The Internet has changed the way we do business, requiring marketers, advertisers, and public relations practitioners to rethink the way they send messages to the public and communicate through the media. Although the changes have been mostly positive, they’ve also caused a lot of confusion. The end result is that advertising, marketing, and public relations have collided, and many entrepreneurs are unable to discern one from the other.

 

Marketing Graphic

Marketing, advertising, and public relations are all separate industries. How do you know which one you need?

They may be closely aligned in purpose, but these subtle differences in these fields make each wholly different from one another. It isn’t the job of a public relations practitioner to sell products — that’s the the role of a marketer. Once a marketer defines the target audience to whom to sell the product, the product is passed on to the advertiser, who then develops a creative campaign to deliver a persuasive message to consumers.

 

Great! So, why do I need a PR company? Paid advertising is the spark that prompts the public to purchase products. It doesn’t foster relationships, and it does nothing to ensure that your customers won’t turn to another company when the next great product comes along. A successful public relations campaign generates public interest and builds mutually beneficial relationships with the public. Products are bought and sold; people and public opinions are not.

 

From getting the word out about your company’s work in the community, to guiding your business through a communications crisis, public relations is about people, not products. It fosters relationships, not sales. The public relations profession has undergone remarkable changes in the past decade, and the rise of the Internet and social media requires PR professionals to continually develop innovative ways to communicate with the public, without the help of paid advertising.

 

The public is more educated than ever, and they’re not easily persuaded. They’ll flip past your ad in a magazine and fast-forward through your commercials with their DIRECTV remotes. But they’ll trust the court of public opinion and seek out public forums to read about your brand. With public relations, you have the opportunity to tell your stories, to inform opinions, and to not only participate in forums, but build them.

 

What are your thoughts about PR? Share your thoughts in the comment section or tweet me @nataliepetitto