Advertising, marketing and public relations are three distinct disciplines, but ask almost anyone who doesn’t work in those fields and they probably couldn’t tell you the difference between them. So, how do you know what the best method is for promoting your event? Let’s take a look at each method to find out.
Event Marketing & PR
Advertising is pretty straight forward- you pay to play. Television and radio ads or space in a magazine or blog are the most popular ways to advertise and are the best ways to control your message to the audience.
Selecting the right outlet for your advertisement will take some research on your part in order to know you’ve selected the best fit. First, determine who your target audience is and what type of media they are consuming. After you’ve narrowed it down, introduce yourself to the outlet and explain to them who you are and why you want to advertise them. After that, inquire about the basics of cost, availability (what spots are open and when), schedule frequency (how often they post), and of course, what information they need from you to move forward. If possible, find or request a media kit for more information about their reach.
Another great option is something called an advertorial. It is a sponsored post that is written about you and your event by the media outlet for a fee, and allows collaboration to assure the message you want gets out to the public. There is also the added benefit of third-party credibility from the publication.
One of the great things about advertising is the control you get when putting it together, as it comes with no surprises. From the aesthetics to the verbiage, most outlets will give you the final say on the product that goes out.
A marketing campaign will use elements from both advertising and public relations but really focuses on selling products and services through four main areas: product, price, promotion, and place.
If your service is an event or conference, then it could involve everything from developing the event to meet the consumer needs to deciding what the pricing should be, and choosing which promotional techniques are the best fit.
In the easiest terms, marketing is when you pull all of the elements of a product, service or event together to make it attract for your target audience while advertising gets the actual word out to your desired market.
When comparing public relations to marketing, PR is people-based whereas marketing focuses more on being sales-driven. Marketing is much more customer-based than public relations, which is more reputation-focused. Essentially, public relations are all about cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with the media. When you have a message about your company that needs to get out, whether it’s a big event, new product, or just a big piece of news, public relations will use various media outlets to push it out to the public.
There are several outlets for event pros to take advantage of to get their message out- podcast interviews, TV interviews, and other speaking opportunities are all very effective, and free. If third party credibility is something that’s important to you, there is no better way to get it than by using public relations- no money is exchanged and the message is organic.
If you are considering using public relations, remember that, when sending in content, you are giving the editor creative license to use your message however they see fit so you will lose some of the control you would have had with advertising.
For best results, it is often best to use a mix of different promotional strategies to increase awareness of an event or conference. By expanding your efforts, you’ll have no problem attracting the right people!