PR vs Advertising – which is better for your business?

It’s odd how many enquiries we receive from business owners asking how much it will cost to have an article placed in a newspaper or magazine. This fundamentally confuses the differences between PR and advertising. Advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.

quote 1We spend time engaging with journalists to write a story on your brand, product or issue, developing a media and brand image using newsworthy stories and targeting relevant press that speak to your target audience. This gives your business credibility and, most importantly, trust. Consumers are more cynical about advertising than ever before yet strategic PR activities can nurture a more positive brand image.

A recent study from 2014 by Nielsen concluded that PR is almost 90% better in engaging with consumers than advertising. It’s also far more cost effective. For example, it may cost you over £2,000 for just a single page advert in a consumer motoring magazine, but a PR agency could secure you several pages of quality content across several publications or online articles for that, potentially reaching millions of people.

But don’t just take our word for it. New business leaders and entrepreneurs understand the importance of an effective PR strategy. James Watt and Martin Dickie, founders of the beer brand BrewDog, epitomise a new generation of businesses exploiting all the opportunities that are now available with new forms of media. The company has become famous for its innovative and unusual PR stunts engaging with its market on a more personal level.

quote 2Watt said BrewDog could not compete with the marketing muscle of the big brewers and had no plans to invest in traditional advertising.The duo even said that they ‘would rather burn their money than pay for advertising’.

It’s clear that a good PR agency and effective media relations offers far better value for money and return on investment than traditional advertising. But why do so many businesses continue to pursue outdated practices, particularly when it comes to print advertising? Many business owners are hesitant to take the plunge and shun traditional advertising. But if you’re bold the rewards could be significant. As the media landscape changes it’s more important than ever to market your business utilising modern methods.

Creative, professional and high-quality public relations will raise your profile in a cost-effective manner. And it’s simply not a case of writing a few press releases. An integrated campaign which spans online, digital, print and broadcast, is the way to engage effectively with prospective new customers and markets.

If you would like to see how Red Marlin can raise your businesses’ profile in a creative and cost effective way call us on 01926 832395 or email

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