The opportunity to amplify key messages and milestones. When PR activities are well-aligned with other marketing activities, organizations can use PR to amplify the things they are trying to communicate via other channels. A press release about a new product, for example, can be timed to support a marketing launch of the product and conference where the product is unveiled for the first time.
Believable. Because publicity is seen to be more objective, people tend to give it more weight and find it more credible. Paid advertisements, on the other hand, are seen with a certain amount of skepticism, since people that companies can make almost any kind of product claim they want.
Employee pride. Organizing and/or sponsoring charitable activities or community events can help with employee morale and pride (both of which get a boost from any related publicity, too). It can also be an opportunity for teamwork and collaboration.
Engaging people who visit your Web site. PR activities can generate interesting content that can be featured on your organization’s Web site. Such information can be a means of engaging visitors to the site, and it can generate interest and traffic long after the PR event or moment has passed. Industry influencers may visit the site, too, to get updates on product developments, growth plans, or personnel news, etc.
Disadvantages of Public Relations
Cost. Although publicity is usually less expensive to organize than advertising, it isn’t “free.” A public relations firm may need to be hired to develop campaigns, write press releases, and speak to journalists. Even if you have in-house expertise for this work, developing publicity materials can take employees away from their primary responsibilities and drain off needed resources.
Lack of control. There’s no guarantee that a reporter or industry influencer will give your company or product a favorable review—it’s the price you pay for “unbiased” coverage. You also don’t have any control over the accuracy or thoroughness of the coverage. There’s always a risk that the journalist will get some facts wrong or fail to include important details.
Missing the mark. Even if you do everything right—you pull off a worthy event and it gets written up by a local newspaper, say—your public relations effort can fall short and fail to reach enough or the right part of your target audience. It doesn’t do any good if the reporter’s write-up is very short or it appears in a section of the paper that no one reads. This is another consequence of not being able to fully control the authorship, content, and placement of PR.