Paid advertising and public relations are not one and the same. Advertising is space that you pay for in a newspaper, magazine or broadcast. The benefit of advertising is that you control what goes into the space by providing a camera-ready ad or a script. Public relations (PR) becomes part of the editorial content of the publication. When a reporter writes a story about you, and you do not pay for the space in which the story runs, that is public relations.
While PR costs significantly less than paid advertising, it involves more risk because you are not in control of what goes in that story. The reporter, editors and broadcasters ultimately decide what to cover. More times than not, however, PR is worth the risk because the public tends to value editorial coverage more highly than paid advertising.
The other benefit of PR is article reprints. Sending article reprints as you would newsletters gets your name in front of people who have already worked with you, and lends you tremendous credibility. But before you get a reprint, you’ve got to get an article.