What Is the Difference Between Advertising and Public Relations?

Growing your business means spreading the word. And spreading the word means using both public relations and marketing.

But do you know the difference between advertising and public relations off the top of your head? Truthfully, many business owners don’t. But that doesn’t have to stop you from utilizing both and understand how each plays an important role in your growth strategy.

Keep reading to learn more about how both facets play into your company’s evolution!

They’re Not The Same?

Nope! It’s a common misconception, but public relations and advertising teams have two different tasks within a business.

In fact, while the two might work together during certain portions of a marketing campaign, they often work as two separate teams altogether.

What are Public Relations?

What is public relations? Think of it this way: When managing a small business, you need to connect with other businesses and individuals for mutual benefit.

A PR person’s main job is to create positive and meaningful relationships with outside parties.

Let’s take a press release for example.

Upon first glance, it might seem like the only party benefiting from the publication of a press release is the company sending the release. On the contrary, posting a story featuring a press release gives a website content, and thus encourages visitors to continue visiting the site.

As Mind Meld PR’s great dive into the world of PR points out, Public relations strategies are all about opening up new avenues of communication and building a company’s reputation.

Speaking of reputation building, that brings us to another major role a PR team plays within a brand. They’re tasked with cleaning up any unfortunate incidents that might tarnish a company’s reputation.

If a company is in the midst of dealing with a major data leak, for example, a PR agent may put out a public statement on behalf of their employer discussing the incident and what’s being done to right any wrong that was done.

So What’s Advertising?

Advertising refers to a company’s paid strategy through various types of advertising. This might include things like coming up with ideas for a television ad, writing web copy, or crafting social media messages to reach the biggest number of people.

Likewise, an advertising team will have little to no interaction with outside businesses, whereas that’s a major component of working in public relations. PR is about opening a dialogue to generate publicity, whereas advertising is concerned with exposure to the public and turning that exposure into a sale.

It’s a matter of sales vs. reputation, really.

Better Understanding the Difference Between Advertising and Public Relations

So, to recap, what’s the difference between advertising and public relations? Though they both work toward the same end goal, their strategies are quite different.

A PR team focuses on a business’s public perception. They’re tasked with raising exposure and addressing controversies.

Advertising, on the other hand, strives for growth via sales.

Have any more questions about PR or advertising? Make sure to check out the content on our advertising blog for more!