Public relations (PR)

Advantages and disadvantages of public relations


Public relations (PR) can help raise your business' profile and improve your reputation. If done well, it can be a cost-effective way to get your message to a large audience. However, it can be tricky to guarantee success. Consider the benefits and challenges to make the most of PR in your business.

What are the benefits of public relations?

The benefits of public relations include:

  • Influence - audiences are more likely to trust messages coming from an objective source rather than paid-for advertising messages. It is one of the most credible forms of promotion and can be persuasive.
  • Reach - a good story can be picked up by several news outlets, exposing your message to a large audience.
  • Cost-effectiveness - PR can be an economical way to reach a large audience in comparison to paid-for advertising media placement, particularly if it is done in-house.

What are the challenges of public relations?

Some of the challenges of public relations include:

  • No direct control - unlike advertising, you can't exactly control how your business is portrayed by the media, when your message will appear, and where it will be placed.
  • No guaranteed results - you may spend time and money on writing a press release, getting suitable photography and speaking with journalists, but you can never guarantee your story will be published. This can result in a poor return-on-investment.
  • Evaluation - it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of PR activities. You can count media mentions and published stories, but it's harder to determine the impact this has on your audience.