not endorsed by the publication. Paid media can be a great strategy if you have a particular product you want the general public to know about.
Public relations and advertising are both valuable to your business. In many ways, advertising and public relations complement each other. However, the reality is that PR is a more valuable asset to your company in the long run and helps build a positive reputation for your business.