Public Relations & Advertising Careers: Are They Different?

Students considering careers in marketing, advertising and public relations are often confused about whether there really is any difference between these fields. While marketing and public relations do seem to have some obvious differences, students often get confused about whether there really is any difference between an advertising career and a career in public relations.

To answer the question in one word, yes, there is definitely a difference between the field of advertising and public relations.

PR vs. Adversting

Public relations and advertising careers while very similar in approach, do have some key essential differences.

  • A PR professional is hired to get free publicity for the company. Public relations does not include paying for publicity. When a company pays money for its publicity and buys useful advertising space, its is known as advertising.
  • Since a company pays for its advertising space, it has complete control over the content it produces. However, a public relations officer does not buy any advertising space and is in charge of getting free promotional opportunities for their client. As a result, a PR officer has no control over the content that is ultimately produced.
  • The degree of control enjoyed by an advertising professional also extends to the shelf lie of the promotions. A company need only design an ad once and it can be used multiple times, as long as it suits a client’s budget. However, PR officers do not have this control and they definitely cannot recycle media releases and other promotional opportunities.
  • When consumers see an advertisement, they are fully aware they are watching/ listening or reading an advertisement of the company’s product or services. Public relations on the other hand works in a more covert fashion. Therefore, a media release an easily appear as a news article and consumers might believe they are reading an article, when they are actually reading an improvised press release.
  • Advertising involves a larger amount of creativity, especially when it comes to strategizing and designing advertising campaigns for a client. Public relations on the other hand is less creative and concentrates more on finding opportunities to generate news about the client.
  • Advertising campaigns are designed to suit their target audience. Public relations professionals on the other hand work hard to hook editors in to convince them that their client has a potentially newsworthy story to tell.
  • Advertising professionals are in charge of organizing sponsoships etc. When a client sponsors an event, public relations officer step in to give the client the proverbial pat on the back. by announcing the sponsorship via a media release.

There are several such differences between the world of advertising and public relations so if you are considering pursuing a course in either of these two fields, now you know which one to choose.

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