In this blog, Jon Brown, Senior PR Account Manager at The B2B Marketing Lab, discusses why PR and Inbound Marketing no longer need to be considered separate from each other and how you can combine them.
For a long time, PR and Inbound Marketing have been considered completely separate entities: PR pros would work in one corner of the office, Marketing in the other – the two never really talked to each other.
However, as people have come to use digital channels more and more to find and digest information, PR and Inbound Marketing have found themselves becoming closely aligned to drive brand awareness and lead generation success.
But how does PR integrate with Inbound Marketing, and what does PR offer on top of your existing Inbound Marketing strategy?
The differences between PR and Inbound Marketing
PR is the cherry on the cake when it comes to methods of reaching your target audience.
Whereas Inbound Marketing strategies are focused on controlling your own channels of communication (blogs, social media, website etc.), PR focuses on channels outside of your control (journalists, editors and media publications) to influence potential buyers.
Even so, people often wonder what PR gives them that Inbound Marketing doesn’t.
If someone on the street stopped you and told you they’d heard of this amazing company that you should buy from, the chances are you’d walk on without paying any attention. But if ten people told you exactly the same thing, then you’re far more likely to spend time to do a bit of research into who they are and what they do.
This is PR in a nutshell. People buy from other people, not from companies, and it’s word-of-mouth recommendations and positive reviews from trusted platforms that influence a person’s decision to buy certain products over similar ones.
The question then is how does this integrate with your Inbound Marketing strategy?
Inbound Marketing + PR = Inbound PR
Don’t get me wrong, PR isn’t 100% perfect and it won’t work for everyone, especially if you don’t have a constant stream of newsworthy content coming in or strong opinions on news topics.
Another issue is measurement - and it's been the topic of discussion in PR for many years. The reason for this is while circulation and potential reach/audience can help you identify some sort of measurement against goals and KPIs, they won’t give you hard stats about how many people read your content and click through to your website for example.
To resolve this problem, ex-HubSpot employee Iliyana Stareva created Inbound PR. Inbound PR is all about changing the way we measure and think about PR to better integrate programmes alongside Inbound Marketing strategies and campaigns.
What is Inbound PR?
The old ways of doing PR campaigns – outbound calls and emails to as many editors as possible – never considered the power of search engines and the different methods journalists use to research companies.
Luckily, Inbound PR does.
Inbound PR is about using the channels you own to boost your online searchability with journalists. This is because, like prospects, they are far more likely to find out who you are from your website than meet you first.
This is why having a website and promoting it using Inbound Marketing is so important. Without search engine optimised web pages, blogs and content, journalists will never find you!
That said, Outbound PR still has it’s worth as the primary way to increase your visibility with target journalists, but Inbound PR makes for a two-pronged approach to make sure known and unknown journalists can get in touch with you.
What are the Benefits of Inbound PR?
- Your content can be placed on media websites with high Domain Authority and search rankings
- Coverage contains backlinks to your website, increasing your own search ranking authority
- You can view referral traffic from media coverage and see what web pages visitors interacted with
- Your long-form thought leadership content is more likely to rank higher than your short-form blogs
- You can increase brand awareness while helping with Inbound Marketing and lead generation strategies
- Your Inbound Marketing content can be repurposed and reused for Inbound PR, saving time and cost
Combining PR and Inbound Marketing
It’s a match made in heaven – PR’s strong points are in content creation and storytelling, while Inbound Marketing’s strengths lie in measurement and analysis.
By combining the two you’re gain more compelling and engaging content that's written for your target audience and have the metrics to prove it’s working.
For example, one piece of coverage could include a backlink to your website which will not only boost your website’s domain authority and visibility, but also enable you to track the amount of referral traffic being delivered to your website.
To add extra value, try inserting a link into a piece of coverage that directs people to your gated content (i.e. content on landing pages). To access this content, the visitor will need to fill in a form with their details and submit it. This can be a great way to drive lead generation via your PR-generated content.
Work smarter, not harder
PR and Inbound Marketing no longer live in separate worlds. The two complement each other and work to ultimately drive more leads to your business.
In fact, you probably already have the content needed to start a PR programme.
When kicking off your PR programme alongside your Inbound Marketing one, you can witness fast and effective results while using less time by getting the most out of your existing resources.
Blogs, market research surveys, eBooks, white papers and other bits of informative content can, with the right touch, be repurposed to engage with the media.
And the great thing is, both PR and Inbound Marketing are scalable, meaning you only spend whatever you need to but always get the results you paid for.
Interested in finding out more? Download our eBook below to see how you can use PR to boost your Inbound Marketing and SEO results.