Inbound marketing strategies are an essential tool to complement your public relations approach. Public relations and inbound marketing were two independent strategies for a long time. However, as individuals have become more reliant on digital platforms to access and digest information, PR and inbound marketing have become increasingly connected to boost brand exposure and lead generation.

Before we dive into how to combine your PR and inbound marketing strategies, let us look at the differences between the two.

The difference between PR and inbound marketing 

When it comes to strategies for reaching your target audience, public relations is the icing on the cake.

PR depends on channels outside of your control (journalists, editors, and media outlets) to influence potential customers. On the other hand, inbound marketing tactics focus on managing your channels of communication (blogs, social media, website, etc.)

Despite this, many individuals wonder what PR offers that inbound marketing does not.

If someone strange approached you on the street and told you about this fantastic company you should buy from, odds are you would ignore them and continue walking. However, if ten people that you trusted tell you the same thing, you’re far more likely to do some preliminary research into who they are and what they do. In a nutshell, this illustrates the power of public relations. People connect with other people more than they connect with brands. Additionally, word-of-mouth recommendations and positive reviews from reputable sources affect a person’s decision to purchase one product over another.

Unfortunately, PR isn’t foolproof – it only works if you’ve taken the time to refine your content and make sure you’re offering quality. You also need to know how to calculate your ROI once you’ve undertaken a PR initiative – this has been a hot topic in PR for a long time. While circulation and prospective reach/audience can help you create some form of measurement against goals and KPIs, they won’t provide you with complex numbers like how many people read your material and visit your website. For this reason, the combination of inbound marketing and PR has become popular among brands.

What is inbound PR? 

Making outbound calls to as many editors as possible were old strategies of running PR campaigns. These outbound calls ignored search engine optimization and other tools that journalists use to find brands worth writing about.

Fortunately, inbound PR is solving this problem.

Inbound PR boots your online presence so that you can connect with journalists using the platforms you already have. This is because, like prospects, journalists are much more likely to learn about you through your website before meeting you.

This is why having a website and employing inbound marketing to promote it is crucial. Journalists will never find you if your web pages are not optimized for search engines.

Outbound PR is still valuable as a critical way of increasing your visibility with target journalists. However, inbound PR provides a two-pronged approach to ensuring that recognized, and undiscovered journalists can contact you.

Combining PR and inbound marketing 

It’s a perfect match: Public relations excels at content creation and storytelling, while inbound marketing excels at measurement and analysis.

By combining the two, you’ll have more intriguing and engaging content developed just for your target audience, as well as the stats to back it up.

One piece of coverage, for example, could include a backlink to your website. This will improve its domain authority and visibility and allow you to track the quantity of referral traffic it receives. Try including a link in a piece of press that takes readers to your gated material to add extra value (i.e., content on landing pages). To gain access to this content, the visitor must first fill out and submit a form with their information. This is a terrific way of using your PR-generated material to create leads.

4 ways PR integrates with inbound marketing

1) Social media 

Many businesses use social media on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Social networking is a very efficient way to advertise your company and its products to a big audience. With the right social media strategy, you can not only interact with prospects, but you can also satisfy your consumers by giving them excellent material that they can share with their friends. Social media strategies, such as sharing relevant content on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, are utilized in inbound marketing to deliver new content to clients and prospects. In this way, brands can stay relevant and heard.

2) Sell, sell, sell 

In public relations, the focus is always on the product, service or experience that you’re selling, ut how you market it makes all the difference. Inbound marketing can help you to continually assess which medium is best for your audience while you focus on the inbound process. When working on significantly different campaigns, figuring out which technique works best for the client and creating different ways to capture the target audience’s attention is always a fascinating task. Once you’ve figured out the best way to sell a product, you can concentrate on how to replicate your success in future campaigns.

3) Communication 

This is the single most critical aspect of any inbound marketing or public relations plan. Selling a product without authentic communication is difficult. People want to be persuaded that this is the right choice for them, and they want you to explain why. As marketers, it is our responsibility to hone our communication skills and adequately convey the value of our offerings. Specific inbound communication strategies, including email marketing, marketing automation, and social media monitoring, can help you effectively engage with prospects and customers.

4) Personalization 

Inbound marketing is all about figuring out whom you want to sell your product to and what they need from you to go down the sales and marketing funnel. Once you’ve gotten them into the sales funnel, you need to know what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re at so that you can give them the information they need to proceed to the next stage. Personalization is a useful way to communicate with a large group of individuals in an engaging way and is one of the most popular PR strategies right now. You might have the same idea for numerous people, but the trick is to convey it to each person in a way that allows them to grasp it from their perspective.

Using inbound marketing to generate more coverage 

1) Leverage the power of content 

Content is where inbound marketing and public relations collide. As previously said, inbound marketing focuses on using high-quality content to entice visitors and guide them through their decision-making process. Similarly, content is at the center of public relations. The power of public relations to turn the most mundane fact into a compelling story with an effective angle is its greatest asset.

With inbound marketing, public relations professionals can use content to entice journalists and other stakeholders to cover the brands they represent. PR pros can leverage inbound marketing effectively by writing compelling and newsworthy news articles and crafting stories that can be found quickly on search engines and social media. In order to leverage inbound marketing strategies, PR professionals can reach out to media contacts and cultivate relationships with them.

Pressfarm is a PR agency that works with individuals and companies of various sizes to create newsworthy content that can be distributed to media professionals and published on their channels. The experts at Pressfarm go beyond crafting email pitches, press releases and media kits to craft compelling guest posts that can entice audiences to cover your brand. Additionally, Pressfarm’s account executive creates a customized media list from their media database of over a million media contacts so that clients can start developing relationships with the appropriate media professionals.

2) Expand your reach through shared and owned channels 

Do you remember the PESO model? Gini Dietrich’s well-known framework divides the various channels that come together in public relations. It refers to paid, earned, shared, and owned media. When you’re a PR professional, it can be pretty easy to lose focus and get caught up in your roles. These include attempting to deliver measurable results in paid media (such as paid partnerships), earned media (such as word of mouth advertising), shared media (review platforms and forums, for example), and owned media.

Public relations professionals often rely on earned media by pitching stories to their media network. We often overlook shared and owned channels. Inbound marketing encourages us to think about the potential of owned media, and how we can use it to complement coverage on other channels.

Companies gain two significant benefits by publishing press releases and stories in a newsroom (owned media) rather than sending them out as PDFs:

  • These stories can now be shared (and therefore found!) on social media.
  • Furthermore, because the stories are published on your domain, search engines will be able to find them. This boosts your entire website’s search engine rating.

Last but not least, you gain control of your brand story by committing resources and energy to your “owned” media strategy. After all, you are the one who creates, publishes, shares, and ultimately owns the stuff you generate.

3) Boost online visibility to journalists

According to studies, only 3% of journalists rely heavily on press releases. So, if journalists aren’t checking their inboxes for news, where do they get it? They turn to the Internet.

You want to provide journalists with all the answers to any questions they might have before they go down the rabbit hole in pursuit of a story. Just in case they wish to contact you, you need to give them relevant information, compelling visuals, specific data, and your contact information. Having a fantastic online newsroom is one way to make it extremely easy for journalists to find your information.

4) Establish a reputation as a thought leader 

Inbound marketing aims to educate consumers and guide them toward making decisions. Ultimately, you want customers to pick your product over the competitors’ products. Implementing the right inbound marketing strategy can help you to establish a reputation as a competent and helpful resource. This can evolve into thought leadership over time. Educating customers allows you to expand your impact by showcasing your expertise and unique ideas.

5) Increase organic traffic to your website

Another advantage of employing the inbound marketing methodology in PR is that it aids in accelerating your SEO strategy. Producing and sharing content on a variety of channels can help your SEO. If you share valuable content on your owned media, then anyone who has access to Google or other search engines can find your content easily. If you did your keyword research right, then your material will start to appear in search engines and curated Google Newsfeeds. If you’re fortunate enough to get noticed by high-ranking websites, you can boost your domain authority by obtaining backlinks from those reputable sites.

6) Build a media list 

Both inbound marketing and public relations have the same goal: to establish long-term partnerships with the communities that matter the most. These include the media professionals who can help you take your story to the world. The inbound model encourages PR professionals to create relationships by fulfilling a need rather than creating one. This includes putting yourself in a journalist’s shoes and ensuring they have all they need to write your narrative. Being helpful goes a long way. Making the lives of your journalist contacts easier can actually go a long way towards helping you build an engaged media list.

Conclusion

While most traditional public relations strategies have stuck because they work, combining a more traditional approach with inbound marketing can help you make your mark in the industry. To enrich our work as PR professionals, it’s helpful to study the diverse ways in which we can improve on more traditional approaches. Inbound marketing strategies can improve the results of traditional approaches to PR that have already proven effective.