Over a decade in the communications field has taught me a lot about this industry and I have been lucky enough to share my insights with Women’s Network Australia. Check it out below…
For many business owners, entrepreneurs and even office workers alike, the lines between PR, Marketing and Advertising can easily be blurred. More often than not, it’s simple to identify advertising ploys, their purpose and even their outcomes. Yet, many fail to recognise PR in action and can easily miss the signs that a campaign or communication strategy is underway.
There is an age-old battle between PR and advertising, which has seen the two fight it out for client attention for decades. So, what makes PR such a valuable tool, and is it better than advertising?
We live in a ‘consumer-driven’ society and much of our daily grind consists of being ‘sold’ things – TV, social media, news, magazine, billboards and movies – which all tell us how we should act, dress and even feel. It can easily be overwhelming and frustrating. That’s where PR comes in.
PR doesn’t try to sell you things – in fact, the philosophy is to focus on value-add content. Instead of trying to sell you a service, the approach is to find current trends and topics and insert the company/client into the discussion by providing insightful content and commentary for readers and viewers. This is a gentle way to position the brand with key audiences – without the hard sell or the high cost.
Third Party Endorsement
Essentially, no one likes people who brag about themselves, so why would we want to see companies do it? This is why third party endorsed messaging is much more effective. Instead of a full page advertisement, which screams ‘I’ve got a lot of money and I know how to use it’, an interview with the client (conducted by the publication) or a review by the publication of the product/service holds much greater reader engagement and value. Not only does this bring the client to top-of mind awareness for readers, but as a society who thrives on social proof, it also helps build credibility.
Advertising can be expensive and companies can pay thousands of dollars for just one print ad which is quickly flicked over. PR gets you far greater readership impact with minimal to no cost involved. Don’t be fooled, there are costs involved in successful PR campaigns – clients might be required to pay for photoshoots, equipment, and general expenditure that accompany campaigns, plus usually a retainer for the PR company, but you won’t have to fork out thousands of dollars just to get your name/company featured in the publication. Not only is PR considered three times the value of paid advertising, but it costs far less comparatively. It is not uncommon that a PR budget of only a few thousand dollars can generate media exposure valued tenfold that in just a matter of a couple of months, let alone get exposure you simply cannot buy, such as TV or radio.
Much like advertising, Public Relations holds its own place in the communication realm. And, while there is no discrediting the effectiveness of paid advertising, there is a place and need for PR. In order to work out what will best meet your needs, talk to a professional to devise a strategy best suited to your business and budget. Then implement a working budget in line with your aims and spending capacity to ensure you achieve the best results possible. Usually, if budgets are limited, PR reins over advertising when it comes to affordability and ROI.
Do you have you a strategy in place for your business? I would love to hear it.
Read more of my industry insights on the Women’s Network Australia website