People often don’t know the difference between advertising and public relations. The terms are confused for one another or people think they are different names for the same thing. Maybe you are one of them. You might think that working for a PR firm is the same as working for an Ad firm. Though they are closely related fields, there are major differences between the two.
There’s an adage used to explain the difference between advertising and PR: “Advertising you pay for, PR you pray for.”
It’s true. Oftentimes, you pay for advertising space – an ad in a magazine or a commercial on television. With PR, you try to convince the world (namely: journalists and bloggers) that what you want to say is worthy of them sharing it with their audience – for free. PR professionals create compelling stories to draw attention to a person/company/industry in hopes that others will find it interesting enough to spread the word.
PR pros ponder ways to get the word out. How can I convince them that we are, in fact, a great company/school/product?
But sometimes you get lucky and a PR campaign creates itself. Like when our awesome students, upon graduation, get the chance to share with us how they felt about their time at Minnesota School of Business-Richfield. And they say things like this:
- “What I liked about MSB was the flexibility that each class offers. The instructors care about your education and want to help you succeed in your career. I have met many people along the way and have developed strong personal and professional connections. Being a military member, MSB was very flexible in my schedule. They truly are a military friendly college.” –Ryan Christopherson, B.S. Business Administration, December 2012 graduate
- “I have attended MSB part-time taking mainly online classes. MSB was a great fit for my family life and allowed me to be flexible with my school schedule. When it came to my internship, MSB was very helpful in finding me a business to complete my hours needed to graduate.” –Vanessa Grave, AAS Paralegal, December 2012 graduate
- “Great school. Stands up to its reputation. Small class size, and knowledgeable instructors. Wouldn’t go anywhere else.” –Scott Rupp, AAS Game Application and Development, December 2012 graduate
- “MSB College is priceless. I will return one day to update my skills. This institution has prepared me for the future.” –Thomas Williams, AAS Business Administration, December 2012 graduate
The public relations person then considers him or herself very fortunate to have this amazing testimonial because what can possibly be a more powerful boost to a school’s reputation than the words of real-life students? Then the PR person takes those quotes and runs with them.
And a PR campaign is born.