As a small business owner, entrepreneur, new marketing manager of a successful business, you might be wondering how to grow the business and get the most out of your marketing budget.
With a budget of $ 50,000, $ 5,000 or even $ 500 for the year, you may be wondering… Where is this money best spent? What form of promotion will attract the most attention to your business, product or message?
If you’ve made it this far, you’re currently debating between what seems like a sure thing in advertising or a lesser-known aspect of PR marketing. Or, better yet, you might be reading this because you’re not really sure what the difference is between the two.
So let’s start there.
When my friends or family ask me what I do for a living, the simple, easy-to-understand answer is, “It’s like advertising without money. While that’s the simple answer, it doesn’t capture the essence of what public relations really is.
To break it down into more technical terms, advertising is paid media, while PR is earned media. While advertising and PR help build brands and connect with consumers, PR works with journalists / reporters to help tell your story, instead of paying for a post to be sponsored.
So why should you invest your money in PR (other than being asked by a PR professional)? Let me give you my opinion, and over ten years of experience, condensed into the top five reasons why you should invest your money in public relations.
PR messages are more authentic: Every year I watch the Super Bowl, mostly for the commercials, and I’m blown away by how many of them touch my heart or make me laugh. While some ads can surely be genuine, I would say PR media placements are more genuine. I love my job because it allows me to tell the stories of my clients and to generate enthusiasm among journalists / writers for an organization. Instead of paying a media outlet to deliver a client’s message, I use my client as an expert in their space and media expert. Think of it this way… when you see a blog post about a product review and at the top it says, “I was paid by Company XYZ to review these products”, readers may think that it is. This is biased and not as honest as someone who rated the product and wrote their review for free – no conditions other than receiving the product to try.
PR gives you more screams for your dollar. This is a more appropriate way of basically saying that you will get your money’s worth or “more for your money” with public relations. I cannot stress enough that in terms of expenses, PR is only a fraction of what you would pay for advertising. Full page advertisements in weekly newspapers can cost up to $ 100,000. And that’s for an ad! Meanwhile, typical monthly PR agency fees range from $ 2,000 to $ 5,000. And while public relations are not guaranteed, you will surely get more out of that budget than just one media placement. If you don’t, you’re not working with the right PR firm.
Media reports reach more people than advertisements. In our industry, we describe reach as the number of times humans have seen a post or article. If you place an ad in the same magazine that publishes a media story, you will technically reach the same number of people. However, not many people engage with ads. In fact, if they’re like me, they ignore or skip the ads. This is very different from a news story, in which people will stop and read or watch, and actively engage. At the same time, often press releases and news are picked up by other media. For example, if a press release is posted on a national media website, local media may retrieve it, increasing the number of people who see it.
PR will benefit your brand, more than an individual product. Companies often misinterpret the purpose of public relations for their organization. While many business owners would like to see PR ultimately lead to sales, that is not the primary focus. The main objective of performing public relations is to maintain and strengthen the reputation of the company, as well as to interact with its audience / consumers. Ads are used to sell products, which absolutely must be a goal of your marketing strategy. However, public relations are used to reinforce the image of your business as a whole.
Public relations are almost 90% more effective than advertising. I found this statistic, taken from Nielsen, when I was researching and writing this article. This does not surprise me, as I have seen that media placements attract more attention to a website, visits to an event, or purchases of a product than advertisements. Thanks to public relations, your business appears more credible to the world because it is written or told by a third-party source. Third-party validation by a journalist or writer is much more convincing than an advertisement where the message is one-sided. Public relations builds trust and a relationship with your customers.
Every business is different and has different strategies for growth. Advertising can be the right option for many. But, having worked in the PR industry for 10 years and having seen a lot of business owners, who are not familiar with PR or how to use it, I recommend that you do your research and think about it. .