The One-Two Punch: Inbound Marketing and Public Relations
After working more than twenty-five years in the public relations field, I’ve seen numerous changes in the profession. In particular, I’ve observed a subtle blurring of the lines between PR and marketing. At first it was because “marketing” became a catchall word used by many for anything to do with increasing awareness and/or supporting sales: advertising, speaking, and yes, public relations. It was basically semantics.
However, with the relatively new concept of inbound marketing, I don’t see a blurring of the lines so much as I see a winning “one-two” punch combining these similar disciplines for our clients.
First, let’s be clear what “inbound” is, with this description from our friends at Hubspot:
Inbound marketing is an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful — not interruptive. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media. Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customers attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects and builds trust and credibility for your business.
To a seasoned PR vet, inbound sounds an awful lot like public relations. How? Well, by definition (see dictionary.com) PR is about credibility and awareness:
Public relations is the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.
My colleague Robert Wynne gave a pretty good explanation in Forbes:
PR is the Persuasion Business. You are trying to convince an audience, inside your building or town, and outside your usual sphere of influence, to promote your idea, purchase your product, support your position, or recognize your accomplishments. Here’s what the Public Relations Society of America PRSA agreed upon after a few thousand submissions: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
PR people are storytellers…