28 February 2020 Bec Derrington

When a business needs to promote itself, there are several ways to accomplish this. They can use public relations or they can advertise. Both have their benefits, though PR can be more effective than advertising in many scenarios.

Understanding the differences between the two and the various benefits of PR can demonstrate why advertising should NOT fleece the entire marketing budget.

1. The Differences Between PR and Advertising

Many people view PR and advertising to be similar. While they are both capable of building brands and communicating, the methods are different.

Advertising space is paid for while PR is developed by providing the media with information about what is going on with the business in the form of pitches and press releases.

The goals and objectives of a business will determine which method is more applicable. Growth, conversations, improving reputations, and more will need to be factored in.

Businesses looking to build brand awareness and boost their reputation will find it more effective to use public relations. Especially if the reputation has been damaged in the past, advertising won't fix things. However, specifically targeted PR campaigns will.

Further, PR is capable of targeting more people. Advertising will go after one specific segment of consumers. PR, however, can target employees, investors, legislators, consumers, and even influencers.

There's more control within advertising because of being able to choose the ad layout and the amount of money spent. PR involves losing some control to the media as they decide how to present the information. However, having a PR firm will make it easier to control what's being fed to the media and the way in which it is being presented.

Short-term goals embrace advertising while long-term goals embrace PR. There is strategy involved with both, though a business needs to have a firm understanding of what their goals are in order to choose the best form of promotion for their brand.

2. PR Offers a Better Investment

Businesses have to look at what the cost of advertising will be. While lower budgets can be used, it will result in fewer impressions. In order to reach more people, the cost will rise exponentially. This limits the number of impressions that small and medium-sized businesses can expect to achieve, especially when they have to compete against larger brands within their industry.

PR is earned as opposed to being purchased. Working with a PR film ensures that stories are published in order to earn a more positive reputation.

Public relations firms are able to feed news stories to the same outlets that are being used for advertising. Since the audience wants the news and not the advertisements, the return on investment using PR is considerably more impressive than that used to advertise in newspapers, magazines, and on TV.

3. PR is More Credible

Advertisements are not credible because consumers know that businesses have something to benefit from them. The ads are in place to get consumers to take action and buy a product or service. With press releases and story pitches, news outlets will share them with large audiences. The purpose is to inform or educate about what's happening. Consumers are more likely to trust the content and respond to the information as opposed to dismissing the information because of it coming through as paid content.

Consumers should never be under-estimated. They know that brands are paying big money to get impressions. While ads might resonate with a small percentage of the impressions, it is not a trusted source. When stories appear in the news, however, they are trusted because of being independently verified by a third party that is trusted. Many consumers rely on specific media sources, so when a story appears there, the trust is already established.

In some instances, PR and advertising can be used simultaneously in order to complement one another. PR stories will add credibility to advertisements. Once media coverage has established the credibility, the ads can be used to provide added promotion.

4. PR is Active

Consumers interact with media in a variety of different ways. They read through the articles in a magazine and skim past the ads. They watch the news on TV and fast-forward through commercials. Public relations is, therefore, an active form of communicating with a target audience while advertising is passive.

Businesses want to ensure that their messages are being heard. When stories are placed into the right news and media outlets, it can ensure that there is a more active approach to hearing the message.

5. PR is Personal

Businesses also have to look at how they're communicating with their audience. Advertising is a one-way form of communication that involves flashing an ad or a commercial in front of the audience for a limited time. There's nothing personal to it. The ad is designed to resonate with a particular audience but that's all that it is.

PR allows for a conversation between brands and consumers. Social media makes it possible to generate better relationships. PR is all about public relations, and Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms can be vital vessels to help improve communication by responding to posts and tweets. It ensures that customers feel valued. Additionally, when a brand communicates with an individual, it allows the individual's perception of the brand to improve considerably.

6. Exploring Public Relations

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from public relations regardless of what one's reputation is currently within an industry. PR can start even before a business has opened its doors, too, as a way to generate interest with their target audience and getting people in-the-know of what products or services will be offered. Advertising is dependent on selling a product or service with an immediate call-to-action. PR is more subtle. However, there is a time and place when the two can work together in order to get the desired results.

Businesses can learn more about public relations and how the earned media can work to build trust within the community and boost the overall visibility of the brand.

Discover more about the power of PR by contacting SourceBottle today.