The first time I encountered the term “Inbound Marketing,” I was interning for a combo marketing/PR team that was looking to draw in customers. At this time, I was a little unsure of whether it was a PR or marketing tool (or both!), but I tried to pay attention to how they intended to use it.
The second time I heard about inbound, I was in the introductory meeting for our chapter of PRSSA, and, though it was mentioned shortly, I still took notice.
Then, in my Principles and Practices of PR class, inbound marketing came up again. The third time was the charm for me, and I decided to look into it more and to learn how inbound could benefit PR professionals.
So what is this “inbound marketing” thing? Inbound marketing is when you draw your audience in and get them to voluntarily provide you with information, so you can better tailor your campaign to them.
For example, you’re on a website for a clothing store, and you provide your email to receive newsletters on seasonal trends. By voluntarily giving the clothing company this information about yourself, they can then tailor the content they send you using various inbound tactics beginning with receiving your email address. Inbound marketing helps the company ensure they’re sending you relevant and more personal content. In other words, it’s an attempt to make marketing tactics less “spammy.”
How does this apply to PR professionals? Rachel Sprung, a member of the Customer Demand Team for Hubspot (a company full of inbound marketing masterminds), suggests that inbound marketing could help PR professionals think outside the box.
“When they are creating PR campaigns, they need to think of what would be the most relevant and helpful to their audience,” Sprung says. “The way the world learns about new companies has changed, and inbound marketing is the solution for marketers [and PR professionals] to continue to effectively do their jobs.”
So it’s not just for marketers! Inbound offers a whole new mode of communicating with publics and driving campaigns. Maybe inbound marketing is the tool we need to effectively target our audiences in this age of new media. I’m definitely excited to see how it evolves and how PR professionals can take advantage of this new technique.