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Inbound PR is the evolution of public relations in a digital age

An effective PR strategy can help raise the profile and visibility of a brand or business within its relevant media and, as a result, reach customers, prospects and other stakeholders.

In an era when high quality digital content has global reach and audiences want to educate and inform themselves through multiple media channels the traditional model of PR – managing and building personal media relationships – is only achieving one goal when there are so many to consider.

Modern PR strategies now form part of a much wider Inbound strategy and PR consultancies must be able to create and implement campaigns which are more sophisticated and take into account much more than hurling new releases at a black book full of existing media contacts.

The media landscape that must now be tracked and managed by today’s communications professionals is one made up of multiple channels to market:

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1. EARNED MEDIA

Earn the right to get your brand, business and spokespeople featured in key media and raise your profile and reputation amongst your target audience as an industry thought-leader. It’s not easy, but with the right help you can create and present opinions and insights into your industry and win the battle to be recognised as one of the people who understands the issues facing your marketplace.

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2. OWNED MEDIA

Publish your views and engage your industry in worthwhile dialogue through the media channels you own. Use search engine optimisation to drive traffic to your content and expand and amplify your messages to a wider audience using social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and even Instagram and Facebook.

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3. PAID MEDIA

While the power of search engines helps your Owned media, carefully targeted and supportive Paid media campaigns can extend your reach even further. They don’t have to be huge in value but well thought through Paid media can be a clever addition to your Inbound PR campaign. Running a Paid media campaign on Google Adwords around your key new products and services can boost web visitors and capture real interested prospects to your site. 

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Growing your audience

users-group (1)Businesses today have many more media outlets to consider and contend with than in the past.

All of these channels open up more opportunity to engage with your target audiences, which today are not just limited to customers and prospects. New media channels mean businesses now have the potential to communicate and engage directly with journalists, bloggers, analysts, influencers, investors, partners or vendors and employees.

Today, you have to consider that your business is a publisher in its own right, it’s not just about engaging with publications. Along with media engagement, you must be able to take advantage of the ability to publish your own content on your own digital shop window - your website.

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It's all about your content

content (2)One thing all these media channels have in common is that they are pointless without content – good, engaging, well considered and well written content. 

Journalists, bloggers and influencers won’t care about your business unless you’re providing them with interesting information that they want to publish. Your website will be barren and unvisited without useful, thought-provoking content and blogs that do a lot more than just talk about you. And your social media channels will remain unfollowed unless you actively interact with and share relevant ideas with your target audiences.

Getting to the crux of a good story and understanding the key Who, What, When, Where and Why remains the essential element for creating great content that people will want to read and learn from. But today’s PR professionals have to be experts in creating that content across every aspect of an Inbound PR campaign, ensuring any content is targeted towards relevant journalists and created in a way that increases the chance of your content appearing in the media.

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Inbound PR is measurable

line-chartHistorically PR agencies measured campaign performance based on the quantity, or quality, of appearances in the media. But it is no longer enough, in fact it is laughable, to present a set of metrics based on possible impressions or equivalent advertising spend.

Return on investment today must be based on factual and provable impact. 

Inbound PR uses digital metrics like Google Analytics and goal setting, along with other digital tools, to measure exactly how any PR activity is impacting your business’ online visibility and overall business objectives. 

Clear reporting should give you the ability to track website visitors (both new and returning), measure success of a particular article or asset, see how your social media accounts are growing, what level of activity and engagement your posts have generated, as well as to know which channels or outlets are driving traffic to your website.

Remember that your website meets your prospects before you do, so careful tracking and measurement of your website is the key to the success metrics of your business.

The Inbound PR methodology can help you understand how an individual campaign and your wider PR and marketing activity is performing against your business’ overall goals.