Public Relations vs. Advertising

In PR, The “public” is anyone who ever has/will form an opinion about the client Click To Tweet

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds and manages mutually beneficial relationships between Organizations and the Public. The “public” is anyone who ever has or ever will form an opinion about the client.

These could include clients, potential clients, members of the community, the media, online fans etc. Public relations success requires a deep understanding of the interests and concerns of each of these and how to effectively address them through Publicity.

What is advertising?

Advertising is the act of announcing, praising or drawing attention to a product, service or event in a public medium in order to promote sales or attendance.

What are the similarities between Public Relations and Advertising?

PR agencies and advertising agencies share the same goals: promoting clients and making them seem as successful, honest, important, exciting or relevant as possible.

But the paths to achieving this are different.

PR & advertising agencies share the same goals but different paths to achieving them Click To Tweet

How is Public Relations different from Advertising?

Newspapers, radio and TV stations (especially local ones) are always looking for fresh story ideas, particularly those with a “human interest” angle.

A PR professional crafts press releases resembling a compelling news story, making it clear why his client’s product, service or personal history is important. The goal is to fulfill the journalist’s requirement for news while enhancing the client’s image in the public eye.

  • PR agencies, as opposed to advertising agencies, promote companies or individuals via editorial coverage. This is known as “earned” or “free” media stories appearing on websites, newspapers, magazines and TV programs as compared to “paid media” or advertisements.
  • Since advertising is paid for by the client, it is thus viewed with skepticism. Articles or TV appearances in respected publications have the advantage of third-party validation and are generally viewed more favourably.
  • Another huge difference is the price. Public Relations in the media is free if done directly by the company. PR firms also charge monthly retainers or can be hired for specific projects. Advertising can be very pricey when you figure the cost of the space or time plus the creative designs and production costs. And most advertisements need to be repeated several times before the consumer can be influenced.
  • Publicity has greater longevity than advertising. An article about your business will be remembered far longer than an advert.
  • Publicity also reaches a far wider audience than advertising generally does. Sometimes, your story might even be picked up by the national media, spreading the word about your business all over the country.
An article about your business will be remembered far longer than an advert Click To Tweet

Advantages of Public Relations over Advertising

Advertising builds exposure whilst Public Relations build trust. Advertising leaves a sceptical audience whilst public relations because of its endorsement by the media, validates and legitimises the audience.

Because it’s in their best interest to sell you more ads, advertisers tell clients what they want to hear whilst PR people who deal with crises, image enhancement and creation of long-term relationships, where your story often must be accepted by others (the media) before you obtain recognition, will tell you what you need to hear.

Advantages of Advertising over Public Relations

Advertisers maintain creative control of output whilst Public Relations has no final say in output which rests in the hands of the media.

Advertising uses visuals whilst Public Relations use language for persuasion. With Advertising, you are guaranteed of a placement in the media platform but with Public

About Thembi Hama

Thembi Hama is a married mom of two; she lives in Johannesburg with her family. She is an Entrepreneur, Writer and Life Coach. Her love for life and a passion for empowering people is the driving force behind her many initiatives for self-mastery and social reform.

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