Inbound marketing can position your brand as the go-to choice for customers. Use it to gain the trust of your target audience by developing meaningful and long-lasting customer relationships.
The inbound marketing process
Inbound marketing techniques engage potential customers and the media in a variety of ways. These include writing a blog post, content marketing, search engine optimisation, social media marketing, email marketing, and lead nurturing. But the foundation of effective inbound marketing is public relations and no brand can survive without PR. Learn more about leveraging PR in our latest inbound marketing guide.
What is an inbound marketing strategy?
Inbound marketing strategies attract customers and nurture leads by creating valuable content and experiences. It is a long-term strategy that builds trust and relationships much faster than other sales techniques, rather than focusing on trying to make a sale as fast as possible.
A successful inbound marketing strategy will ensure your content is found at the right time by the right people. Develop compelling content that aligns with the needs of your potential customers.
Inbound marketing costs 18% less than traditional outbound marketing techniques, inbound marketing experts and often produces more repeatable leads from organic rankings.
Difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing
While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, a strong inbound marketing strategy boosts your marketing efforts. Inbound strategies offer solutions to customers’ problems across a range of different platforms.
Outbound marketing blasts audiences with advertising messages to get their attention. From cold-calling to email to TV ads, outbound marketing can be effective. Generally, it’s much less than inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is much more targeted and therefore efficient as a result. Investment is much less in inbound marketing for better results.
How is PR part of an inbound marketing strategy?
PR is an essential part of an inbound marketing strategy. Malcolm Muggeridge once said that “news is anything anybody wants to suppress; anything else is public relations”.
Public Relations, or ‘PR’, is how companies, brands and more communicate with the public, promote themselves, and build a positive reputation and public image. This is different from advertising, which as an outbound marketing tool, takes your brand’s message and exposes as many people to it as possible.
PR is your CEO quoted in The Times, and advertising is the full-page spread opposite. PR is about starting a conversation with your social media followers.
PR is effective because you allow people to listen rather than forcing them to, and it draws them naturally towards your brand. It is an essential part of the sales process and should be a key feature of your inbound marketing methodology.
PR techniques for your inbound marketing
Inbound marketing focuses on placing your brand where your potential customers will naturally encounter it, building authority and contributing to your inbound marketing strategy.
There are infinite ways to achieve this, but a few effective techniques that harness the power of PR can supercharge your inbound marketing methodology.
A successful inbound marketing plan should have PR at its heart as a vital part of the overall marketing funnel.
You can ensure marketing success through comprehensive inbound marketing work that targets buyers’ personas with compelling content wherever they are. This allows you to focus on customer acquisition, attract new customers, build customer relationships and grow lead generation.
Using ‘newsjacking’ to get results
Want to improve your organic search traffic and get more leads? Newsjacking is an easy way to secure PR, piggybacking on current affairs to reach a wider audience.
If you pick the right story and associate your brand with it, it can be highly effective at getting PR and moving up the ranks on results pages.
Proceed with caution
Pepsi’s attempt to newsjack the 2017 BLM protests using Kendall Jenner was a good example of how not to do this. It was viewed by the marketing world as an obvious and cynical attempt to monetise an important issue.
- Plan out in advance what topics you can successfully build on or contribute to and identify the relevant keywords.
- Decide what sort of content you can create around it, such as landing pages, videos or infographics.
- Ensure you create relevant content that attracts customers as part of your inbound marketing efforts.
- Thinking in advance about potential opportunities means you can respond quickly when the right one arrives. New trends appear constantly, allowing you to be seen on search engines.
Drive the conversation
Many businesses want to be part of the conversation. It’s an essential part of every inbound strategy, using valuable content aimed at delighting customers and attracting new ones.
For a successful inbound methodology, you need to have a strong social media presence. This means ensuring your social media accounts are active and posting regularly.
A good way to drive the conversation is to become a participant, not a leader of the conversation with your specific audience. Your brand shouldn’t be telling people what to talk about. Inbound marketing works by hosting the conversation already happening.
This Tweet from Hubspot is a great example of how to do this. While they may be ‘starting the conversation’ by asking the question, they aren’t really starting a new conversation.
They know their audience is already talking about “how I’d build a brand from scratch”. All they’re doing is providing a public forum for the discussion and helping answer pain points.
This is how your SEO strategy can build long-lasting relationships with your audience. Provide the right content at the right time and in the place where they are open to accepting it.
Brands can also borrow the authority of others. There are plenty of ways to do this: for instance, when we worked with Origin Workspace, we secured engagement with high-profile industry figures on Twitter. Our work with ASDAN, a curriculum development organisation, secured placement in several key industry journals.
Although social media and trade journals are poles apart, they both serve the same goal – to position our client’s brand as an established, relevant authority within the industry.
There can be many benefits to businesses joining together on a campaign. From expanding audiences and driving website visitors to strengthening brand trust, businesses that work together can see serious uplift in their bottom line as a result.
If you aren’t ready for business collaboration, consider working with an influencer in your industry. They talk directly to potential customers, not to mention your current customers. Working with them can really boost the trust and awareness of your brand.
Relationships are at the heart of PR, with media, stakeholders, influencers and more. A good PR agency can leverage its relationships to get you coverage.
By providing exclusive content to journalists, editors and influencers, your company can appear heads and shoulders above your competitors and get to the top of that crucial search engine results page.
Widening your circle
It’s not just about coverage. The PR agency can also connect you with stakeholders who can be useful to your company and help you reach wider audiences.
Define your business goals and buyer personas. Identify your target audience and learn all you can about them. You can then start creating content for your customers and stakeholders, ensuring you have high-quality content they will want to engage with.
PR goes beyond inbound marketing tactics, and you will see the results in your qualified leads and increased organic traffic.
Finetune your SEO
SEO isn’t just for web pages and blog posts in the modern world. Time-poor journalists and editors look for content and press releases that are optimised and ready to use.
Start with keyword research. Choose terms that will work for you and for the website where you want to place. What is your target audience searching for? There’s no higher praise than when a journalist lifts an article direct from a press release.
Make your content work harder
Writing for SEO is becoming increasingly important, and press releases are part of this. Add in links and media, like video and images, before sending so that journalists have everything they need at their fingertips.
If you have created a landing page for a particular inbound campaign, make sure its purpose is clear, and there is a visible ‘call to action’ (CTA) to allow your audience to reach out to you.
Marketing automation software can enhance your inbound marketing efforts. Using a marketing automation platform can help pull content together in an email campaign and create internal tasks for sales teams to follow up.
Identifying news trends
In the world today, the news cycle has solid trends. Integrate inbound activity with what will make headlines by choosing trends that are part of a buyer’s journey.
Your PR agency can create a content strategy in line with forward features which lists upcoming news and features. Choose media outlets where your content will align with your target audience’s news, increasing trust in your brand.
Measuring the impact of PR on inbound marketing strategies
PR has a powerful effect on the success of inbound marketing, but it is hard to measure PR’s Return on Investment (ROI). The PR industry has grappled with this problem for years, creating the so-called ‘Barcelona Principles’ for measuring PR efficacy.
The Barcelona principles are relatively opaque for non-industry readers, but they focus on the following:
- You cannot measure without first setting goals – SMART targets are a key method for establishing relevant metrics
- PR needs qualitative and quantitative measurement – it’s not enough to pile up tonnes of information: you have to know how to interpret marketing data
- Honesty and clarity are essential – PR companies shouldn’t try to bamboozle their clients with distorted numbers but provide them with clear perspective
How PR boosts your inbound marketing strategy
Inbound marketing simply doesn’t work without PR. Our team at AMBITIOUS PR specialises in developing strategies for our clients. Our recent guide to inbound marketing for healthcare demonstrates how powerful this can be in any industry.
Integrated marketing services are the way forward. Traditional marketing just won’t cut it. Consider your inbound methodology and ensure you have PR underlined twice.
The best way to engage with your potential customers is to reach them in the right places when they are open to hearing from you. Give them what they want to hear and create long-term relationships.
Your next steps towards successful inbound marketing
If you could use a little help with your PR, then we’re ready to lend a hand. Schedule a call with us today, or get in touch to find out how we can help.