Jodie (Shpritz) Kaplan, Vice President of Media Relations and Branding

As a PR professional not a day goes by where I am asked what it is that I do.  Many people confuse PR with advertising and vice versa.  And while there are many synergies, they are not the same.  Often times we find ourselves having to educate our clients on what it is that we actually do and how public relations can benefit them in addition to advertising. 

In thinking about this, I have decided to write about the difference in our ever-changing world of media and marketing.  One might say advertising and public relations are the great marketing trade off.  With advertising, you control the message and exactly what is said, where and how often.  But because of this, there is far less credibility than with public relations.  Public relations, which often times include interviews and messaging, require a third party – the reporter.  Public Relations professionals cannot make a reporter write something the way a client may want it or see the story as you see it, but when managed, the story can be influenced.  What reporters write, if repeated often enough, has far more credibility and influence on consumers than advertising.  It’s the power of the third party.

There is also a lot of crossover when it comes to social media campaigns.  More and more public relations firms are taking on the role of an advertiser by putting out a controlled message through Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks.  But advertisers also are finding their place and role in these realms.  This is probably where the most confusion comes with clients.

I will say one is not better than the other.  In fact, I often feel a great media campaign, especially when it comes to a product or service, benefits the most when there is a cohesive marketing/advertising and public relations strategy.