The lines between advertising and marketing and public relations become very blurry in today’s communication world. For example, public relations professionals looking to build and protect an organization’s reputation and develop relationships with different audiences may need to run a paid ad to build awareness or shift perceptions of a brand.
Ads often pair words with visuals, though not always. Written words can also translate into an audio ad. So content can range from just a few words to a complete article that runs as a paid ad in a media outlet but looks very similar to the earned content.
Paid ads tend to carry less credibility with consumers than owned, earned or shared media. Consumers often ignore or actively avoid paid ads unless ad content directly addresses something they want or need. But the advertising industry continues to evolve and look for ways to put relevant messaging in front of consumers at just the right time in ways that benefit both the consumer and the advertiser. A win-win. Even if ads are placed in the right place at the right time, the written content for paid media needs to capture reader interest and quickly showcase a benefit for the reader – often in very few words.
PR professionals need to consider not only the target audience, but also the advertising format. Oftentimes, a similar message must be reformatted for multiple ad formats. A campaign might run ads on streaming audio and on billboards in target cities. The messaging needs to feel consistent but be a fit for those very different formats.