Lead generation. It's the holy grail of B2B PR and inbound marketing campaigns. How do you get to drink from that holy cup? Let's check out how using a combined method of PR and inbound marketing will turn your B2B company into a lead generation machine.
What Does PR Really Mean?
Perhaps you've hired B2B PR firms in the past and had less than stellar results. You were promised the moon, but only received space dust. If this has been your experience, you sadly haven't had the privilege of observing what PR is meant to do.
More than media relations, effective PR focuses on the needs of the buyer. After all, what good are thousands of impressions that target the wrong audience?
Your PR message should empower your specific audience. It should demonstrate that your product or service solves a problem, that you understand a person's challenges, and that you anticipate his or her needs -- even before they arise.
Once upon a time, the primary thrust of PR was getting press mentions and branding. However, modern PR encompasses more. A successful PR strategy integrates inbound marketing as a win-win for you and your prospects.
What is Inbound Marketing?
You've likely heard of inbound marketing. In fact, according to the most recent State of Inbound report from Hubspot, nearly 75% of companies globally use inbound marketing, with many more planning to climb on board.
So what is inbound marketing? And why is inbound marketing important? In a nutshell: Inbound marketing focuses on being found by customers. It is customer-centric. Sounds a lot like good PR, doesn't it? That is why companies benefit from combining their PR and B2B inbound marketing tactics into one strategy.
Inbound marketing creates marketing materials that provide value. These materials come in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos, and a search engine optimized website. Your PR campaigns should integrate seamlessly into your B2B inbound marketing strategy. How do you do this?
Let's look at 5 ways in which you can use public relations and inbound marketing for B2B businesses.
5 Ways to Combine PR and Inbound Marketing to Drive Leads
1. Press Releases
Press releases have been a resilient tactic in the PR world. Their modern-day efficacy is boosted by inbound marketing.
How will your prospects find you? Will they comb the pages of a news site to find your particular brand? Likely not.
However, a press release that is optimized for search engines using keywords will draw prospects in. When prospects perform a Google search for a product, service, or solution to a problem, your release will lead them in the right direction -- to your virtual doorstep. And don't forget to tailor your keywords to local search if your press release pertains to a local or regional community.
Your press release visibility doesn't stop at media outlets. In fact, press releases are perfect candidates for content material. Turn your release into a SlideShare, a blog post, or even a video. Your widespread visibility serves to boost your PR, increase inbound clicks, and ultimately deliver leads.
2. Blog Posts
Blogging has been at the forefront of effective B2B inbound marketing techniques for years now. And for good reason. Businesses who blog just twice a month receive up to 67% more leads than their competitors who don't. Why is this? Because your blog posts, when sprinkled with the right keywords, increase your findability online.
Maintaining a blog supports the fundamentals of good PR and marketing: to fulfill the needs of the buyer by delivering useful content.
Regularity is another key tenet of effective inbound marketing for B2B businesses. You may even find that a lot of your PR materials make perfect information for a blog post. For example, if you've recently released a case study or white paper, why not use some of the material to create create a blog post? You can even repurpose some of your other content into blog material.
3. Social Media
My, how the word "media" has changed! It seems like a few short years ago, the word media referred primarily to journalists. However, you now have your own media channels!
Although press releases are far from dead, and journalists are still people you want close at hand, your role in distributing your news-worthy content has changed.
Rather than giving your story to the media and walking away, you now have the opportunity to market your own PR. For instance, when you receive a press mention, a quick post to Twitter will deliver a positive brand message to followers that are specific to your industry. Your reach to industry-specific leads has never been greater.
Here is a schematic to illustrate the ways PR can work with inbound marketing. Read on to see how SEO and media articles can complete the mix.
We've talked a bit about SEO already. However, you may be wondering how this fits into the PR and marketing story.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of making whatever content you produce, findable. How do you do this?
Let's say you've written a press release. You've distributed it to the proper media channels, and posted it on your corporate newsroom page. Now you want to turn it into a blog post. While you might design the content for each a little differently, each shares one item: the right keywords. And there's a bit of a science to this. It's not merely about repetition of the same word. Rather, you have to understand how search spiders find your content.
For example, in this post, our keyword is "PR and Inbound." Because this is our main topic, it's not hard to sprinkle that keyword in the body of the post. However, you'll also note that it is in the URL of the post, the heading, and in the image. This allows the post to be discovered by anyone who performs a search for this keyword.
SEO should be incorporated into your traditional PR methods, as well as your inbound strategy. It allows people to see that you have what they're looking for. Now that's good PR!
5. Media Articles
Media placements are tried and true in the PR world. Their usefulness has not been overdone, either. However, now you can incorporate the positive PR from media placements into your B2B inbound marketing tactics.
Let's say you're featured in a trade magazine. That's great! How does that help you to drive leads? Well, of course, it brings attention to your brand. However, what you really want to do is create a connection between that featured piece and your prospects so that strangers turn into leads. How do you that?
One way is by integrating the piece into your social media campaign. Does the piece show how you have created an innovative product that makes lives easier? Showcase how this has been done in real life by adding case studies to your webpage and link to it in your social media posting. It might go something like this:
"So proud to be featured in @XYZ (link)! Get more of the inside scoop on how we developed our latest product to help serve @client http://www.linktocasestudy."
Not only does the mention of XYZ magazine and your client serve to boost retweets and show appreciation, but the link back to your website (with an appropriate call to action) drives leads back to your website.
Another way to integrate inbound marketing tactics into your media relations is to publish guest posts on media outlets. Some outlets will let you link to educational content on your site or allow a link in your bio that accompanies the article. Whether it's in an industry magazine or a guest post on a blog, educating your audience gets your brand in the spotlight and showcases your expertise.
While PR and inbound marketing are excellent strategies individually, they work even better when combined.
What PR and inbound marketing B2B tactics have you found effective? Let us know in the comments below.
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