By Ryan Malone

PR_in_Your_Inbound_Marketing_StrategyWe are content creators. If you understand this basic principle, it will be easy for you to understand how public relations fits into an inbound marketing strategy. 

Some marketers might see public relations and inbound marketing as two completely different entities, but in reality the two practices actually have quite a lot in common. Both PR and inbound marketing are used to boost brand awareness, increase web traffic, create a unique brand identity, and most importantly, generate content

The type of content that each creates is different but learning how to utilize both will ultimately help you achieve success for your brand.

Earned Media vs. Owned Media

The two different types of content created by PR and inbound marketing are described as “earned media” and “owned media.”

Owned media is content that a brand has control over. Examples of owned media include websites, blogs and newsletters. Earned media, on the other hand, is something that appears in an external outlet and is secured by convincing gatekeepers (reporters, editors, producers) of that outlet to publish the brand’s story.  Earned media examples include articles in newspapers or magazines, a TV or radio interview or a guest blog post. Owned media is something typically handled by marketers, while earned media is something traditionally handled by PR professionals.

Why Earned Media Matters to Inbound Marketers

Think of PR (aka earned media) as a way to get potential costumers in the door, and inbound marketing as the way to keep them in the store and coming back for more.

The greatest benefit of earned media is its intention of raising awareness about a product launch, an event, or a new service offering. Analytics often show that after a major PR push, companies will see a spike in web traffic. But with the 24/7 news cycle, and in the age of social media, that interest often quickly disappears once the PR push is over and your stories are no longer in the press. This is where owned media comes in. Because inbound marketing provides informative and entertaining content that’s directly targeting its key audiences, it helps to build a community around a brand. PR creates awareness and helps to generate leads, while inbound marketing creates a community and brand loyalty, which will ultimately convert your leads into customers. 

So when you have something new and notable going on with the company, utilize PR tactics to help generate quick and widespread awareness. Then utilize your inbound marketing tactics to build brand loyalty and convert the leads generated by PR into customers.

Earned Media Is Great for Repurposing Content & Materials

Earned media secured during your PR outreach, such as an article in an established publication, can be converted into owned media down the road. That article can be used on the company website as a testimonial for your brand’s credibility, or can be shared with your community through social media channels and a dedicated e-newsletter. The repurposing of PR content is one of the most valuable parts of inserting PR into your inbound strategy.

You can also use PR materials to help with blog content creation. Constantly coming up with new ideas or subjects for a blog can be daunting, so why not use the PR materials you’ve created to secure earned media (aka a press release) as the foundation for creating new blog posts.

Again the key here is that content is king and PR activities help inbound marketers create more content.

Have you incorporated PR into your inbound strategy? Have you found that earned media has helped you achieve success or develop more interesting content that resonates with your audience?

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Ryan Malone

About the author

Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media and is a veteran of Deloitte & Touche, Seagate and several venture-backed technology companies. When he's not leading SmartBug and helping clients build high-octane marketing organizations, he's loving his wife and daughters and unsuccessfully learning the guitar. Go Terps! Read more articles by Ryan Malone.

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