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5 Ways to Integrate PR with Your Inbound Marketing Campaigns

July 7, 2017

By Brittany Fleck

Public relations and inbound marketing are two hot keywords in the marketing industry. But what are they? What do they mean for your organization? And how can they work together to bring the most value to your business?

For those not as familiar with these two facets of marketing, here's a quick rundown.

Public Relations 101

According to the Public Relations Society of America, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” A public relations strategy can help increase awareness for an individual or an organization, it can help build relationships with the media, and it works to create or preserve a positive image.

Combine inbound marketing and PR to increase visibility, credibility, brand  recognition, and the potential to reach your target audience.

To be successful in public relations, you must focus on the needs of your company, the media, and your audience. You can’t focus on one without the other two in a successful PR strategy.

Something that PR and inbound marketing have in common is thought leadership. In public relations, you pitch your thought leadership to the media on a certain topic in your industry. In inbound, you create content that you publish yourself that is still educating your audience and showing your expertise. The difference here is where the content is published. In PR, the content can be written by a journalist or by the thought leader themself, but it will be published through a third-party outlet. This gives your content more credibility. With inbound, you usually publish the content yourself, and your audience knows it is coming from you.

Inbound Marketing 101

So, now you're thinking, “Okay, great, my PR and inbound marketing have things in common but are not the same, but wait—tell me more about inbound marketing.” You’re in luck! We love to talk about inbound marketing on the SmartBug Media blog.

Here is the quick and dirty version: Inbound marketing is about being found by customers by providing valuable content.

So, now that we have wrapped our heads around what inbound marketing and public relations should look like, let’s take a look at how they can work together.

1. Content, Content, Content

When it comes to public relations, it's all about the pitch and the relationships to take it the distance. What is the angle? What publication will find this most valuable? How can it be tied to current events? Once a PR professional has the topic, they'll pitch until that topic is picked up—or until it’s time to move on. After all, not every topic gets a bite. In inbound marketing, you take your topic, figure out what your audience needs to know about that topic, and get to writing. So, the question is: Why come up with similar topics for two different purposes when you could just repurpose one topic? Bingo! That is exactly what you should be doing.

Similar to inbound marketing, public relations cannot survive without continuous ways to prove expertise and thought leadership.  

Use your inbound marketing topics and ideas to help create your public relations pitches and vice versa. There is no need to always reinvent the wheel. Also, with this strategy, you can ensure that your messaging and strategy align across all aspects of your marketing.

2. Let’s Get Social

Use social media not only to engage with your audience but also to spread your message and content further.

When using social media for public relations and inbound marketing, be sure to use hashtags that your audience is using and make sure you are posting to social media sites that are being primarily used by your personas.

Integrate your news and thought leadership into your existing social media promotions and use your social media platforms as a way to get your brand in front of even more relevant people.

3. Don’t Kill the Press Release Just Yet

Fun fact: Press releases aren’t dead. People will try to tell you they are, and let’s be honest, just putting a press release out over the wire and crossing your fingers no longer works. But this doesn’t mean that you should toss them altogether.

When creating a press release to talk about your newest content or product launch, write it to be picked up by a news outlet but also optimize the copy for search engines.

Your audience likely isn’t finding you by reading thousands of Yahoo! News articles, but your readership is going to Google. Give your audience another chance to find you by offering up your press release as part of its journey.

Once your release is distributed and popping up in search engines, you can also use that content in other areas. Create a SlideShare, blog article, or video with the same information talking about why the news is important to your audience.

As you gain more visibility from public relations, you will get more inbound clicks to your site, and you'll ultimately get more leads.


4. Optimize for Search

As we touched on above, never forget about the search engine. Again, you can use the same news or content multiple times—the key is optimizing that content for the right keywords each time.

If you put a press release in your website's Newsroom, write a blog article about why that news is important for your industry, or create a site page specifically about the news—always optimize this content for search.

By optimizing for search, you are helping ensure people get the information they are looking for, which all goes back to successful public relations.


5. Don’t Knock Media Relations

Yes, marketing is changing, and with that, PR is changing. Although a good public relations consultant knows to not lay all of their eggs in the media basket, they also knows it's still a large part of a public relations strategy.

So, the key is making sure you make the most out of your media articles. Integrate them into your inbound marketing campaigns. What is the article talking about? Take what the article is showing and use that as a way for people to make it back to your website and become leads. Did the article talk about your innovative new product? Share case studies from your website on social media and talk about how your product made your customers’ lives better.

"So delighted to be featured on @ABC [link]! Get more of the inside scoop on how we developed our latest product to help serve @customer [link case study]."

This is a great way to build on the authority of the media outlet that mentioned you, get traffic to its article, and get traffic to your website.

Inbound marketing and public relations don’t have to live in separate worlds. They can work together to make each other better and ultimately drive more leads to your business.


Combine inbound marketing and PR to increase visibility, credibility, brand recognition, and the potential to reach your target audience with:

Intelligent Inbound & PR: The Magic Combination for Increased Growth

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Public Relations