The Top 5 Differences Between Public Relations & Advertising

In today’s market it is getting harder and harder to break through the clutter and get your marketing message heard. Public relations creates a “buzz” that gets people talking about you. It allows for transparency and credibility in a cost-effective way. I’m often asked what is the difference between public relations and traditional advertising. Here are the top 5 differences:

Paid Space vs. Free Coverage
ADVERTISING: You pay for the advertising space. This typically requires repetition and an extensive ad budget.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: This is free publicity – you convince the media that they should cover your story, news release, event, etc. It is often referred to as “earned” media.

Control & Credibility
ADVERTISING: Since you are paying for the space, you have control of your message. For the most part, you also have the ultimate say regarding copy, creative, positioning, etc.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: While you do lose control of what the media will say, a good publicist knows how to influence positive exposure. Also, an article in a newspaper or an interview provides third-party endorsement and credibility for your product or service.

ADVERTISING: If you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle, you may need to reach deep into your pockets. To get a premium position can be very pricey, but it is guaranteed.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: Besides the cost of your publicist or PR Team, there is no additional cost for the placement. However, you could end up paying a publicist without getting the desired media time.

ADVERTISING: With advertising you have the opportunity to be creative and make yourself stand out. A good copywriter can create slogans/jingles that will affect people and stick with them for a long time.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: Public relations also requires creativity, but in a different way. A good publicist needs to be able to “spin” your story to attract the attention of reporters. Public relations can help you reach your target audience many different ways.

Being Social
ADVERTISING: Most advertising agencies can help you with your SEO and online ads. You can even advertise on social networking sites.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: Most public relations firms are able to help you build social media campaigns and interact with your audience.