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PR vs. advertising: Is one better than the other?

By Lisa Goldsberry

18706614_sLearn the true benefits of PR for saving money and increasing profits

Super Bowl ads cost an astonishing $4 million for a 30-second spot. All that, and you still have to hope that most of your target audience isn’t using the bathroom when the commercial airs.

For a lot less money, you could hire a good PR firm to analyze customer behavior, help build relationships with customers and get your message to your target audiences throughout the entire year. When you learn all the true benefits of PR over advertising, you may find that you can use it to better maximize your budget and increase both customer engagement and brand recognition for your company.

Consumer attitudes: Studies show that people are far more likely to believe a news story than an advertisement. Many consumers see an advertisement as biased and one-sided. Since a company can’t buy a news story, consumers will regard it differently than advertisements because it’s the equivalent of a third-party endorsement for the company.

ROI on public relations dwarfs that of advertising: With PR, you get numerous services, such as building or rebuilding your image, positioning your company or CEO as a thought-leader in your industry, securing public speaking engagements, crisis management help and spokesperson training.

Value: In the long run, PR winds up being much less expensive than advertising. For one thing, when you hire a PR firm, you pay only for the time the team spends working for your company. With an advertising agency, you’re paying for those professionals’ time in addition to paying for ad space, so it’s almost like paying for the same thing twice.

Search engine optimization: Research shows that a majority of consumers do research online at every stage of the sales cycle before making a purchase. Your company and products must be visible to customers as they move through the process, and your PR firm will have the necessary tools to improve your position on search engines to make it easier for customers to find you.

Media outreach: Thanks to the explosion in the number of online publications and other communication technology, having PR help is now more important than ever. You’ll need to know what possibilities are out there in your industry, be able to separate the reputable from the untrustworthy and figure out the best ways to use media outlets and social media strategies to your company’s advantage. PR can handle all this for you.

Why your company needs PR

PR is a billion-dollar industry for good reasons: It entails strategic planning to build relationships with key stakeholders. Thriving businesses recognize the influence PR work has on public equity.

When you hire a PR firm at the beginning of planning company initiatives, you enable yourself to make your campaigns more successful. It allows you to focus your best efforts on other areas of your business while the PR professionals take care of tasks such as promotion and reputation management.

You should understand that we’re not calling for the end of advertising. Both PR and advertising are integral parts of a comprehensive, well-rounded communications campaign. Together, these vehicles can help you increase brand recognition, customer outreach and profitability. Working in conjunction with each other, PR and advertising can give your messages the cohesion and repetition you need for maximum outreach.

At Axia, we use earned media to help establish credibility for your company and obtain key news media placements. Download our e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment or contact us today to learn more about how we can help your company with influencing markets and increasing your exposure.


Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.

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Topics: public relations

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