Categories: Content Marketing

Is This a PR Job, or…? Rethinking Today’s Inbound Marketing Mix

Categories: Content Marketing

Is This a PR Job, or…? Rethinking Today’s Inbound Marketing Mix

Aug 28, 2014

If you talk to a PR pro, a content marketer or a social media manager about inbound marketing, you’ll find that each has a point-of-view on the work of the other, generally based on the continually blurred lines of their respective positions. Social, content and PR jobs are becoming harder and harder to distinguish from one another. Pros in these fields all want a piece of the other, but in many cases, they are not willing to give anything up. Today, more than ever before, marketers encounter discussions about how all three disciplines are merging and how PR should be included within the inbound marketing mix.

Parallels Between Social, Content, and PR Jobs

If we look at the similarities within each discipline we quickly see the crossovers and begin to accept that maybe, just maybe, the PR job is not terribly different from a social media or content marketing job.

  • Topline definition: At their core, all 3 are storytelling disciplines.
  • Goals: All 3 aim to garnerbrand impressions and drive traffic.
  • Channel: All 3 require 3rd party validation and interest in your story to work (PR = journalist/blog, social = fans sharing, content = search engines and fans and journalists).
  • Skill Sets: All 3 are impossible if you don’t have writing and communication skills.
  • Measurement: All 3, if done properly, are highly analytical and require close monitoring in order to iterate successfully.

With all 3 having so much in common, why is PR often thought of as falling outside of traditional inbound marketing?

What is Inbound Marketing and how is it Related to my Social, Content or PR Job?

Hubspot does a fantastic job describing inbound marketing, which is good since they sell inbound marketing software. In their “What is Inbound Marketing” Slideshare presentation they describe inbound marketing as “a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing that attracts individuals to your brand and converts them into lasting customers.” They explain that inbound marketing is all about content and context, and the goal is to create the right content, for the right people at the right time.

For the digital marketers reading this, inbound marketing is nothing new. What is new is how we are putting inbound marketing into in practice within our own organizations. For years, marketing has been separating inbound marketing from PR in organization structure diagrams. However, in practice, we are regularly asking our PR pros to be inbound marketers. In many cases we’ve mistakenly failed to realize that the lines between inbound, content, social, PR, etc. have blurred.

Impact and Long Term PR Job Prediction

This is not to suggest that PR jobs will go away, as a matter of fact, they are popping up all the time. As reported by Pew Research Center, there are five times more PR pros than there are journalists, and the delta is widening.

On one hand, part of the delta is due to declining print media jobs and shrinking news teams. On the other side of the spectrum, there are a growing number of PR jobs based on the ever expanding expectations of a PR pro. They go on to say, “One factor behind the increase in public relations jobs has been digital technology. Agencies and companies are now able to reach out directly to the public in any number of ways and are hiring public relations specialists to help them do so…”

This is good news for PR pros; it means their ever expanding, content marketing based, job skills are needed beyond the old-school PR expectations. No longer are they being pigeonholed as “the team that writes press releases.” With this evolution, PR pros are being utilized in new ways and will expand their worth through the organization. Their skills are being recognized as valuable across nearly every aspect of the top-of-funnel inbound marketing mix.

Party on PR pros; you’re well suited for a bright future within the inbound marketing mix, and possibly on track to a bit of an identity crisis…

Author’s note: this is an abbreviated version of a more in depth article published on LinkedIn. To read more, click here.

Marc Cowlin @mcowlin
Contributor Bio: Marc Cowlin is a content marketer with a proven track record of driving buzz, traffic and conversion through top-of-funnel marketing (Public Relations, Social Media, Blogging). With nearly 15 years of in-house brand experience with companies such as Birkenstock and, Marc offers a unique perspective on the convergence of content with PR, social media and digital marketing. These days Marc leads content marketing for Thismoment.
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