So, what is the difference between advertising and PR?
PR (Public Relations) is very different to advertising, its purpose is to have a sustained positive impact on the relationship between your business and its wider world, by creating and maintaining a favourable image to your existing customers, potential customers, the media, employees and suppliers. It is about enhancing the reputation of your business, rather than directly driving sales, which is the role of advertising. However, the long-term objective of good PR is ultimately to have a positive impact on sales because the better your reputation, and the more trust you have from your target market, the easier sales will be to attract.
When you advertise, you take complete control of the message you are conveying but that is not the case with PR, and this makes some companies somewhat nervous about using it. There is always the risk that an event that you hold could go wrong or the press could distort a message that you were hoping to convey, leaving your audience feeling underwhelmed or even negative about your business which may in turn adversely affect your business’s image and reputation. However, although these are obviously all possible outcomes, the benefits of good PR far outweigh the risk of it going wrong.
What are the benefits of PR?
PR can be very powerful because the public regard it as impartial and being endorsed by the media it is in, or the person who is interpreting your message. They say that the value of PR is up to 10 times more than the advertising value for the space! With the right skills, good relationships with the press and excellent organisation, PR can take your brand to another level.
How does PR work?
Public Relations is far more subtle than advertising and provokes a very different response amongst consumers. Many consumers actively avoid advertising messages, but are very open to attending an event or reading about how a local business is supporting a worthwhile charity, and then subconsciously endorsing your brand in their conversations as they talk positively about the event they attended or the press release they read. PR works on the subconscious level, appealing to people in a way that they are barely even aware of and that is why it is so beneficial to the long-term image and reputation of your brand. Once they have been in contact with your subtle PR message, their susceptibility to any future marketing materials will increase.
What might a PR campaign look like?
Traditionally, PR has mainly focused on sending out press releases and getting positive media coverage without paying money for advertising. These activities still play a big part in the PR job but these days there is much more to it. The advent of social media alone has raised the possibilities for PR activity massively. Below is a list of PR activities to consider when planning a PR campaign-
Events that raise awareness of your product, service or location
Press releases in the local press – This could be about a new product, new premises, celebrating the anniversary of a long-term employee – almost anything that makes a good story and portrays your business in a positive light
Newsletters to both existing and potential customers on your database will create a regular communication channel to nurture long-term relationships and encourage repeat business
Networking events to meet new contacts and make the most of powerful word of mouth advertising
Charity support or sponsorship – and If you’re doing it, don’t forget to talk about it in newsletters and press releases
Team events and internal promotion to staff to strengthen your relationship with your employees and amongst themselves
As powerful as PR can be, it needs to form part of an overall marketing plan if your business is to fulfil its potential. Remember that PR impacts the longevity and future success of your brand, whereas advertising drives sales today.
We hope you have found this article interesting and informative. If you have any questions or would like to discuss PR strategies for your small business further, please call Trinity on 0800 954 2099 for a Free Consultation or complete our online form.