Inbound marketing has transformed the way customers relate to brands. It gives companies the staying power to forge a partnership with customers that begins when customers first express interest in a business problem – and continues through the sale and beyond.
Now, that same mindset is being turned to online PR and reputation management.
Inbound PR uses inbound marketing principles, especially content marketing, to help amplify a brand’s favorable attributes. The purpose of inbound PR is to ensure people and groups seeking information on a company will have a complete picture of its unique value.
Like inbound marketing, inbound PR builds bridges of content from outside publishers to a company’s digital properties. However, where inbound marketing focuses on pain points and burning questions, inbound PR clarifies a brand’s own story.
Even if you love the way your PR function is performing now, inbound can make it even better. Inbound techniques tie PR to clear business outcomes and allow you to prove ROI through digital analytics. That allows smart budgeting of both funds and effort.
Inbound PR Helps Brands Craft and Maintain Their Reputation
Leads and current customers aren’t the only people who investigate your brand.
Prospective employees, investors, and journalists are also conducting their own independent online research. Like customers, they use a combination of search tools and trusted publications to build up a picture of how responsible, reliable, and trustworthy you are.
With inbound PR, you can highlight your value proposition for those diverse audiences.
Inbound PR uses content outreach initiatives that help fill in the gaps. Using the same buyer personas that inform marketing and sales, they develop a web of connections among publishers their audience trusts, then provide informative content through those channels.
All in all, inbound PR will:
- Render visible aspects of your company culture such as your brand’s values and history.
- Augment any efforts to present yourself as a responsible corporate citizen and employer.
- Strengthen your existing SEO results by diversifying your company’s backlink portfolio.
- Open up new opportunities for organic outreach through journalists and other experts.
- Give you greater latitude to manage your reputation online and navigate major events.
With Inbound PR, Teams Counteract Digital “Message Drift”
We’ve all seen the ubiquitous ads that warn you to “Google yourself,” right?
Most people will find at least a few results that strike them as odd or unwelcome. This is even true for inbound professionals who already understand the importance of crafting a reputation.
For brands, it’s even worse: A single disgruntled customer – or simply someone with an axe to grind – can do significant damage to the digital “first impression” others are exposed to.
Search results and social media buzz both have a tendency to drift off-message. They may not be negative, but they don’t present a cohesive picture of your brand. Inbound PR helps ensure that the “surface level” information people can easily find out about you isn’t accidental.
Inbound PR Is a Natural Partner to Inbound Marketing and Sales
Enterprises that already do things the inbound way can get started with inbound PR quickly.
Identifying areas of overlap with marketing and sales allows inbound PR professionals to make a difference faster. For example, inbound PR professionals should always know what the latest social buzz is about their brand, so they may use the same social listening tools as marketers.
Following good SEO and web design practices will also make inbound PR much simpler. The PR function should be the first point of contact for outside media figures seeking more information. A simple update to your contact forms and “about” pages can clarify these inquiries.
By laying the foundation for inbound PR today, you’ll have repeatable workflows and much greater visibility for your brand communications if something serious – such as a product defect – threatens the way your brand is perceived by the audience you serve.
With inbound PR, you can address these issues consistently and limit reputational harm online and off.
2019 Will Be a Big Year for Inbound PR
To remain relevant in a fast-paced digital world, the PR function needs to evolve. Inbound PR is a huge part of that evolution. It allows the PR team to take center stage with other key players in the inbound methodology by being proactive, not reactive.
PR pioneers are striving to uncover the ingredients to a great inbound PR organization as you read this. If you want to get the party started early, we recommend checking out Inbound PR: The PR Agency’s Manual to Transforming Your Business With Inbound.
As proven inbound tactics are applied to more areas of business, it enriches the whole of inbound philosophy. We’re excited to see all the amazing things that PR pros will accomplish once they’re fully equipped with inbound – and we hope you are, too!