Inbound Marketing Derives From Traditional PR Practices

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Practices like content marketing, search engine optimization and social go back to PR tactics that have been around forever. Consider topical stories, media outreach and thought leadership. These traditional PR tactics are now being used online in the forms of newsjacking, site outreach and authorship.


News-jacking used to be called “pitching a topical story.” For decades, PR firms have kept pitches on the shelf, so to speak, that they would pull out around the holidays. (We call these “seasonal pitches.”) Any time there were news that related to a client, you could find an angle on it and pitch that to your network. When we talk about news-jacking, the only real difference is that we’re executing this super fast and doing so online.

Site Outreach

Media outreach is a core tactic that public relations people practice. We form relationships with members of the media, analysts and other influencers and provide them ideas. We have relationships with them that hopefully lead to coverage and online visibility for our clients.

This can be likened to modern day site outreach. At one time we only used databases like Vocus or Cision to reach people working in the media. Now we’re also using tools that help us find people on social media who are considered to have authority on particular subject matters. We can then interact with them and build relationships online.


Thought leadership used to only happen when PR professionals worked to secure coverage such as client bylines in credible sources, mentions in industry news and interviews in publications. This still happens and is an integral part of strategy. But, now we have Google wanting to do the same thing online. That’s why we have authorship.

Traditional PR has gatekeepers to keep anonymous, low-quality content out of publications. But with the rise of brands and organizations creating their own publications through blogging websites, people are able to publish anything regardless of its quality. That’s why we are seeing anonymous content written by people who aren’t experts on the topic. Some content may even be plagiarized. Google, of course, doesn’t like this because it ruins, or certainly diminishes, the search experience. The change is search engine algorithms we’re seeing is a direct result of this type of poor content creation and distribution.

As an agency, we don’t start a company blog for a client until we have identified the internal thought leaders who are going to be associated with that content. We then have to optimize their Google+ profiles so we can start building online authorship.

I’ve made the case that for those who think PR is outdated or in danger, that PR is the danger. This is because everything we’re doing today to establish awareness and credibility within our markets derives from traditional PR practices. If you fail to realize the importance of PR in your inbound marketing strategy, you will always be lagging behind and trying to catch up. You’ll never truly understand where trends originate and where they’re going next.

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