We listed a few pros and cons so you can make the right decision for your brand
If you want to grow your brand, you may be wondering if you need advertising or PR. You may also be unsure about the difference between PR and advertising.
They are both forms of bringing awareness to your business, so we will consider their pros and cons so you can make the right decision for your brand.
What is PR?
PR or Public Relations is essentially a set of tools to use when you share information and news about your business through third parties. This can be via newspaper or magazine articles, online blogs, TV, radio or influencers.
Good PR will share information about your business in a positive light, which will help shape and develop public perception of your business. And as it is not generally paid for, it is viewed as a more honest reflection of your company.
What is Advertising?
Advertising is a form of paid media where your marketing team will devise adverts or news to share on social media or in newspapers and magazines, both print and online. It can be a good way to get your brand in front of a large audience quickly; companies with large marketing budgets commonly use it.
Differences Between PR And Advertising
If you are still unsure which option is right for you, we have listed some of the differences between paid media and PR.
The first major difference between advertising and public relations is the price. If you have an advert in a print magazine or newspaper that can be very expensive, and even if it is online, it still costs. The positive aspect of paid media is that you will reach a large audience very quickly, and a good advertising campaign can enhance your brand and drive business to your company.
PR is earned media, which means it does not give instant results. It requires pitching a story to journalists or bloggers, and then waiting for the story to be featured. Conversely, you can respond to requests from journalists writing about your sector. It is a very cost-effective way to market your business, as you usually will not pay bloggers or feature writers to tell your story. PR gives credibility, as it is not paid media but earned media.
Advertising is simply paying to say how great your brand is. PR is where you tell the world all the fantastic things about your company.
This means PR can be seen as being more reliable and genuine to potential customers. Most people prefer to read an editorial feature than an advert. The advert just tells you to buy a product, the feature will tell you why this product or service is good for you.
Advertising allows you to start selling straight away. If you advertise online, you can even include a “buy now” button.
PR is not about making instant sales, but about raising brand awareness, which will lead to more sales down the line.
If you put an advert in a print newspaper with 10,000 subscribers, you will reach 10,000 people. Not all of those subscribers will be your target audience.
If you write a compelling press release, which is picked up by journalists, this can be shared with newspapers, TV, bloggers, influencers and online news sites.
If it is published it can be shared by readers, and may even be picked up locally or nationally. Online articles stay online for a very long time, whereas print articles have a shorter lifespan.
Combining PR And Advertising
Even though paid and earned media are different, you can use them both.
If you have a small business, we would recommend using PR in your marketing campaign first as it is cost-effective and builds trust in your brand.
You can capitalise on trending stories about your sector by sending out a press release sharing similar experiences or insights.
Once your company starts to grow and you have a bigger budget, it can pay to advertise. Just make sure to place ads where your audience is likely to see them.
If you have a younger target audience, a paid advertising campaign on Instagram may be a better option than an ad in a newspaper.
PR and advertising can complement each other. PR can give credibility to adverts. Adverts can reach an audience quickly. Mix and match them to fit your business.
So, is earned media more valuable than paid media? We feel that in conclusion earned media is a cheaper, more credible way to tell your story. It will help build brand awareness, and help your business be seen as a trustworthy company.
Once your brand has visibility and a good reputation, you can start using advertising as well, but for any SME or new business, PR is the first step in bringing awareness to your business.