You’ve got some exciting news about your latest product launch or new shop. Or maybe you just want to remind customers old and new of what a great service you offer.
So, the best way to do that is a full-page ad, in a prime position in your target magazine, newspaper or website – right?
Well, not necessarily…
We’re all familiar with the feeling of annoyance when an advert pops up on a website or during a TV programme.
a) it’s interrupting our viewing or reading pleasure and,
b) we know we’re being sold to.
We also know that all the amazing claims in the ad about the product or service come directly from the brand itself. How believable is that – they would say that, wouldn’t they?
PR on the other hand, is often referred to as ‘earned’ rather than ‘paid-for’ media. A PR generated article or review can’t be bought. When we read an unbiased story written by a journalist, we trust what they’re saying. Word of mouth is far more authentic than trumpet-blowing.
Apart from if you’re looking on Instagram at low level ‘celebrities’ who get paid to endorse products they haven’t even used or seen before!
Make sure this ‘earned media’ is credible or the negative media you’ll be dealing with after will blow the whole thing out of the water!
You get what you pay for…don’t you?
It’s more expensive than PR but buying an ad allows you to exactly control the portrayal of your brand and its message (within reason).
But let’s refer back to the earlier point – knowing that the ad is paid for by the brand behind it, what proportion of your audience will believe everything it says?
Although considerably cheaper, it’s true to say there is less control when it comes to PR. Ultimately, it’s the publication who decide the angle, tone and length of the story plus if…and when it runs. There are no guarantees that your news, images and quotes will appear exactly as you’d like them to, if at all. Coverage relies on a quality story, targeted pitch and well-presented information, sent to their deadline and with the minimum amount of fuss. Editors have a great memory for remembering who’s messed them around!
Reaching far and wide
Ads will only appear in the space, and for the duration, you’ve paid for. Once your campaign is over, they’re gone forever – even if they’re online.
Press releases can be sent to a wide range of relevant media including local, trade and national, both in print and online. So, there are multiple opportunities for your audience to see your message. If a story is covered in print, it will likely appear on the same publication’s website too and will remain there for years to come, reaching an ever-increasing audience.
Plus, the journalist might take a different spin on it so the same press release could appear in different publications with a number of angles to suit their editorial agenda.
Making friends and influencing people
At the very heart of PR is relationship-building – with your customers and the media. Providing interesting, topical stories and relevant expert opinions to journalists helps make their lives easier meaning they’re more likely to return to you in the future.
Similarly, an in-depth interview or feature with a spokesperson from your company helps customers relate to you personally, making them feel more connected to your brand.
It also means that should you ever be unfortunate enough to be involved in a bad news story, you have some potential allies in the media who are willing to listen to and convey your side of events.
But it doesn’t have to be an ‘either/or’ choice.
The best campaigns are those where PR and advertising work together. A great, newsworthy story builds momentum and positivity around your business or product. Creative advertising can then help urge your customers into action, motivating them to buy/book/sign up now.
Drop us a line today to talk about how PR can impact your business.