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A 101 guide to the differences between PR and Advertising

Posted by JournoLink in Business Tips on 26 May 2016 at 14:15

Have you ever been asked ‘well, what actually is PR? And how is it different to advertising?’ It’s a fairly common question to hear in the business, one that we hear often here at Journolink. Public relations is one of the many marketing channels that can be used under the advertising umbrella but the differences between the two are often blurred or not made clear which may be a reason for why some companies feel that they don’t need to use it in their marketing strategy.

Here is a quick breakdown of the differences between the two:

Credibility - Gaining the respect and admiration from the people most important to your brand
Everywhere you turn nowadays you are likely to be bombarded with an advertising message, it’s suffocating to say the least.  How can we, as the public, trust an advertising message from a brand or large corporation when we don’t know from whom it’s coming from personally? With PR we feel a more personal connection because we are hearing about it first hand from someone we trust. PR stems from Freud’s psychological theory that, as humans, we are more likely to trust a spokesperson that is knowledgeable in that field of study. PR in summary; is about trust.

 Price – The expenses involved

Advertising can be costly whilst PR on the other hand can be cheap if not free.  The aim of PR for any company is to get free media exposure, whilst with advertising you’re paying to get a specific time slot, often repeatedly to create a bigger impact. Whilst advertising may reach a larger audience, the element of how much money is put into it all can put people off. The deal with public relations is that you’re mostly relying on the power of word-of-mouth which is and will always be free.

Shelf lifeHow long the message will last
The control that advertising gets with the scheduling of its content also means complete control of how long a campaign is to be run. This is great in terms of the shelf life and reaching out to more people but can be a problem for the budget. As for PR, a press release is only released once which limits its shelf life, however with the help of the internet it can be picked up again and again making it last a lot longer than you would have expected.

Choosing PR over advertising is personal to any company and brand and is something that should be considered thoroughly to decide whether it is for you. Both communication channels have their pros and cons and obviously here at Journolink we want to help our small businesses to gain that exposure that they need. Why would you bother with the expenses of advertising and the lack of return on investment when PR is statistically 90% more effective than advertising?  (Nielsen, 2014 study)

Written by: Claire Eggleshaw Redoutet, Marketing Intern

Claire adds and contributes to our online material such as blog and twitter posts, she fundamentally helps us maintain the more social media aspect of JournoLink. As a new member of the team, she hopes to gain maximum experience whilst also helping us connect to the wider public.

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