Top 4 Difference Between Public Relations and Digital Marketing

Digital marketing professionals see public relations and digital marketing as two sides of the coin – that they need to choose one or the other at each point in time. PR and digital marketing should work together to achieve the results you are aiming for. In this article, we will talk about the similarities and differences between public relations and digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing and Public Relation?

Definition of Digital Marketing – Digital Marketing is promoting or advertising.

Definition of Public Relation – Public Relation is how you communicate with your target to build trust and relationships.

The Difference Between Public Relations and Marketing

public relation vs marketing

Besides the obvious, which is the definition, the goal draws the line difference between Public Relations and marketing.



Marketing goals differ depending on the company’s target. It can be to increase sales or awareness. Marketing does not have only one goal. It can change from brand to brand, make pr and digital marketing strategies.

Yes, you can foster trust and credibility. Still, from our understanding, when brands want to build relationships over a long time, a marketing campaign should be up and running to get something done immediately.



There is also a big difference in day-to-day activities and channels. Typical marketing has different channels. There is traditional and digital marketing.

Digital marketing has a lot of subtopics. It can be email campaigns, social media, analytics – there are so many different forms and pr and digital marketing strategies of channels.

Like in marketing, PR has traditional and digital distribution. For conventional channels, it includes television, newspaper, radio, events, and all of that.

Digital PR has websites, blogs, social media – which is one of the most popular channels. The day-to-day activity in public relations would go from writing stories about upcoming products or events. They also pitch stories to journalists and editors.

For a business owner who has no idea that there is a difference between public relations and digital marketing, how do we differentiate between digital marketing and PR?

Public Relations would usually come in the form of stories, announcements, and goodwill messages. It is more organic than digital marketing, while marketing is typically advertising.

Digital marketing will focus on advertising to get immediate results. It must present a call to action after someone has seen the marketing material. PR only wants to influence the perception of the public.

Target Audience

Target Audience

The target audience for public relations typically spans over the general public. We are talking about customers, investors, suppliers, vendors, employees, and there is also the media to consider – journalists, editors, writers, and all of that.

It can be everybody who would be interested in knowing what an organization is doing. The more people hear about you – the better branding.

In PR, even if you are not interested, PR will put it out there and you will never know who will be interested to get your product or services.

Marketing is data-driven. It has to give results immediately. Marketing is more targeted.

The most effective marketing campaigns are campaigns that are precisely targeted. Marketing needs to know who the target audience is, where are they, and how exactly they want to be spoken to.



The difference between public relations and digital marketing is more expensive than marketing, which is why most small businesses cannot afford PR.

Digital marketing has organic and paid campaigns. Small businesses that do not have enough funding can do social media marketing costs with a minimal budget.

In digital marketing, regardless of your business size and your goal, the cost works in your favour. For most marketing campaigns, you can control how much you spend. It is easier for small businesses to utilize digital marketing channels than PR.

Public relations thrives on earned media, it does not pay for placements. Public relations have to earn the placement because that is what breeds the organic nature of PR.

In marketing, customers need to pay for ad spaces whereas, PR depends on earned media. Public relations invests most of its time in building relationships with media personnel.

To summarize, digital marketing is your go if you want more targeted results and focused campaigns. The difference and similarities in terms of timing are yes, it takes more time to get the result in Public Relations and build image credibility.

PR results are always long-term. With PR, you will find people still talking about your brand even if the campaign is no longer active.

Marketing is applicable to fast-driven results.

Please let us know your thoughts by writing your comments below.

By Patric Laurens

Patric at Proven Digital Marketing offers smart, fast and affordable digital marketing services that drive traffic, sales and growth for our clients.

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