PR and Marketing —they are two of the biggest components of a business, but the lines between them can be easily blurred. I am a PR and Marketing student myself, but in my first year, I couldn’t understand the difference either. So for those who feel the same – here is a simple guide to understanding the difference, because the terms Marketing and PR are not interchangeable!

1. Focus Points

To put it simply, a PR specialist can also be called a ‘reputation manager’, and a marketer can be known as a ‘promoter of products, services, and ideas’. Essentially, PR specialists’ focus is to maintain a positive reputation or an image of a company or a brand in the media, as well as building strong relationships with stakeholders, journalists, and many other people that surround them.

On the other hand, a Marketing specialist would focus on promoting and selling a product, service, or idea to generate the most sales. They would target their key audience and come up with a competitive advantage to stand out from competitors to increase sales.

The key takeaway here is that a PR managers’ goal is to generate a positive image and reputation from the public and to generate as much public awareness and media coverage as possible. For marketers, their goal is to bring in more sales and return on investment (ROI) by advertising, such as but not limited to, billboard, social media, TV, and digital ads.

2. Paid Vs Earned Media

Another big difference between the two is that marketing uses paid media, whereas PR focuses more on earned media. This means that while the marketing specialist pays for ads such as display ads to bring in sales, PR specialists earn the opportunity to appear in a news story through media relations. Once a journalist is persuaded by the PR specialist and they liked the angle you’ve used to write the media release, they will then write a positive media article about the company you are representing, and this leads to a positive brand image. This type of media is also considered more credible than ads because it comes from a third party, not the company itself.

3. Day-to-day tasks

Another easy way to differentiate the two is by comparing what they do on a day-to-day basis.

PR specialists would focus on:

-writing media releases about a new launch for clients

-building relationships with the journalists and the media

-pitching stories with an interesting angle to get as much attention and media coverage

-managing stakeholder engagement, relationship, and crisis

On the same day, a marketing specialist focuses on:

-creating ads for clients’ campaigns

-purchasing ad slots for campaigns

-coming up with a marketing plan that generates most sales and ROI

-creating content for social media or display ads

Phew – that was a lot, but there you have it! I hope this makes it easier to differentiate the two. If you ever need further help with marketing and public relations, reach out to us at!