PR or Advertising: Which is Best? | Eight PR | Article – HSBC VisionGo

This article explains the differences between public relations and advertising and helps you decide which is best for your business.
Marketing  ·    ·  2 mins read

PR is all about building relationships with the media and other stakeholders, while advertising is about getting messages in front of as many people as possible. 

Advertising has been around for thousands of years. Commercial messages were discovered in the ruins of Pompei, lost and found notices on papyrus were common in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. 

More recently, advertising can be traced back to the 16th century when newspapers appeared with ads to generate revenue. However, it was only in 1836 that a French newspaper became the first newspaper to rely on advertising to lower the cover price but increase profitability.

Public relations also has a long history. Academics say that public influence and communications can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Edward Bernays, an American pioneer in PR, said the, “three main elements of public relations are practically as old as society [i.e.] informing people, persuading people, or integrating people with people”.**

The Case for Advertising

For marketing your firm, you may wonder whether to focus on public relations or advertising. Both options have their pros and cons, but there are some key differences between the two that are worth considering. 

Advertising is a powerful way to get your message in front of potential and current customers. There are a variety of advertising mediums to choose from, depending on your budget and target audience, and the goal is to get in front of as many people as possible using repetition and volume for success.

It doesn’t matter if you are advertising a product or your company, ads are just as relevant today as they ever were. Consumers are bombarded with ads via TV, print ads, social media, transport, billboards, digital and, in many other ways. 

There are important considerations to be made when planning an ad campaign because there are so many options available at different price levels.

[If you decide that advertising is the route you want to take, we can help recommend an ad agency to make sure your marketing dollars aren’t being wasted.] 

Why Public Relations?

An integral part of any company wanting to thrive in today’s business climate, public relations is more than communicating good news to target audiences. PR professionals strategize the rollout of any new products and even provide guidance on how to handle negative feedback.

But there is more to public relations, which takes a collaborative approach by working with different stakeholders, including customers, journalists, investors, government officials, public etc. to provide information or even work together. 

This involves developing relationships with journalists at key mainstream and trade media outlets and telling stories that resonate with their readers.

Which is Better: Advertising or Public Relations?

There are a lot of different communication strategies that businesses can use to promote their product or service, but the answer to the question of which is better very much depends on your business and needs.

There are some businesses where advertising is going to be the better strategy because of the business nature and the opposite is true for public relations.

Advertising is great if you want to get the word out about your product or service, but it can be difficult and expensive to break through competitive clutter. PR is less intrusive than advertising because instead of just pushing information at people, you are building relationships with audiences and creating results.  

Whichever route you choose, make sure you research your options and find the strategy that’s going to work best for your business. 

Conclusion

PR isn’t always about getting your product seen and known either; sometimes just having conversations with journalists and influencers via phone calls and emails can accomplish enough exposure using no advertising dollars.

Overall, advertising is a great investment for any company or individual wanting to get their message publicized and they should consider it an important part of any public relations and marketing strategy.

PR is a more subtle form of marketing that can be more effective than advertising because it builds trust, credibility, and authority for you / your brand / your product. Sustained public relations campaigns are vital in establishing and maintaining a positive image and helping to cut through the noise made by competitors.

Advertising and public relations work in tandem and are both just as important as each other and may even overlap; branded content is one example. 

If you decide public relations is for you, contact us today. We can help create an effective strategy that will get your business noticed without breaking the bank. Likewise, if you prefer advertising or an integrated campaign, then we’re happy to offer our help as well.

Eight Public Relations
Eight Public Relations