What Should Small Businesses Focus On More – PR Or Advertising?

One of the biggest mistakes committed by businesses while marketing their offerings is getting confused between PR and advertising. Although the two activities fall into the same ballpark when it comes to marketing, they are inherently different. If you run a small-scale business, it is important to understand the difference between the two and make a smart choice to spend your money wisely. 

How Are PR And Advertising Different?

Advertising is the activity of directly persuading your customers to engage with your business and buy your offerings. According to Public Media Solution it involves a clearly identifiable seller marketing their products or services. On the other hand, public relations refer to a set of processes where a business conveys the essence of its brand without clearly asking its audience to make purchases. It is a more subtle way of marketing your offerings where there is no clearly identifiable seller. 

Let’s say you own a chain of hotels and are willing to market the same. Advertising would include you clearly listing the perks of visiting your hotel on suitable media platforms. Your advertisement would make people aware of your business and ask them to visit your hotel. This wouldn’t be the case if you are willing to go the route of public relations. Your m would involve making important announcements pertaining to your chain of hotels on different media platforms. While it would not involve directly asking your audience to visit your hotel, it would convey what your brand stands for and make the marketing process more organic. 

What Is A More Preferable Mode Of Marketing – PR Or Advertising?

Especially in the case of small businesses, it is advisable to run a PR campaign instead of putting up an advertisement. Advertising is a costlier activity that is likely to put undue pressure on your treasury. If you are willing to promote your offerings without having to spend a lot of money, PR does the work for you in the best way possible. 

Some businesses decide to go with a mix of advertising and public relations. While this is an ideal option if your marketing budget allows you to do so, spending your money on PR is a more pocket-friendly option. 

Why Should Small Businesses Choose PR Over Advertising?


Increasing Brand Value

Public relations allow you to convey the core essence of your brand in an organic manner. When your audience consumes an advertisement, they are clearly aware of the fact that you are trying to sell them your offerings. Especially if it’s print advertisement, they get the sense of a more human-like approach from your brand and will engage more. This helps you increase the value of your brand and pull more audiences towards the same.

Another important advantage of public relations over advertising is the fact that it involves the use of earned media instead of paid media. While advertising simply involves buying media platforms in order to ask your audience to engage with your business, public relations allow you to earn the media platform in a more organic manner. This allows you to make your reach more worthwhile and let more people know about your offerings. 

Cost-effective Marketing

PR is a better investment for small businesses as compared to advertising. It allows you to reach a wider audience at a lower price. While advertising on online platforms can be cheaper, it would not provide you with substantial reach. Public relations provide you with the same amount of reach (if not more) as advertising at a fairly smaller budget. This allows small businesses to save more money that can be used for other productive activities. 

Higher Credibility

When your audience consumes an advertisement, they are clearly aware of the fact that you are trying to sell them your offerings. On the other hand, PR is a more credible way of reaching out to your audience as they set out to consume news. Also, spreading your messages via trusted media platforms adds to the credibility of your brand and helps you get more organic traction. 

Personal Value

PR is more personal and intimate as compared to advertising. Advertisements often tend to be more generic and standardized. On the other hand, writing a press release involves a better understanding of your customers and addressing their core beliefs. This allows your audience to connect more to your brand and for a loyal customer base. Even if your press release is not able to make your audience buy your offerings, it is likely to make them remember your brand for long. 

A More Active Mode Of Marketing

Advertising is often a more passive mode of marketing as compared to public relations. People tend to fast-forward ads while watching television or videos online. On the other hand, a well-written PR article allows the audience to make deliberate attempts to consume the information and be associated with the concerned brand. Such active involvement of your audience is more likely to give you traction as compared to advertising.

Making Announcements

PR is the best way to make important announcements regarding your venture. Whether you are organizing an event, launching new products, entering into a merger, or carrying out a CSR activity, public relations help you convey the message to your audience in the best way possible. While advertising only focuses on asking people to make purchases, public relations allows you to let people know about the goings-on of your organization through multiple platforms. 

Common PR Mistakes To Avoid

Now that we have discussed why it is advisable for small businesses to choose PR over advertising, it is important to be well-versed with the mistakes to avoid while running your PR campaign.

Here are some of the most common PR mistakes that you should avoid:

Choosing The Wrong Media House

Media houses drive your PR campaign. They help you carry your messages to the audience across multiple platforms. Choosing the wrong media house or journalist would affect the effectiveness of your messages. It is always advisable to understand the needs and preferences of your target audience before going ahead with a specific media house. 

Faulty Messaging

Make sure your press releases and PR articles are able to convey your messages in the best way possible. Faulty messaging may lead to your audience misunderstanding your intentions. It is always advisable to tell a good and relevant story through your PR campaigns. 

Selecting A Single Content Format

In the age of digitization, people prefer consuming a range of different content formats on a regular basis. It is, therefore, advisable for businesses to not stick to a single format for their PR campaigns. Make sure you make the most of digital platforms to publish your PR articles and/or videos. More interactive content would help you pull in more audiences and get their attention. 

The Final Word

Looking at the core nature of PR and advertising, we can conclude that PR is a better mode of advertising for small businesses. It allows you to get your message across without having to spend a fortune. Also, PR is a more personal and organic way of promoting your offerings as compared to advertising. If you are confused about whether to allocate your budget to an ad campaign or PR activities, you should definitely go the PR way.