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What’s the difference between PR and advertising?

By Julie Miller

48243457_s.jpg3 key ways public relations and advertising differ in their benefits to a business

Those who aren’t working in public relations or advertising may not be familiar with what sets the two fields apart. While both are meant to help brands thrive, each has different roles. PR, achieved largely through earned media, helps build a brand by offering a level of authenticity that paid media advertisements cannot provide. Advertising helps support the brand by reiterating messages and graphics that help the public recognize the brand and its benefits. 

Let’s further explore some differences between PR and advertising.

  1. Control.

A well-designed PR campaign should be able to control messages you want to put out. However, some circumstances, which may be out of the PR team’s control, could derail public relations efforts. For instance, if a company’s news conference coincides with a breaking news event, reporters may not attend the conference in order to get breaking news coverage. It’s very rare that external factors can impact advertising schedules.

  1. Cost.

Public relations is earned media and advertising is paid media. Advertising comes with many more hard costs, but you get exactly what you pay for. On the flip side, PR has fewer hard costs, but you cannot guarantee that your efforts will materialize into the exact coverage you want.

  1. Trust.

Viewers, listeners and readers of media recognize paid advertisements and understand they come from biased sources. While advertisements work as a great reminder for a brand, they don’t have the same credibility as a news story crafted by an external outlet. This third-party recognition is more trusted than self-promotion.

PR or ads: Which to choose?

Find ways to work in both PR and advertising to grow your brand. If you have separate PR and advertising teams, make sure they are on the same page; correlation in message and approach will strengthen your overall efforts.

Want to know more about what companies spend on PR? Download Axia Public Relations’ report today.

PR Intelligence Report

JulieMiller.pngJulie Miller is a marketing and communications professional, working for more than seven years in the industry. She primarily works in the technology and education sectors and specializes in digital marketing and communications. Julie has worked with Axia since November 2015. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.



Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations, investment

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