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The 4 essentials of delivering Inbound PR campaigns

By David Beesley

A question we often get asked is “How do you plan to deliver this campaign?” - and it’s a reasonable question. After all, whether it’s an existing client or a prospect, they want to know that we can follow through on the promises of a proposal. Any good PR consultancy will deliver you regular media coverage in your key publications – and there are plenty of good B2B tech PR firms out there (and some poor ones) – but what else can they deliver and how will they go about it?

Below are four essential elements to delivering an Inbound PR campaign to consider.

 

Understanding your audience

Rule number one since the founding of PR as a discipline – and vital to delivering an Inbound PR campaign. Know your audience and you’ll be able to communicate effectively with them. But how many businesses truly know their target audience?

Sure, there might be anecdotal information on a particular buyer or a profile of a customer, but this is largely based on a view or consensus between the CEO, Sales Director and Marketing Director, and only goes so far to really understanding your audience.

The best way to understand your target audience or target buyers is to do some research into them – preferences, behaviours, habits etc - and then poll the results. You can start by surveying your own front-line employees who deal with customers or prospects on a regular basis. This could be your sales team or customer service team – but the results will only tell you so much. If you invest in independent external research on your target audience or buyers, then you will truly understand their needs, challenges and what drives them to make a decision to purchase your product, solution or services.

 

Understanding your content

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and don’t re-invent the wheel. When it comes to understanding your content, either of these well used analogies couldn’t be more relevant. If you’re struggling to grow your lead enquiries at the rate you would like, then you might think (or be advised) that the solution is to scrap what you’ve done so far and take a whole new approach.

Great! And with it you’re scrapping all the time and effort that you have invested to get you this far in the first place.

A better approach is to understand how to use your existing content better, and where you need to create new content going forward. Do this by conducting a content audit – an exercise that identifies all the content you have and maps it to your buyer personas that you have developed after understanding your audience. Identify your existing content and how it falls under your buyer persons across one of three stages – Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

I’m not just talking blogs, case studies and maybe some downloadable eBooks from your website. I’m talking product sheets, pricing documents, website copy that didn’t make the final cut, webinars, industry research that you have done to assess the marketplace, that thought you had at 2:00am in the morning and started scribbling down ideas on the commute into the office.

Once you have a completed content audit, you will be able to see where the holes in your existing content lie and for which buyer persona – this is the start of delivering an Inbound PR content strategy.

 

Understanding your website

How is your website performing? Which are the most popular pages? How many blog views do you have? What’s your keyword strategy? What’s the engagement rate? This might sound like we’ve crossed over from PR into Marketing and SEO, but delivering Inbound PR takes these elements into consideration because if you don’t understand your website – then it can’t become an extension of your marketing and sales efforts.

Make sure you know your best performing website pages and make sure you have relevant calls-to-actions (CTAs) available so that your audience can engage with your company.

How is this relevant to a PR campaign? Think about it this way – you’re spending thousands on PR to raise the awareness of your business and proposition. The PR consultancy is doing a great job securing coverage, generating interviews and making sure that your audience knows why you’re different (and better) than your competitors. Great. They get to your website to find out more and the only way they can interact with your business is via a “Contact Us” button. Your website engagement rates will most likely be through the floor.

Your website should be engaging and littered with content (supported by your PR consultancy) that educates potential buyers, provides examples of how you solve their business challenges and explanations of why they should deal with you over someone else.

If you don’t take the time to understand your website, any PR campaign is ultimately doomed to fail as you won’t be able to see the impact other than appearing in the media.

 

Understanding how you measure success

Defining “what good looks like” is absolutely essential if you are going to determine value – goes without saying really – but what is worth saying is that by delivering Inbound PR campaigns we have been able to take a data-driven approach to how we measure impact.

You might be getting regular media coverage, but how many of those online articles include a link back to your website or specific product or landing page? I’m not talking follow or no-follow links here – while follow links are great for SEO, the key driver for Inbound PR is to deliver more visits, therefore more opportunities, to your business.

Understanding where your referral traffic comes from is a good measure of impact – even better if you have pages of your website dedicated to just your PR campaign. Then you can clearly see the impact an Inbound PR campaign is delivering.

Define what constitutes success before a campaign is launched, set a baseline and then measure against that baseline. You’ll soon get a clear understanding of performance.

Delivering Inbound PR campaigns is not easy. It’s a very competitive industry, but competition is good! It’s healthy for the PR industry which, through the use of analytics and software that can integrated with CRMs and a website’s CMS, is only going to get better at delivering true ROI and value.

 

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