How is PR Different from Marketing?
This analogy always explained it best for me (and we can all relate to dating!):
If a man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person, to make her feel a certain way -- and that’s marketing. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is (which makes her feel a certain way) — that’s PR.
In non- dating terms, here’s another analogy:
"When you see a company on a billboard – that's advertising. When you read about a company in a newspaper, magazine or online blog – that's public relations."
Do you see the difference? One is owned for. One is earned.
Marketing is focused on what you control: owned and paid channels. Think of it like the copy for your website, blog, newsletter, social media. You own that content. PR is earned, meaning that it refers to media exposure you’ve earned through word-of-mouth. It is getting OTHER people to tell your story - whether that is a journalist or an influencer, or somebody else’s social media.
With marketing, you can directly control your content which means you can directly control your message HOWEVER it is disseminated. With PR, you control your message and who you pitch it to - but it’s ultimately up to the journalist or influencer on how they tell your story (and...hopefully the timing is right, they have interest, there are no conflicting events, etc.) There is an art to pitching a story.
Marketing is a sales generation tool - you can easily measure it. PR is a lead generation tool and more nuanced. You can lead a horse to water (i..e, the reporter), but you can’t make it drink.
You may be thinking - WHY wouldn’t I ALWAYS use Marketing strategies vs. PR?!
In short: Trust. Authority. Credibility
PR lends a level of authority and credibility that marketing doesn’t. And trust, authority and credibility help you grow your business.
Think about when you book a hotel for a trip - do you trust the ad telling you about the amenities and experience, or do you go to TripAdvisor and read what other guests had to say? As a human, you’re ALREADY NATURALLY looking for third party validation.
When a journalist writes a story, they are giving their stamp of approval. A good piece of press coverage has the ability to drive thousands, if not millions of people back to your website…and this increases sales.
Think about when you’re trying to sell your product or offering to a new client, imagine the credibility when you’re able to say “Forbes wrote about us, see our coverage in this magazine….”
I once got a client on the cover of Fast Company. The article generated so many leads, that the company's website CRASHED due to traffic!
PR should be looked at as an investment, not an expense. When done correctly, public relations has the ability to grow your business, your brand and your credibility like no other medium.