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Public Relations vs Advertising: What Are the Differences?


Public Relations vs Advertising: What Are the Differences?

If you own a business, marketing is going to be of the utmost importance. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that business owners spend right around 7% of their annual gross revenue on marketing.

There are obviously lots of different ways in which you can market your business. You can utilize both public relations and advertising to do it.

Before you start using either of these options, though, you should make sure you understand the differences between public relations vs advertising. It’ll enable you to put both of these marketing options to good use.

So, what is public relations, what is advertising, and what are the differences between the two? We’ve put together a public relations vs advertising guide to help you find out the answers to these questions. Check it out below.

What Is Public Relations?

As the owner of a business, one of your many jobs is to ensure that you’re able to maintain the most favorable public image possible at all times. You want people to think nothing but positive thoughts when they think about your business.

One way that you can give people the right impression of your business is by taking public relations seriously. It’ll allow you to portray your business in the right light.

So, what is public relations? Well, it’s essentially the practice of putting out information about your business on your own in an attempt to showcase what your company is all about.

In some cases, this will mean reaching out to the media to let them know about new products and/or services that your company is offering. In other instances, it will mean arranging to have reporters interview employees from your company about what your business is up to right now.

Whatever the case, the purpose of using public relations is to try and control the narrative that surrounds your business. More often than not, you’ll do this by interacting with the media in an effort to get some positive press for your company.

What Is Advertising?

In addition to making public relations a top priority within your company, you should also make it your mission to use advertising to your advantage. It’s going to be imperative that business owners utilize advertising to help spread the word about their products and/or services.

Business owners can advertise their companies in so many different ways. For example, they can:

  • Place advertisements in local newspapers and magazines
  • Run commercials on local radio stations and TV channels
  • Sponsor local Little League teams, 5K runs, etc.

Some business owners will work on advertising their companies themselves. But you might also want to kick around the idea of bringing an advertising agency on board to assist you. It’ll help you make the most of your advertising efforts.

How Are Public Relations and Advertising Similar?

We’re going to touch on some of the key differences between public relations vs advertising in a moment. But before we do, we would like to point out some of the similarities that exist when it comes to these two options.

First and foremost, public relations and advertising can be used in tandem as part of a marketing strategy. They’re both going to help you to market your business to the masses when you utilize them correctly.

Public relations and advertising can also both be used to control the messaging that surrounds your business. You’ll be in total control as far as what you would like to let people know about your company.

For these reasons, you shouldn’t choose public relations over advertising or vice versa. Instead, you should make it your mission to use them both to bring more awareness to your products and/or services.

What Are the Differences Between Public Relations vs Advertising?

While it’s important for you to utilize both public relations and advertising, there are a whole bunch of differences that set them apart. These differences should be on your radar so that you know why you’ll need to find room for both of them in your marketing strategy.

Here are some of the biggest differences that you’ll find when it comes to public relations vs advertising:

  • You will usually have to spend more money on advertising than you will have to spend on public relations
  • Public relations will help you maintain two-way communication with the general public, while advertising will include one-way communication
  • Advertising will provide you with more control over your company’s messaging than public relations will
  • Advertising will guarantee that your company is able to get publicity, while public relations will offer no such guarantee
  • Public relations will give your company more credibility overall than public relations will

As you can see, there are so many things that differentiate public relations from advertising. It’s why you shouldn’t overlook one for the other and make the mistake of thinking that one is going to work better for your business.

Any Good Marketing Strategy Should Include Public Relations and Advertising

To run a successful business, you’re going to need to incorporate both public relations and advertising into your company’s marketing strategy. It’ll help you to make people more aware of what your business brings to the table.

Now that you know the differences between public relations vs advertising, figure out how they’ll fit into your marketing strategy. You should be able to find a place for both of them within your business.

Want to get more marketing tips that will benefit your business? Read through more of our blog articles to find them.


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