The Tangled Relationship Between Ads and PR

windmill-1206385_1280As PR’s role expands and advertising’s fragments, their roles in the marketing mix becomes confusing.

It used to be different. In the past, PR was just the public and media front of the company. They were the communications channel and worked at building bridges (and reputations) with media channels. And they worked at the periphery of marketing.

The rise of digital marketing, social media communications and content marketing changed this. With engagement now becoming more important than awareness building, PR’s ability to craft the right messages is highly sought after.

Advertising, on the other hand, is going through an evolution. They used to be the owners of brand identity and  story. They still are, but increasingly they need to share this responsibility with PR professionals.

The lines are getting blurred. To highlight the differences, I have attempted to give some definitions.

Advertising = Paid

When you advertise, you are paying for visibility. It is often called paid media. You decide what, when and how it will be published. The reason paid media is done is to create a perception. Essentially, you are introducing a brand and product. How you use paid media is changing. With online ad exchanges and programmatic ad platforms, it is giving more control for agencies to get really creative on how to reach the target audience. Best of all, this can even be done almost instantaneously. What is paid media is also changing. It is no longer just ads, but blog contributions, thought leadership articles, etc. This is where PR gets involved in advertising. [bctt tweet=”Making both #PR & #advertising work together is vital to building a successful #business” username=”@BroadPR”]

PR = Earned

When you do PR, you are earning visibility. Essentially, you are influencing perception. In the past, this used to be done by directly working with the media. Now, you influence through blogs, social media networks, and other strategic influencers. Increasingly, PR also needs to respond to and manage the various public-facing digital channels, so that the brand story is consistent and reputation remains intact. Here, they need to work with the entire marketing team to ensure advertising and PR are in sync.

Advertising + PR = Engagement + Conversion

The real magic happens when both are done together. They reinforce each other to drive results. For PR, it can drive engagement and build a community around the brand and brand story. For advertising, it can create new perceptions and drive potential leads down the marketing and sales channels.

A crucial ingredient for this magic to happen is a holistic marketing strategy that addresses both paid and earned media and includes tactics for engagement and conversion. It comes down not just to budget, but getting both parties to contribute to the strategy. Sometimes it may feel like you are herding cats, but making both PR and advertising work together is vital  to building a successful business. They need each other, but they just don’t always know it. It’s up to you to tell them.