Difference between public relations and advertising?

By August 31, 2022 No Comments
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Many business owners are confused about the differences between public relations and advertising.


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What is the difference between public relations and advertising?


Many business owners are confused about the differences between public relations and advertising. 

Is PR the same as advertising?

No! In its simplest terms, think of PR as ‘earned media’ and advertising as ‘paid media’.

The latter obviously provides you with more certainty around the content, as you can control the look and feel of what the audience sees, reads or hears. However, in the eyes of the audience, PR is often (whether consciously or subconsciously) more credible as the coverage is provided by an independent third party.

Conversations over conversions

Likewise, assuming PR exists to drive conversions is misguided. While it can help amplify your marketing strategy, PR is a longer-term play and is more focused on creating brand awareness and trust.

PR can support a variety of business goals, like recruiting potential investors or even staff. It can also help you meaningfully engage and create relationships with media, and help you become a ‘go-to’ for expert commentary and advice in your industry or specialty.


Does my personal story matter?

People buy from people. Using your story to leverage your personal brand is not attention-seeking, or wishing you were famous. It’s about believing in the value of what you have to offer.

Personal branding, even just by building awareness via your LinkedIn profile, will help you grow as a person, open doors, and attract like-minded people and customers.

Is my business too young/old for PR?

No business is too old or too established for PR. People’s memories fade and new brands enter the market, so staying fresh with messaging and maintaining a consistent brand presence is vital.

On the flip side, if you’re an early startup with limited funds, or waiting for stock to arrive or to firm up your distribution channels, you’re probably not ready for PR.

Defining your story, branding, and target audience take time, and rushing into PR could see you expending time, energy, and resources with little return and a frustrating outcome.

Invest the time to get the results

You don’t hire a personal trainer and not show up or put in the work, then expect results. PR requires ongoing time, energy and commitment. Every business has its own unique objectives for what they want to achieve, so being clear about your objectives early on will help you set up a pathway for measuring results.

In some cases, it can be straightforward to measure success. For example, you appear in a television segment and website views or enquiries go up. Or an article appears online that gets the attention of a future investor. But this is only one measure of success. Think more ‘big picture’ about what success looks like, such as how you’ll amplify any coverage you do receive or the impact of PR on SEO.

PR should form an essential part of your business’s long-term communication strategy, but it’s not rocket science. There is lots of advice available to make sure your business is ready for PR so my best advice is to keep it simple.

(Source: Koshies Business Builders 2022. Founder of The PR Hub, Sam Dybac).

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