Publicity vs. Marketing

publicity vs. marketing

How Both Publicity and Marketing Play a Role in Your Book Campaign

As a publicist, I am constantly hearing from people that they “want to get their name out there” or that they “need more media coverage.” But in my 10 years working in PR, I find that most people really don’t understand the different types of media coverage and they role they play in their promotion campaign. In this post, I clarify the difference between publicity (earned media) and marketing (placed media), and the different roles they play in your media campaign.

Publicity is earned media coverage.

It is a media outlet like a magazine or website covering you and your business. You can’t control the message or when the piece runs. It’s not pay-to-play.

Marketing is placed media.

It’s YOUR social media content, YOUR newsletters, and YOUR website. It’s a Facebook ad, a billboard, or a sponsored Instagram post. You can control the message and when it runs, but because it’s coming from you, it doesn’t hold the same amount of clout, and in the case of advertising, it costs money.

Still confused? Think of it like this: If the person or the company controls the message, then it’s marketing. If it’s someone else talking about the person or the company and they don’t control the message, then it’s publicity.

There are advantages to both. Publicity is free and holds more weight than marketing and advertising. People trust publicity more because the brand isn’t controlling the message. But since marketing empowers you to control your message, it can be easier to maintain consistency in that message. And while earned media holds no guarantees – there can be a breaking news item that bumps your segment or magazine feature – paid media holds a guarantee that it will run.

If you look at the most effective PR campaigns, earned media and placed media work hand in hand. Positive reviews or engaging podcast interviews are great for reaching a new audience, but if you don’t also share that coverage on social media or use it in marketing materials, then you won’t reach the widest possible audience. Having a strong social media presence can expand your name recognition and increase the likelihood that media outlets will cover you.

Both publicity and marketing are effective ways to promote yourself and your books…but they’re even more effective when they work together.

Ready to work with a PR agency that focuses on both publicity and marketing? Visit our Work With Us page to learn more!

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