Long live deception and the twisting of words…not. At one time there was clear differentiation between advertising and editorial. Then along came the advertorial or its modern day equivalent native advertising. I’m sorry to say folks that if it is paid for it is advertising, even if it looks like part of the editorial content. And guess what? Folks are getting danged tired of the deception. It is important to understand that Public Relations is not marketing. The terms are not interchangeable.
Public relations is used to acquire trust from your public. PR builds a groundswell of public opinion (positive when done correctly) and builds a relationship with the individual. When you add in deceptive techniques that are designed to make advertising look like editorial or news, the public thinks it is being hoodwinked. No one is fooled by native advertising and to the contrary, surveys show that close to 75% of readers won’t even bother to scroll down and read it. In other words, you lose your readership with such chicanery.
Let’s face it all comes down to the sale closing. But how do you close a sale if the product or your company is not known? This is where true public relations comes into play. PR acquaints your public with your company and product. It introduces them to it in a “safe” manner through various mediums from press to social media. PR builds trust and credibility. Your advertising should follow the same theme; in truth it is an extension of your PR program as it commercially advances your cause. It should only come into play once your public relations program has run its course. The ad program should reiterate the perceptions created by the public relations program.
Manipulating the public by disguising advertising as editorial will only hurt your reputation and cause a flashback from your public. Marketing is marketing. Public Relations is public relations and they should support each other and not attempt to supplant.