I have seen quite a few of my friends over the past few months leave the PR field and go into the advertising industry. The reason they left PR is because the industry has changed so much over the years. This has included small agencies being purchased or merging with larger firms. As a result, there is less job security and increased competition for clients.
Although there are some similarities between public relations and advertising, there are also quite a few differences too — which is something my friends recently found out.
Making the transition from PR to advertising can be done if you do your homework. In the PR field, client work basically consists of media placements, client interviews, and press releases. These strategies are designed to create a “buzz” for a person, company, or product. Some PR clients don’t fully understand these strategies however, because they are not something that they can touch and feel.
On the other hand in the advertising industry, client work primarily consists of printed ads and digital campaigns, which is a lot easier for a client to touch and understand.
In the advertising industry, instead of creating a press release or securing a media interview, the ad staff works on strategies such as billboard ads, television commercials, and radio jingles. Just like a press release, a lot of work is involved in coming up with the right tag line, story, and message. The main difference is that in the advertising industry clients are actually able to “see” the progress of a campaign and the potential return on their investment in a short period of time. Whereas in the PR industry it usually takes a client a longer time to actually see tangible results. Because of this, many PR clients can become impatient and demanding. This is why many PR professionals get stressed out.
Let’s take a closer look at tangible results and return on investment in both industries.
In most cases, a client will be able to see their return on investment sooner from a commercial versus a press release. The commercial is shown on a select network, movie, or television program, which are all very easy to track. In addition, all these outlets usually already have a viewer following which provides the commercial a built-in audience.
On the other hand, a publicist may spend hours pitching a press release to magazine editors and newspaper reporters with no success. I am not saying that there is not any value in media interviews or press releases; I’m just saying that these types of strategies are harder to track.
The two key things to keep in mind when transitioning from PR to advertising, is that you will need to develop a higher level of visual and messaging skills.