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Digital PR and Marketing: What's the Difference?

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Last editedMay 20222 min read

Building a brand is a digital battlefield. You know you need to make a strong impression on prospects among a legion of competitors. You need to earn their trust and inspire their loyalty. You need to communicate your USP and build value in your brand.

Public relations (PR) and marketing are two invaluable weapons in your arsenal to establish your brand online. But what are digital PR and marketing? What’s the difference between the two? And why does it matter for your business? Let’s take a look.

What is PR?

PR is a catch-all term to describe all communications that influence your brand’s relationship with the public. It uses digital strategies to help businesses grow their brand through their relationships with media outlets, social platforms, and customers

PR encompasses a range of deliverables, including:

  • Press releases

  • Transformation management

  • Crisis and issue management

  • Case studies 

  • Influencer outreach

  • Business profiles

  • Bylines and guest blog posts

  • Reactive opportunities

  • Investor relations

PR is all about positioning your brand as a reliable and authoritative resource for your prospective customers. It aims to engender trust and generally paint your brand in a flattering light.

What is Marketing?

Digital marketing has a more specific focus than PR. Marketing is still about painting your brand in a positive light. However, it’s also about soliciting more specific actions from prospects. This may be a sale, signing up to your email newsletters, or simply visiting your website. These are known as conversions.

While PR is almost always outsourced to a specialist company, digital marketing can be managed in-house or by a third-party agency. Marketing encompasses a slightly different set of deliverables. 

Content marketing

Content marketing involves using content generated by brands to convert customers. Typically, this involves a high-value piece of content known as a lead magnet. This can be an e-book, webinar, white paper, or anything else of value to the prospect. This lead magnet can be obtained free of charge in exchange for the prospect’s email address. 


Search engine optimisation is an inbound marketing strategy designed to make brands more visible to prospects in online searches. Content is also used here to position the brand as trustworthy and encourage prospects to convert.


Digital marketing also leverages paid ads to generate interest in the brand and drive conversions. Brands combine paid and organic marketing techniques to increase the ROI of paid ads. 

What is the difference between PR and marketing? And why does it matter?

PR and marketing are different means to the same end. However, they address other parts of your sales funnel. PR is largely a top of funnel affair, building brand awareness and value. Marketing is closer to the bottom of the funnel, aiming to convert prospects who have an intention to make a purchase. 

Nonetheless, it’s clear to see there is a degree of overlap. PR and marketing have a lot in common. They are both about engendering trust in your brand and positioning it as the answer to your prospective customers’ problems. Prospects need to feel that they can trust you with their money. Needless to say, we make it easy for businesses to offer that reassurance by leveraging open banking solutions like Instant Bank Pay built around the needs of SMEs like yours. 

Both digital PR and marketing are necessary to make the desired impression among your target audience. Today’s consumers, especially younger consumers, know that they have the luxury of choice and are very particular about which brands they want to associate themselves with. For instance, according to a study by McKinsey, Gen Z consumers view the brands they consume to be part of their personal identity and ethical outlook. If your brand isn’t perceived as a solution, your branding may become a problem. 

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