Public Relations and Advertising are regularly confused and it’s commonly thought they play the same roles within an organisation, despite having different end goals and effects.
PR is a strategic communication process to create a positive reputation for a company in order to gain support and understanding through influencing opinions and behaviours of their publics. Whereas on the other hand, Advertising is the use of paid messages on various media platforms to inform and influence the target audience to make a purchase.
Free vs. Paid
- PR: Primarily PR is focused on securing free media to gain exposure for the company and their products/services through use of strategies and tactics. Through using media you have no control of how they portray the company and present the information you provide and they are not required to publish any material you send. Due to this, you are in constant contact with the media and building relationships with them in order to have your press releases used.
- Advertising: In advertising, companies pay for ad space for specific days and times so they are aware of when they will be ran. Due to this it allows you to have (1) creative control of what goes into the advert; and (2) media control of where the advert appears and when.
- PR: You will only submit a press release of a new product launch or an event once so therefore this will only circulate once, as the editor will not re-run it but, you can send each press release to a number of journalists who will each write the story in their own styles.
- Advertising: Due to paying for the advertising space, the advert will run for the duration which you have purchased.
- PR: The public often find third party sources such as newspapers more credible as it is perceived to be an informative source; this method does not encourage someone to make a purchase but it creates a positive reputation for the brand and manufacturer.
- Advertising: Often the target audience will look and read an advert with scepticism, as they know the purpose of the advert is to influence them to buy a product or service.
- PR: In order to have an editor run a press release or cover your event, you must create content that hooks both them and the target audience.
- Advertising: Your advertisement is geared towards your target audience, making use of buzzwords in order to influence and motivate the target audience.
Lauren Sharkey is a 4th year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @lsharkey_37 or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-sharkey-25776ab0/