Powerful Online Activity – PR vs marketing? Do we really know?

Social media and digital marketing nzPublic relations (PR) is about growing the name of the company and strengthening its perception / relationship with the public or target audience.
In fact, one definition for PR is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

PR is earned. You have convinced media reporters or newspaper editors to write a positive story about you or your brand. Yes, your story is more credible because it has been verified by a third-party. But doesn’t social media fulfil a similar role?

The old adage is that the “P” and the “R” in public relations stand for performance and recognition. Good relationships are genuine. But we can build those relationships in an online space as well.

Marketing on the other hand gets specific – looking to educate and add value to customers, clients, and partners.
Marketing, however, is “the activities and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

It has been said that: “Marketing and Advertising is what you pay for whereas PR and publicity is what you pray for.”

Strategic | Targeted | Compelling | Co-ordinated PR and Online Marketing

We understand that both PR and Marketing are valuable however, public relations (PR) is often not strong enough to stand alone. Often a positive perception is generally not enough to measurably increase your company’s sales. Perhaps, public relations could be better considered as an integral part of your company’s marketing strategy?

PR vs. marketing? Do we really know?

Along comes the online world… A world of websites, online marketing, social media, new sales funnels and SEO.

Where does paid and owned media fit into this evolving question of PR vs Marketing? Let’s take a closer look.

Paid media – Marketing. Examples include print, radio and television advertising. Depending on the organisation, paid media can play a major role in your marketing campaign strategy and can consume most of a marketing budget. But in an online marketing world, you could refocus on Google Adwords or Social Media advertising and your budget may well extend much further.
Owned media – Examples include websites, blogs and Facebook profiles. Whilst I’d even question if Facebook is an owned media I’ve included it within this category. (See blog Post). It is still unestablished as to whether marketing or PR holds the key to this evolving online owned media kingdom.



There is so much overlap in the tools and tactics available for use in online PR and Internet marketing. The real key is in the way each tool or tactic is used in those different capacities. The way each tool or tactic is used to reach different audiences for different reasons.

“We understand that Online Marketing and PR can be an awesome, low-cost solution for making more people aware of your brand or website but, it requires a lot of effort and hard-work. There are no shortcuts. Do we stop whilst we address the PR vs. Marketing question? I think not. Digital marketing allows you to become an authority, it builds trust and credibility and yes it is a very powerful funnelling mechanism in this new online age.”  Cathy Mellett – Net Branding®