PR vs. Advertising

Often times, people who aren’t in our industry have no idea what PR is. Many even confuse public relations with advertising, when in reality, the two are VERY different. An advertisement is created and produced by an agency who then decides on the best places to run it. Media buys depend on the market and demographic, however, the point is, you’re buying your way into the media. Which is totally fine! When you create an advertisement, you have complete control over your content and message. You have scripts and story boards, producers and designers, a whole team of people dedicated to creating the perfect way for you or your company to be presented to the world. With public relations, this isn’t the case.

PR is driven by content that tells a story, that is interesting or newsworthy, or announces something others will want to hear. PR isn’t guaranteed, you have to work for it. And there are many advantages to marketing through PR. A well-run PR campaign can provide more exposure, therefore your target market will be able to get to know you or your product in a more detailed and informative way. Depending on the narrative and media outlet, there’s a chance you can reach a much larger audience as outlets outside of your target market pick up the story. And in any case, the ROI of PR is far, far more cost efficient than traditional advertising.

There are also some disadvantages to using PR of which people should be aware. While public relations uses many of the same channels as advertising, i.e. newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and Internet, the significant difference is that we don’t have direct control over the information that gets out there – if or when it gets out there. Although uncommon, spelling mistakes, lack of important details and flat out incorrect information can happen. Furthermore, there is always a chance that you may get “bumped” from planned media coverage because of a more critical breaking news story. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be picked up later!

Overall, the two are very different, and you should think long and hard before you decided which is the best fit for your marketing campaign. And if you have any questions, feel free ro reach out to BlueIvy at