“Is it PR, or is it advertising?”
This is a question that many in the public relations field must consider on a daily basis, but worry not; the debate will soon disappear as the two disciplines become one and the same.
Marketing pro Geoff Livingston attended USA Today’s 30th anniversary/”USA Tomorrow” multimedia rollout event this month, and he left the “future of news” mini-conference believing that the PR/marketing debate will be irrelevant within five years.
In the traditional “mass communication” media landscape, a clear line existed between advertisements and press releases or related content; they may have had similar goals (publicity and consumer outreach), but they had to reach them in different ways due to the limits of their respective venues.
Now, however, the model is shifting due to a fractured media landscape and an increasing public distrust of traditional advertising and corporate messaging efforts (stop us if you’ve heard this one a million times before). Livingston thinks that promotional content will still be separated into the “earned” and “paid” categories, where “earned” content is more trusted by customers and “paid” content earns more ROI.