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Public Relations vs. Advertising

Much of the confusion around PR is understanding how it differs from other forms of marketing, such as advertising. There are numerous differences between these two marketing strategies; including the following:

  1. Cost – The financial investment for PR is significantly less than with advertising where you must pay for the time it takes to create ads, as well as pay for the media outlets to deliver your messages. A full-page color ad in Fortune, for example, is $140,000. That doesn‟t take into consideration the cost of creating the ad. The cost for PR is primarily for the time required to do it.
  2. Control – With ads, the company can control the message. With PR, the media controls the message and the method and timing of the delivery – you never know what will ultimately appear or when it will appear.
  3. Repetition – Ads can be run multiple times. News stories typically run once (unless syndicated).
  4. Credibility – Consumers are skeptical of ads, but tend to take what they hear in the news at face value.
  5. Attractiveness – Ads need to appeal to their target audience. Publicity must have an angle or hook that grabs the editor‟s attention.

PR is just one strategy in the marketing arsenal, but an important one that can lend significant credibility to an organization. PR should not be used alone, but should be tightly integrated with the rest of the organization‟s marketing program.

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