Let’s talk for a moment, you and I, about advertising versus public relations.  Specifically, I want to ask if you currently allocate space in your annual budget for public relations, or do you have funds put aside only for advertising?

Chances are you are no different from most other small and medium-sized business professionals and have not yet recognized the power of public relations. You are probably relying on advertising alone to get your message out to potential clients and buyers.  That’s why advertising tends to seize the largest chunk of most marketing budgets.  Yet public relations is one of the best tools you have at your disposal to dramatically grow your business.

A well-designed advertisement will attract a lot of attention to your product.  But an article about your product in a prestigious newspaper or a showcasing of your service on a major television show, for example, could generate huge returns.  Plus, the cost outlay will be minimal in comparison to the costs associated with any-sized advertising campaign.

Before we can delve into what public relations can do to help your bottom line we have to look at what it is, and why it’s very different from advertising. When you hire an advertising agency you expect the creative staff will put together a campaign that will bring heightened awareness to your product or service.  Advertisements are created, media space is purchased and then everyone sits back and waits for the ads to perform their magic.

When you hire a public relations person your goal is still to communicate with the public, but to communicate in a very different way.  Rather than a flashy billboard or television commercial, public relations must convey your message in print, on a television screen or over the radio without the purchase of specific media space or time.  Instead, a PR agent has to convince a journalist or media outlet to promote their client or product.  And not only does the PR agent have to convince the journalist or publication to promote their client, They have to do everything possible to ensure the client is portrayed in that magazine article, television interview or newspaper story in the most positive way possible.

If advertising works, why should businesses also pursue a public relations agenda?

Publicity Is Priceless:

While ad space and time are purchased, you cannot buy publicity.  Publicity experts can get media coverage by professionally presenting newsworthy material to local, national, and international radio, television and print media. The reason media exposure is priceless as compared to advertising is because it can be used well beyond the publication date, or when the media interview took place. In today’s electronic age, articles about your company that have appeared in newspapers and magazines and even radio and TV interviews that have aired can be e-mailed to prospective clients as well as posted on your company website for future reading and viewing.  This creates tremendous value.

People are far quicker to believe news articles, interview subjects and experts quoted in the media than what they see in an advertisement.  Why does this happen?  Because the magazine, radio station or newspaper is telling your story for you; they’re promoting you instead of you directly promoting yourself.  This gives you (and your product) invaluable credibility that no advertisement could ever hope to match.

More “Bang For Your Buck””: For equal dollars, publicity can appear in more publications with much greater visibility than most reasonable advertising campaigns can hope to cover. For example, an N5R client in the Real Estate Industry recently received an 1800% return on value with one PR project in the state of Arizona. The campaign included numerous radio and television interviews as well as print stories in major US newspapers.   PR costs are nominal for most firms when compared with the costs involved in mounting an advertising campaign.  And although advertising is more costly, it also has a shorter shelf life than most public relations campaigns.

You Can Challenge Larger Competitors:  PR is a strong opportunity to combat much-larger competitors who may have more advertising dollars at their disposal.  By launching a strategic PR campaign you can gain valuable market share over your larger competitors, and do it affordably.

However, one strong benefit of advertising is that you can buy as much as you want, whenever you want, in whatever specific media you want, and with the exact style of text and graphics you desire.   You’re only restricted by your budget.    PR must be chased, worked, and pursued into being.

The importance of maximizing your PR opportunities cannot be stressed enough. The idea is to ensure you have an appropriate mix of PR and advertising.   Something to keep in mind when you’re drafting your next marketing plan.  If you don’t do so, and rely solely on advertising, you could be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage.

By allocating funds to both advertising and public relations you’ll be able to squeeze the most out of every marketing dollar.

Nelson Hudes is President Of Hudes Communications International, a PR firm that has had its clients featured in numerous media in the USA and Canada including INC MAGAZINE, THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER, as well as on THE CONAN O’BRIEN SHOW.    Hudes has the uncanny ability to spin a story making it irresistible to editors and reporters. For more information on how Hudes Communications International can help your company obtain media exposure, visit www.hudescommunications.com or contact Nelson at nelson@hudescommunications.com or call (905) 660-9155