Advertising and PR are completely two distinct disciplines of marketing. Yet, their goals are the same – to communicate the brand message to the target customers.
Here is a simple example. You have launched a new product. Advertising is when you promote it on social media or through flyers and hoardings. Public Relation is when you inform the public about the launch through press releases, news conferences and other non-paid mediums.
Now, let’s understand the differences further in detail.
Advertising comes with a price tag. Whether you are choosing Facebook, radio, television or print ads, you have to shell out money from your marketing budget. Whereas, public relations earn you free publicity through good relations with media houses. Though the goal of PR is to build goodwill, it helps to promote the brand indirectly or subtly – by sponsoring a charity event, through third-party endorsements or participating in public forums/discussions.
Advertisements do not bring that level of credibility as public relations does. Customers are sceptical about the content is shown in advertisements; they know you are trying to sell something. However, public relation content usually features in the press and are communicated by third parties. Hence, customers find public relation communication more reliable.
Since advertising spaces have to be bought, all you need is a marketing budget to spend. You can approach any advertising agency to book a spot. An advertisement on prime time on national television will cost more than an evening slot. It is up to you how much your budget permits, but you can be sure about getting the space. In public relations, it takes networking and relationship building with print publications and broadcast media to get your message published. If you have ever taken up a digital marketing course, you must have heard of influencer marketing. Well, you can say that public relation efforts bring influence that is required to spread the word about the product.
You are emptying your pockets to advertise. You have a complete say in how the ad should look like and what it should talk about. However, public relation effectiveness mostly depends on how good terms you have with the media. It is entirely on the media house how they want to present your information.
A good marketer should know both advertising and PR from inside out. Both can be used tactically and as an integrated strategy to maximize the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. However, in order to leverage their advantages in the best manner possible, you need to have substantial knowledge which you can easily gain by doing courses in Advertising Management & PR.