Public Relations Vs Advertising – What Is The Difference?

Public Relations Vs Advertising – What Is The Difference?

20 Jul 2022

Does the two terms public relations and advertising the same? Or do they have different meanings associated with them? Well, many confuse them as similar, but in reality, these are two different words with different perspectives. This difference can only be acknowledged when they are deeply understood and appreciated.

For a company, it is important to manage both efficiently for unhindered growth and success. Let’s break the ice and check out the difference between public relations and advertising!

What is PR (Public Relations)?

Public relations is the act of professionally promoting and managing the positive image of a brand. It is influencing how others see and feel about a brand, company or person. It is a communication strategy that aims to benefit organizations by doing their publicity.

PR takes care of everything how the information related to the company or the individual is conveyed to the public and especially the media. This is maintaining the image of the company for countless benefits associated with promoting your product or services, sustaining the position and announcing their accomplishments.

Here are a few things that you must know about PR

1. About PR firms:

It is a persuasion business where professionals create narratives to fulfill their goals. You may hire a PR firm to improve, protect or build your reputation. They also mitigate the damage when anything or anyone tries to defame you through strategic responses to the media.

The role of a Public relations agency is to create positive publicity for its clients and improve its reputation in the industry. They may be engaged in press releases, expand professional networks, manage social media, write blogs, and deal with the media.

2. Aspects of PR:

There are various ways to maintain a reputation or interact with the audience. Though there is a growing perception that social media can replace traditional media but this ain’t true. Notice that most companies press release or publicize in various ways and then post it on social media. Social media platforms augment your PR efforts and amplify the results.

PR includes various disciplines like corporate communications, crisis communications, marketing communications, content creation, brand journalism, reputation management, events, and many more.

3. Measuring PR:

PR cannot be measured accurately but can only be estimated and compared. Though there are various models and methods available to count upon it they all just give a rough idea and are nowhere exact.

What is Advertising?

What is Advertising

Advertising is a marketing communication that is intended towards selling a product or a service to the targeted audience. It is the oldest form of marketing that aims to sell specific products or services through their promotion and by reaching out to the potential audience. With the introspection of the internet, advertising is now categorized into two – traditional and digital advertising.

Traditional advertising is all about promoting the products on regular sources like Television, mail, radio, newspapers etc. Although it is an old form of marketing your products but is still effective and reaches out to a larger audience.

Digital advertising on the other hand is the new version of marketing. It is more efficient and reaches the target audience in less duration. Digital advertising tools include pay-per-click, social media platforms, display advertising and more.

Key Differences Between PR and Advertising:

There’s a famous quote that effortlessly differentiates these two. It says “Publicity is what you get while advertising is what you buy”. One is paid media while Public relations is media earned. Pr vs. advertising is like purchased vs. earned, Paid vs. unpaid, doubtful vs. credible and so on. Let’s find out more about such differences!

1. Consumers' Perspective:

Advertising: The audience watching the ad knows that it is inclined towards them for buying the product or the service. The concentration directly goes onto the services, their qualities and the price. The features of the product are investigated and examined for benefits.

PR: During Public relations, consumers are not much aware of the brand’s intentions. Here the attention is not on what you sell and how it is but on who you are and what you do. It is learning about something you didn’t pay for. The third-party endorsement makes it more valuable and in the long run benefits you more than advertisements. Advertisements may increase your sales of a particular product but PR has the power to improve the sales of all your products and services in one go.

2. Credibility:

Advertising: Advertising and public relations both are credible but the amount varies. The audience may not entirely believe what is being told in an ad. It is dictated by the owners and may not hold the complete truth and thus is less credible than the PR.

PR: Public relations have high credibility as news comes from trusted third-party media. Also as the brand reputation is high and maintained, people tend to believe what is being said to them and even convey it to others. PR gives birth to mouth-to-mouth advertisement which is far better than any other advertising technique.

3. Target:

Advertising: In an advertisement, your target is your potential audience. Here through some action words, you are targeting your clients and motivating them to take the specific action as desired by you. Your goal here is to sell your product or services to them and thus you are trying to impress them. Also in an advertisement, you praise your product so that people are influenced to buy it.

PR: In the case of PR, you praise yourself and try to influence the media and audience to like you. Here the immediate goal is to just enhance your brand’s reputation and the ultimate goal is to improve your credibility to sell your products easily.

4. Creativity:

Advertising: Advertising gives you room for creativity. Here you could show your talent to excite your audience to buy your products. The new campaigns and materials can make you stand apart from the crowd and improve your visibility.

PR: it is just about creating buzz about your company to be known. It is like branding. Here creativity is just about finding new media platforms and intriguing there.

5. Control:

Advertising: When creating an advertisement, you have complete control over how it will look, feel and turn out to be. You can also decide where it appears, how frequently it will appear and when it is displayed. The amount of money spent on the ad will also dictate the reach.

PR: In Pr, you have less control over the results. The media and media channels portray your image and are the only ones to decide you are presented to the audience.

6. Communication:

Advertising: It is a monologue communication process. In advertising, you draw public attention to sell your products and services through paid tools and activities.

PR: Public Relations is a two-way process of communication. Here the brands listen to the customers and the public and also respond to them. It is a strategic communication technique that aims at forming a beneficial relationship between the brand and the audience.

7. Price:

Advertising: It is paid! Even the outcome or the results depends on the money you spend on it. The brand has to specifically pay for the advertisement and decide when it will be aired to the public.

PR: Public relations focus on free coverage of the brand. It ties and aims for free publicity through media and press releases.


This blog diligently answers the question of “how pr is different from advertising”. As far as differences are concerned they are pretty much simple and easy to understand. Now, one can handily use these two strategies to improve their business.

Take note that PR foreshadows marketing and is essential to your success!

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