3 Tactics PR Can Learn From Advertising

For most people, the words Public Relations, Marketing, and Advertising are synonyms- three sides of a very oddly shaped coin. But professionals know that while both PR and advertising are marketing functions, they are very different in both purpose and execution.

Public Relations is the process of building a connection with your target audience through strategic communications meant to garner positive media coverage. It usually involves proving to journalists that your clients have interesting stories to tell and newsworthy information to share.

Advertising is the process of creating content and distributing that content across traditional and nontraditional media channels to deliver a message to a target audience. This ranges from TV commercials to mobile augmented reality campaigns.

Both industries, while closely related, have different ways of achieving their goals, and they both could learn a thing or two from one another. Since we do PR here at REQ, we’ll look at it from our end. Here are three ways that PR can learn from advertising:

Use Data

Our friends in the ad industry have become infamous for their rapid adoption of using the massive amounts of data collected on consumers to narrow targeting. While it remains ambiguous whether or not the collection of this data is good for consumers, it is most certainly useful for making sure your content not only gets in front of your intended audience but that it is tailored to their needs. PR pros should use data to inform their pitches, their media targets, and their articles. Even info like which reporters respond to what types of content can be turned into data that can increase both efficiency and effectiveness.

Leverage Influencers

On every major social platform, there are users who have built themselves a celebrity status, with a wide reach and devoted fans. From Twitter to Instagram to our dearly departed Vine, influencers have presented a new way to reach audiences. Advertisers aren’t the only ones who can partner with mommy bloggers or YouTube rappers. While the connections may be less obvious, there are a lot of influencers out there who might be a perfect fit for your client’s story. Identifying and connecting with them might just open up a new avenue of earned media and increase the value that you bring to clients.

Embrace Paid Social Advertising

It might go without saying that one thing advertisers do that PR pros don’t is, well, advertise. But that should change, at least when it comes to social media. Every major social platform has a paid advertising system, similar to Google Adwords. You can use these systems to boost the reach of posts, deliver content to highly targeted audiences, and track KPIs to see what’s working and what’s not. You can use paid social platforms as a complement to your conventional PR efforts by using ads and boosted posts to drive traffic towards your secured content. Your paid social efforts can help make sure that placements get in front of the eyes that they’re meant for with accurate targeting tools, and will serve to help you better tell your client’s story.

While advertising and PR have different methods, different systems, and different styles, the ultimate goal remains the same: to tell your client’s story. By exchanging ideas both PR and ad pros can do their job that much better.