PR vs. Advertising: What Makes Them Different?

Businesses utilize different communication tools when handling promotions. Two particular examples are public relations (PR) and advertising. While both play significant roles in upholding a company’s brand value, they differ greatly from each other.

However, similarities between PR and advertising have led to a lot of enterprises to believe that the two are the same. Thus, they think that if they are already implementing PR campaigns, they don’t need advertising or vice versa. Such a mindset is wrong and misguided because PR and advertising are both necessary to achieve objectives and reach a defined target market.

If you are also a business owner who’s confused between PR and advertising, you’re in luck. Below, we’ll discuss their main differences. But, before we head on to the list, let’s briefly define these two aspects of promotion.

Advertising vs. PR

Advertising is a form of mass communication that centralizes on increasing sales. Moreover, it’s primarily concerned with the crafting of paid messages to be conveyed through various types of media such as digital, broadcasting (TV and radio), print, and out-of-home. Public relations is focused on building and nurturing positive relations with external entities such as stakeholders, business partners, customers, and the general public. It aims to gain favorable publicity by maintaining a pleasant and agreeable corporate reputation.

Differences Between PR and Advertising

  • Immediate vs. Ongoing.

Advertising campaigns aim for more instantaneous results. Moreover, the process of producing advertisements also take drastically less time than the period invested in PR campaigns. When goods or services are promoted, the bottom line is persuading people to avail those.

PR, however, is an ongoing strategic communication process that takes a lot of time. It deals with building and sustaining relationships with the public, and this cannot be achieved through just a single campaign.

  • Call to Action vs. Key Messages.

The content of the two also varies. Advertisements always consist of a call to action or a persuasive statement that specifically indicates what the consumer needs to do to gain something. For example, to boost comfort, they should buy this type of chair, or to get certain features, they need to purchase a particular smartphone model.

On the other hand, PR communicates key messages that are grounded on the principles and core values that guide its operations. It doesn’t market the services or products offered by the business, but the business itself. Simply put, the goal is improving brand awareness and not directly securing sales.

  • Control over the Content.

In advertising, the company has full control over the components of the ad. As you will pay for the coverage, you can dictate what the ad should include, as well as when or where it will be placed (i.e. time slot or page placement).

In PR, businesses have less control with regard to media coverage. After sending a story or an idea to reporters, they decide whether or not to publish it. In case that they do publish it, they may make a few changes.

The Takeaway

advertising teamTo make the most out of promotional means, it’s best to use PR and advertising together in an integrated communication campaign. Moreover, it’s recommended that you seek professional services.

For example, coordinate with a PR agency that will be tasked with strategy development so you can acquire media publicity. An advertising agency will also help you create high-quality and effective ads. If you live in Arizona, for instance, there are many companies that specialize in delivering advertising services and public relations management in Phoenix, Sedona, Wickenburg, and Prescott. Check out different agencies to determine which one is the most suitable for your business needs and goals.