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PR v Advertising – FIGHT!

One of the longstanding battles in the marketing world has been between these two giant powers – PR and advertising. Each advocate within their own right provides outstanding results when engaged correctly but gosh do they scare the living daylights out of the business community.

On the ground here in Devon and Somerset, we find businesses balk at the cost of advertising and question what on earth is PR? Why do I need a spin doctor telling me how to behave? And we say, for many SMEs, you are quite right. Advertising is not a sustainable cost effective option and no, you don’t need a spin doctor, but your business could benefit immensely from some good old fashioned advice on how you communicate with your clients.

So what is the difference between publicity and advertising? Publicity is the media relations arm of public relations; it is the tool that gets you in the news. Advertising is the function specifically involved in the sale of products or services. Like publicity it is designed to be persuasive,informative and to influence purchasing behaviour and thought patterns. Confused? Let’s put this bluntly, the simple difference is that you buy advertising but the editorial and broadcast space obtained through PR is free.

The word free refers to the fact that you don’t pay the media to use your news and information but you do pay them to run your adverts or commercials. Of course using a PR consultant incurs costs but generally the outcome of a well planned publicity campaign outweighs this cost and is far less than what would be spent on an advertising programme. Publicity is more powerful and more influential than advertising because it is linked to something that is newsworthy. This gives it an added value, the extra mile if you like, because of the credibility implied through the editorial endorsement of the media.

Publicity has the power to establish you as an expert; sell products and services; educate; shape public opinion and provide credibility. The great news is that just about every company has the potential to develop a fantastic publicity plan; it is just a case of sniffing out those news angles and communicating them.

What effect could publicity have on your business? Give our PR team a call today in Devon on 01884 255999 or Somerset 01823 619095.

Oxygen Publicity, PR agency Somerset and Devon.

Katie Sanders: Katie took a sales background into marketing, and holds chartered marketer status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. A devotee of PR she heads up our publicity team.