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Advertising and Publicity: How are they different?

February 12, 2023
advertising vs publicity

There’s been some meta-analysis of the whole publicity vs advertising debate, and the results may surprise you, especially when your publicity is seen by people who do not already know about your product or service.

In this blog, we will be discussing the significant difference between advertising and publicity, and why it’s important to maximise these two assets for your business development goals.

Marketing-oriented publicity versus advertising

Marketing-oriented publicity (compared to advertising) has a positive effect on all dependent variables including:

Attitude towards message

  • Attitude towards brand 
  • Purchase/behavioural intention 
  • Source credibility
  • Recall
  • Recognition
  • Cognitive responses, total 
  • Cognitive responses, positive 
  • Cognitive responses, negative 
  • Message processing

Imagine being able to harness a tool that positively affects your message, your brand and your credibility, and which also increases your level of recall among your target audience.  Imagine unleashing that sort of power in your marketing arsenal.

And this is especially true in people who do not have prior knowledge of you or your product/service. The cognitive responses are stronger for unknown products. What this means is that publicity is able to bring new eyeballs to what you do and it positively affects how these new eyeballs view you – increasing your credibility in the process.

These results show that marketing-oriented publicity versus advertising is superior for products about which consumers lack prior knowledge and are in need of reassurance that is more likely provided by a high credibility source.

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Understanding the Voice

One of the key reasons publicity is superior to advertising is due to the origin of the voice. 


With publicity, the ‘voice’ that’s talking about you, your expertise, your product/service is an independent voice – one that belongs to the journalist. So, the credibility factor is immediately much higher and the voice is at arm’s length to you, making it more believable.


The ‘voice’ when it comes to advertising is your voice.  You are telling people about your product/service, you are singing your own praises, and you clearly stand to gain from them engaging with what you are saying about your product/service. 

And if people don’t already know you (as is the case in the majority of advertising), they don’t trust your voice – and this is the big kicker when it comes to why this meta-analysis of data around advertising vs publicity is so powerful.

At its core, publicity builds credibility.

And whilst it’s not the journalists’ job to promote you or your business, (it’s their job to tell the news) cred is the obvious consequence of them interviewing you and sharing what you do with their readers, listeners and viewers.

And this cred is what influences those potential buyers who have not heard about you before to take action and move towards you.


Publicity is equal to influence. It really is that simple. Confusing yourself with publicity and advertising not only will confuse your results, but also confuse the process in building credibility for your business especially when your target markets do not know your products and services yet. 

Building a reasonable voice that best represents your brand not only will make an identity for you in the market, but also establish a platform for your efforts to be seen and be visible. Of course, the only way for you to be confident in starting with the changes is to equip yourself with skills that best supplement you and Meet The Press MasterClass is here to help you with that!

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Get in before the competition does so you can pitch to Journos and increase your exposure!



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