Advertising and publicity are not the same.
Advertising is a commercial deal between your business and the media.
Advertisers buy a fixed amount of print space, billboards, radio or TV airtime, or web traffic. They take responsibility for providing the advertising material – called copy in the industry – at their cost.
If you’ve got the budget, you can hire creative specialists to prepare the copy for you. Paying for professional writers is worth the cost. Advertising professionals know how to get results.
As an advertiser you are in control. You decide when and where your adverts run. You have the last say over the message.
Advertising is expensive. Publicity is often cheaper. It is also riskier.
Publicity is when you grab people’s attention in other ways. If you hire a publicist, a public relations expert or a press officer, those people will attempt to place stories in the media on your behalf. They can’t usually guarantee anyone will sit up and take notice.
You have far less control with publicity. It works best when you have something newsworthy or interesting to say. If it isn’t interesting then the media will ignore it. And your story can be crowded out on days when there are other more interesting stories.
Editors and journalists’ first responsibility is to their readers. They don’t see selling your business as their job. It is their job to keep readers informed and interested.
Publicity is a scattergun. It can work. It might not. Use advertising to make certain your message reaches your target audience. It acts like a guided missile and costs about as much.