Strategy is everything in marketing. There is often debate about whether public relations or advertising is more beneficial to a campaign’s success, but in reality they serve very unique purposes and therefore work best when both factored into the marketing equation.
PR is earned coverage. It involves providing relevant information to journalists and other stakeholders with the view to developing relationships and securing media coverage and exposure. Meanwhile advertising is paid coverage; space is ‘purchased’ and an advertisement is developed and placed.
PR is generally a more cost-effective medium. By providing a hook for the journalist to grab onto, the resultant coverage is free. Which means that the only costs are for the PR professional’s time. In contrast, advertising comes with hefty costs for the space, along with the additional time required by a designer to create and finesse the artwork.
The below Full Page Editorial Icon gained with The Sunday Telegraph has an estimated AVE (avertising value equivilancy) of $64,847.
Then there is the issue of engagement. When reading a magazine, listening to the radio or watching television, your senses are often more alert to the articles or stories than they are to the ads. Research has backed this up, consistently finding that not only are people more likely to engage with the PR-generated content, but that they are also more likely to believe it.
PR in the modern world means that there is an endless list of mediums to utilise. Whether in print, online, social media, events or broadcast, we are consuming information all day, everyday, in every way possible. This means there are endless opportunities to engage with relevant stakeholders in the first instance, but also that messages have the power to linger. The beauty of online communication is that it remains live and relevant until a consumer is ready and looking for it. And in a world where people are constantly Googling everything, it’s nice to know you have a stake in that. Of course, that’s not to discount the other mediums, which each have their own merits.
Embarking upon a PR campaign is a big deal and can bring a wide scope of experiences for the company in focus. Being broadcast as an expert in the industry is a big responsibility but ultimately one that will lead to greater brand recognition and customer exposure. There will inevitably be interview opportunities with the media, or speaking opportunities at industry events, which may require senior members of the company to develop and finesse those skills if they haven’t already. But it is always worth the effort.
Following the hard work, there is the sheer thrill of seeing or hearing one’s company or name out in the world. When it comes to media coverage, there is no guarantee of what will run (or whether it will indeed run at all) which only adds to the rush. Like many things that are worthwhile, there is always a lot of hard work and a touch of luck involved.
As PR professionals, we are forced to think in a different way as well. It is no longer simply about the information we want to convey, but rather what the media and the public want to hear. We need to find angles that interest these groups whilst remaining relevant and truthful, always working to get the key messages to the people who need to hear them.
Advertising and PR both serve very different purposes and are both beneficial parts of many marketing campaigns. However, the power to truly connect goes one step further with PR and therefore brings stakeholders that little bit closer to your message.
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