The public relations industry, like many others, has experienced massive change over the years, as traditional PR continues to make the journey into the digital world. The fundamentals, however, remain the same: push your message out to a targeted audience in order to build awareness and drive revenue. PR pros now have to constantly learn new skills and adapt their processes in order to stay on top of the noise.
Content marketing and inbound marketing are more relevant than ever, and the ability to incorporate these new methods into your public relations model is essential. An inbound strategy must work alongside your PR plan, where their combined efforts are meeting the needs of your client.
Inbound marketing, of course, is all about the customer finding you, not the other way around. In order for this to occur, you must do two things: offer excellent content, and provide significant value within that content. Dangle the carrot and they will chase it. Content marketing, social media, and SEO are key ingredients of inbound marketing. And like public relations, the goal remains the same: creating visibility and awareness.
Here are three ways you can incorporate inbound marketing into your PR plan.
Create compelling content
Chances are your client already has some fantastic fodder to create content that is compelling, humorous, educational, or all three! Often considered a thing of the past, a well-written press release remains an important PR tool. Sprinkle it with some carefully researched keywords and bam! you’re getting serious about boosting your inbound marketing efforts! Ignore keywords and your efforts will fall flat.
If your client has not already done so, have them start a company blog. Even though the sales team or the HR manager may not have the greatest writing skills, they still have a story to tell and it is up to you to pull that story out and turn it into a post, or even posts. Company milestones big or small make great subject matter. Profile team members and tell their story in a fun and engaging manner. The art of storytelling is one of the best attributes any PR professional can possess.
Jayson DeMers, founder & CEO of AudienceBloom says, “With better content, you’ll earn higher conversion rates than your competitors, and buyers will be more loyal to your brand.”
There are a variety of types of content you can create once you have the structure: press releases, articles, infographics, eBooks, podcasts, white papers, the list is endless. Milk that content for all it’s worth, and share it with the world.
Take some time to research competitor sites or sites that have the same or a similar audience as your client, and see what kind of articles they’re crafting, which ones have been shared the most, and put your own spin on the topic. It’s all about catering your content and keeping that rich supply flowing.
Now take that content and share it!
PR pros, especially veterans of the industry, possess many very valuable skills, and those job requirements certainly have not changed. Now, there is the need to incorporate new practices into your existing plan. Your daily PR routine still includes creating content and sharing it with journalists to obtain the best traditional media coverage you can for your client. There’s nothing better than that, right? Now, instead of stopping there and celebrating your success (which is very well deserved by the way), you need to go above and beyond. You need to take that piece and share it via different social media platforms.
A quick tweet like “Check out our client @AcmeCo’s newest gadget as mentioned in the @NYtimes https://linktoarticle” can get a lot of attention, especially when you @mention others and they retweet.
Take those employee stories and turn them into a video, share a media kit by creating a Pinterest newsroom, post some fun images on Instagram ━ just make sure all social roads lead back to your website with an appropriate call to action.
SEO & keywords
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, takes all your great content and makes it available to potential customers. Inbound marketing and PR have a common goal—make it easy for them to find you!
There is a little work required when properly assessing keywords. The process is actually not as daunting as you might think, but those little search spiders need to find your keywords (which you have carefully researched and peppered throughout your article or press release (especially in the URL, title, and any attached images), so you need to make it easy for them. This may seem simple at first, and, depending on your topic it certainly can be but, there are times when a little finesse is required to ensure the piece is easily searchable and still reads well. Use Google’s Keyword Planner and takes some free workshops to get yourself up to speed.
This simple step will put you and your client in the forefront of competitors who are not doing their homework. Now take that one step further and improve your WordPress SEO by using Yoast. This SEO plugin forces you to choose focus keywords while you’re writing.
Inbound marketing and PR are a marriage made in heaven, but like all marriages, it takes work. Put these three tips into practice, remain diligent in your efforts, and you will be pleasantly rewarded.