Inbound Marketing, Meet Inbound PR

The days of PR being its own silo are over.

With the megatrend of B2B waking up and measuring the ROI of publishing, blogging, sharing through social media, and SEO, Marketing and PR are inextricably linked. Brian Kardon (@bkardon), CMO of Lattice Engines, said it best in a recent interview with Fast Company (BTW: well worth the read!) when asked, “How do you measure PR?”:

“Is there a way we are NOT measuring PR?” said Kardon. “I look at web traffic, number of inbound links, ratio of new to repeat visitors, branded searches, fans, followers, tweets, retweets, comments to posts, likes… you name it.”

So, I say, a little dramatically… Inbound Marketing, Meet Inbound PR.

Brian Halligan (@bhalligan), CEO of HubSpot, said in his keynote at #INBOUND12, “The basic fundamental concept of Inbound Marketing is content, pulling people in with great content, instead of interrupting them.”

Today, if people have a need, whether it’s a business or a consumer need, people search for you. They don’t click on annoying ads; they block those. They certainly don’t pick up cold calls; they (as a former colleague of mine @miguelmarron would say) “ICE” those.

“The shift,” said David Meerman Scott (@dmscott), author of bestseller The New Rules of Marketing and PR, can be summed up with this simple equation:


He says, “on the web, you are what you publish.” So, if PR is the “communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics” (PRSA), then folks…this  –  is  –  the  –  new  –  PR: Inbound PR. Seriously, when was the last time you called up Damon Darlin at the New York Times and nailed it?! I’m guessing 2005? No need to panic though. There are mountains of opportunity here, and most new strategies are true extensions of what YOU already do well.

David Meerman Scott lists the types of Inbound Marketing…

1. Horizontal — content that is broad and thin; people will find you when searching broad market category search terms. For example, “retail technology”.

2. Vertical — content that is specific and deep; people will find you when searching very specific terms (with which you’ve filled thousands of pages of content). For example, “in-store analytics”.

Here’s where it get’s interesting…

3. REAL TIME — leveraging what is going on right now, this instant. It’s about creating content this very second. “And it’s more than just Twitter,” said Scott, “it’s the most fundamental change in Marketing in decades.” There are way too many people living and operating in campaign mode, which is ONE important aspect, but someone needs to be watching the here-and-now in order to achieve success today.

Here’s the good news: Haven’t we already been doing this with a little-known PR industry term — RAPID RESPONSE? Consider this “rapid response” on steroids. In addition to a fabulous news hook that you’ll contact the media with TARGETED PITCHES in relation to a story happening in the here-and-now, you will also…

1. Blog — this is where most of your inbound links will feed into. How do you fit into the breaking news? Can you add value to the story? What are your thoughts? Are they controversial or entertaining? Do you have original DATA that a reporter could fit into his story?

Include the blog post link in your pitches to the media. And please make sure it has a visual for sharing. Photos generate 4x more Facebook shares than links, and let’s face it, they look SO MUCH better on LinkedIn. I tend to skip over it if it’s just simple text. Weekday mornings are best for posts (according to Dan Zarrella @danzarrella, most are read 10am – late morning).

In fact, the HubSpot blog generates 12% of overall monthly new leads! (said Pamela Vaughan @pamelump) Don’t ignore the blog. Blogs do affect purchasing decisions.

2. Share — share the blog across social media channels. Make sure your sharing on the right channels, the ones where your target audience is conversing. Use analytics to check out where your visitors are coming from. In general, for B2B companies:

  • Twitter: YES. “Twitter is a broadcast medium with 2-way conversation built in,” said Zarrella. Tweet your real-time perspective, link to the blog, include the hashtag (see 5 Basic Components Of The Best Tweet Ever). Tweet it 3x that day. Mention a specific, RELEVANT reporter if you want them to visit the blog post. FollowerWonk is a great tool to see exactly when your followers are tweeting – make sure to send a tweet at those times. [P.S. 44% have acquired a customer through THE Twitter (!), according to Laura Fitton @pistachio.]
  • LinkedIn: YES. People on LinkedIn are educated, influential and go to LinkedIn for company news and to learn about business. It’s 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook and Twitter! Something truly awesome I learned from Will Hambly (@WillHambly), Product Manager at LinkedIn, was that you can actually put out TARGETED status updates based on various criteria. If you just want media to see your update, you can select media. Amazing.
  • Facebook: MAYBE. According to Zarrella,”Likes” spike on the weekends or from 7-8pm ET. People mostly like to share photos. For real-time B2B PR, it’s probably not the best fit.

I’ll wrap this up with another quote from Brian Kardon: “A great idea can work across social, email and live channels. Don’t forget that infographic, video and interview. Break down the silos in your marketing organization.”

Here’s to breaking down the silos and being a part of this great inbound revolution!


  1. Excellent analysis, Jennifer. I’ve been talking about this since 2004 and finally people are listening! It is such an exciting time to be in marketing *or* PR because we have so many more options to get found. Back in the day I was a VP of marketing & PR (prior to the Web) and it was freakin’ hard!! Now it is fun!!

    And good to see two of my friends mentioned Brian Halligan and Brian Kardon.

    • Thank you, David! Was so glad to be able to attend your keynote at Inbound. Thought it was the most informative preso on Marketing I’ve seen. Loved all your insights and solid examples – really brought the message home.

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