Red Marlin What’s the difference between PR and advertising

What’s the difference between PR and advertising?

The above is a question as old as time. Well, not quite, but it’s still a question that is asked and could be for a long time yet, so helpful as ever, we’re going to consider some of the main points.



In its basic form, advertising space, whether that’s in newspapers, broadcast or online, etc, is directly paid for while PR achieves editorial space through press releases and pitches.

Therefore, advertising is paid media, PR is earned media.


What’s better?

Well, both offer benefits that the other cannot match.

With advertising the customer decides what an advert will look like, how often and where it appears. The larger the budget, the greater the exposure.

On the other hand, editorial exposure through public relations tactics has more credibility as it benefits from valuable third-party endorsement, i.e., the newspaper itself that has published it.

As such, it can be considered as carrying more weight and be more believable.


How do you choose?

The good news is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other as an integrated marketing campaign can implement the best of both.

Advertising allows free reign to showcase how great a product, service or company is.

Meanwhile, public relations can also achieve a wider reach. An advert might only appear in one newspaper if that’s all that’s been paid for but one press release has the potential to appear in countless publications.

What’s more, public relations has the benefit of helping to grow brand awareness and enhance a reputation over the long term, whereas adverts can be more singularly focused on pushing just one service or product.

Public relations can also be one of the most cost-effective ways to increase your brand awareness, generate more leads, etc, as regular media coverage will help build and maintain visibility.


Next steps
The team at Red Marlin are waiting to hear from you should you be considering a public relations campaign for your business or organisation or looking for advice on advertising. We have more than 60 years of combined experience and proven success, working both in-house and client side. Just drop us a line at and we’ll be in touch.

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