In advertising, you pay for your space and you have full control of what you put in that space.
You know what publication/radio/google place you’ve bought and that what is in there is exactly what you agreed.
In PR, any space dedicated to your story is the result of a reporter publishing whatever they see fit based on the information received and usually further researched.
You have no control over whether your story will be covered, and none at all over what actually gets published or broadcast – it can, and sometimes does – go wrong. There’s a risk. You lose control of the story and the message the minute the press release has left your outbox, you push post on your page, or hang up the phone.
But, publicity going right is far more effective than advertising for several reasons. Most importantly, publicity has way more credibility than advertising. It’s what we call ‘third party endorsement’.
The impression is, if someone is creating a good story about your organisation, you must be doing something right. Also, it’s more cost effective – you don’t pay for any space dedicated to your story.
And it has more longevity than advertising. An article about your business will be remembered far longer than an ad and it has potential to reach a far wider audience – sometimes being picked up by many publications and, on a really good day, going viral across social media.
Finally, it gives you exposure you don’t have to pay for directly. The space itself is free, but while you don’t pay for space, PR rarely happens on its own. Careful planning and consistent delivery costs the time and effort of a PR professional and the organisation itself.