Advertising or PR?

Not long ago I wrote an article outlining why people trust news stories much more than they do ads or commercials. That doesn’t mean ads are ineffective; advertising and direct marketing can have a definite place in an overall marketing campaign, but it is important to know what your objectives are and who your target market is. If you’re selling tires and auto equipment, advertising could be the way to go. If you’re a professional such as a physician, or an attorney, or if you’re an artist or an entertainer, you’ll want to consider media relations.

Ads and commercials certainly can have their place in an overall marketing campaign. An ad offers information and can be an effective way to target customers or clients, but media coverage offers you and your business the validation and credibility of being featured as a news story. In general people trust editorial coverage much more than they do an ad or a commercial. And that trust is your greatest asset. With media coverage you are positioned as an expert, as a story that the media found important enough to cover.

Once you realize the importance of PR and media relations, the next step is to understand exactly how the process works. Being featured in one magazine story or a TV segment is great, but don’t expect one placement to change your life. A single media placement is not a public relations campaign; it is the first step in a campaign. So don’t panic or start tearing out your hair if that first story doesn’t change your life overnight. Be grateful you have that placement and realize that story will now make it easier for you to garner other TV, print and radio stories. PR is cumulative. You are building a marketing machine. Once you land that first media placement, start brainstorming on how you’re going to use that to land other coverage.

Also, realize the other ways you can utilize your media coverage. Once you’re featured in a newspaper or magazine article, use that article in you other marketing efforts. For example, a physician could reprint the articles and leave them in his or her waiting room. Patients want to know if their doctor has been featured in the media. Those reprints can also be used to interest prospective patients. If you run a company or are a business professional, use your PR coverage in your marketing and advertising. Mention the media you’ve been covered in. Use quotes from your PR coverage in your brochures and newsletters.

Combine your PR and media coverage in your overall marketing strategy, but if you only have enough in your budget to pick one approach, let your target market be your guide. If trust, validation and credibility rank high in your potential customer’s check list, public relations will be your best bet.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012

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Categories: Marketing

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