(Editor's Note: Our friend and colleague Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting is back on the blog today, offering more of her expert wisdom. Learn more about Meghan at the end of the post!)
Public relations, marketing, advertising...which is the best for me?
If you find yourself asking this, rest assured that you’re not alone. While each are unique and different disciplines, there’s often a lot of confusion about what sets them apart. However, it’s important to decipher the differences in order to determine which is the best option for your business goals.
Advertising is the easy one: it’s strictly pay-to-play. Whether you’re buying time on a television or radio ad or space in a magazine or blog, it’s the ultimate way to control the message that you’re sending out.
More often than not, you have final say on the aesthetics of the advertisement in addition to the actual verbiage. It’s a great option for wedding pros who are looking to increase brand awareness in front of their target market, but don’t want any surprises when it comes to what’s being published.
Another advertising option is the advertorial – essentially, a sponsored post written up about you, your products or services. Many wedding blogs offer this option for a fee and will collaborate directly with you to ensure you’re message is clear.
Since an effective advertorial seeks to share useful content in the form of a paid editorial, you get to reap the benefits of third-party credibility from a publication while also building your brand by engaging with the audience.
Marketing often employs advertising as a part of its overall strategy, but is generally focused on selling a company’s products and services. Marketing focuses on four things – product, price, promotion, and place. It involves everything from developing a product that meets consumers’ needs to determining the pricing for it to identifying the best strategies and outlets for promotion.
A strategic marketing campaign may utilize elements of advertising and public relations, but remains a distinct discipline that is focused entirely on a product or service and how to get consumers to buy it.
Where marketing is more sales-driven, public relations is people-driven. Where marketing is more customer-based, public relations is more reputation-based. In essence, public relations is the use of earned media to build mutually beneficial relationships. When you have a message to disseminate about your company, whether it’s a new product or some big news, a good PR push will utilize various media as its channel.
Real wedding submissions are a great example of this, as you let your work speak for itself. However, there are plenty of other outlets for wedding pros to take advantage of: guest blogs, podcast interviews, television interviews, and speaking opportunities are all great free ways to build awareness of your brand. This is the ultimate way to garner third-party credibility – since no money is being exchanged, your audience will feel more open to the messages.
At the end of the day, remember that the best approach to increasing brand awareness is to work a mix of these strategies into your overall promotional plan. By diversifying your outreach efforts, you’ll be sure to reach the right people with the right messages!
Meghan Ely is the owner of OFD Consulting, a wedding PR agency that works with wedding professionals here, there and everywhere. She’s a long-time industry writer, sought after speaker and unapologetic cat lady.