For decades measuring the return on investment (ROI) of public relations (PR) efforts have proven challenging as a means to do so accurately simply did not exist. Inbound PR aims to challenge this by bringing PR efforts (such as content creation and media relations) and inbound digital marketing together.
By bringing these two together, a company decreases PR’s biggest weakness – which is measurement – and reduces inbound digital marketing’s weakness which is content creation. Traditional PR is outbound and emphasises achieving media coverage whereas now the company’s website is the most important aspect of the company.
Public Relations in a company
PR becomes one of many tools by which to create media coverage. The media coverage is not, however, the main goal anymore. The aim is now to streamline traffic to the website via the said media coverage. The practice is not limited to PR efforts only but also includes different marketing efforts such as paid advertising, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media marketing and email advertising.
The PR industry is still grappling with this idea, but a mindset change is necessary as times are changing. Nowadays, PR encompasses much more than just traditional media coverage but all types of media in the PESO model to guide traffic to the company’s website. These are paid, earned, shared and owned media. Paid methods of PR are bought advertisements, earned are free or low-cost publicity, shared are strategic partnerships and owned are content the company creates and publishes on their available channels.
Measuring PR efforts is now possible
The aim of Inbound PR is to drive traffic to the company’s website and by using simple analytical programs such as Google Analytics and social media analytics, PR practitioners can pinpoint what their reach is for different content. These are, for example:
- The website’s bounce rate (how long someone was active on the website),
- Conversion rates (how many sales were generated by means of digital marketing efforts),
- User experience,
- Referral links (links to your website from other online media such as blogs or news websites) and so much more.
To do inbound PR firstly requires a well-built website with a neat blog page. Companies also need to ensure their social media pages are up to date and spotless. Follow social media influencers and journalists on social media to pinpoint what type of content they will share. Also be sure to have a competent writer to create sound copy for your Inbound PR efforts. All content must be factual, true and relevant or it simply won’t make the cut and be published or consumed by audiences.
Content in Inbound PR efforts must add value to the reader, or it will be lost in aggressive search engine and social media algorithms. Picture a small robot scrutinising your content to determine the value you add to the reader. The thought is daunting, but if your PESO-aimed media is true to the company, honest and created by professional writers to add value to readers, your analytics report will be in your favour.