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Inbound PR: The PR Agency's Manual to Transforming Your Business With Inbound Hardcover – 29 May 2018
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From the Inside Flap
Once upon a time, public relations departments and agencies had no way to effectively tell their clients' stories other than through the mainstream media. Journalists, editors, and analysts were ultimately the mouthpieces for every PR campaign. Then came the age of digital disruption and now PR professionals can take full control over their messages, deliver them directly to the intended audiences, and accurately quantify the return on investment. Inbound PR tells the story of how inbound marketing can refresh, expand, and optimize PR for today's connected world.
Written by a global thought leader at HubSpot, the pioneering software company behind inbound marketing, Iliyana Stareva applies her expertise for growing businesses with inbound marketing to PR in an innovative methodology that both grows your PR business and your network of engaged media contacts. This step-by-step road map to amplifying your PR influence to standout levels gives you practical guidance on using the attention-grabbing content you already produce to raise awareness, generate leads, and delight them into followers.
The secret to this game-changing approach is measuring results. Forget about advertising value equivalents that only measure cost, and start calculating the meaningful bottom-line returns your work generates in the four major types of media with a turnkey framework. Specifically written for everyone in the day-to-day mechanisms of PR and especially agency owners, this custom-fit guidebook enables you to embrace metrics and put analytics at the center of your campaigns and organization so that you can make the highly informed, data-based decisions that give state-of-the-art leaders a competitive advantage.
This go-to resource makes transforming your business into an inbound PR agency simple and profitable by giving you:
- A proven, seven-step process for writing the best positioning strategy for your agency and practical advice on defining and packaging Inbound PR services into a twelve-month retainer
- Detailed systems for taking an inbound approach to media relations, including creating a robust online newsroom specifically for journalists, bloggers, producers, etc.
- Actionable guidance for working every step of the inbound process, from attracting leads into your sales funnel, nurturing them, and finally retaining a new client
Stop pushing your message and chasing clients by attracting them all to your brand with Inbound PR.
From the Back Cover
PRAISE FOR INBOUND PR
"In her Inbound PR book, Iliyana nails the fundamental shifts happening in the PR industry and sets the standard for the PR agency of the future." --BRIAN HALLIGAN, CEO and founder, HubSpot
"Iliyana Stareva shares her modern #InboundPR model for attracting and engaging prospects as part of a sales or marketing campaign. It can be applied equally to consumer or business-to-business campaigns, and organizations large and small. I first met Iliyana in Dublin in October 2015. I sought her out after reading her blog about this innovative approach to public relations. I'm delighted that she has developed it into a book. Make sure that you add it to your reading list." --STEPHEN WADDINGTON, partner and chief engagement officer, Ketchum; visiting professor, Newcastle University
"The PR industry is ripe for disruption. It wasn't all that long ago that the web forced us to reinvent ourselves. It's time again. International PR organizations have called for the death of metrics that don't make business sense, such as media impressions and advertising equivalencies. Smart business leaders have called for metrics, as they relate to real organizational growth. We've been able to add tactics, such as owned and shared media that allow us to prove we are an investment, not an expense, and that we do drive revenue. Yet, because we hate numbers, we have a difficult time drawing the correlation between our work and sales numbers. What Iliyana Stareva preaches with Inbound PR will get us there. Not only is it something we define, highlight, and amplify, it allows for the all-encompassing return-on-investment. As you traverse this book, keep a notebook at your side and outline your plan. By the time you finish, you'll have an Inbound PR program that is effective, efficient, and measurable." --GINI DIETRICH, CEO of Arment Dietrich; founder and author of Spin Sucks
"As a PR Agency, you need to choose between playing it safe with the status quo, or doubling down on your own business and seeing it grow. The Inbound PR book will give you real-world practical advice to allow you to ensure your digital campaigns deliver ROI and promote the success of your agency by covering positioning, closing, and measuring ROI." --KATE WALSH, VP of Global Partner Services, HubSpot
"Iliyana Stareva's thought leadership and understanding are phenomenal. Inbound PR can shape the way consumers interact with what they see, hear and read, empowering the individual to make well-informed opinions whilst creating interesting substance. Iliyana is at the forefront of the industry and appreciates its depths and power. It's amazing how the optimization of digital functions such as SEO and content-rich online material can build an epicenter of media excitement. With all the international work we do at Curzon, we have found Inbound PR to be the most effective and strategic method of communications. This book, is yet again, another articulate display of Iliyana's expertise and insights and leads the way in educating us all on the power of digital marketing and communications." --FARZANA BADUEL, founder and CEO of Curzon PRSee all Product description
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However, the delivery of this premise is vastly over-simplified, preachy, grating and speaks to a huge void of experience on the behalf of the author. This book made me shake with rage and frustration within minutes of picking it up.
Iliyana focuses on how a) PR’s should be doing more with their good content and b) that they should be using the discipline of inbound marketing (i.e. creating ‘killer content’ that is appropriate to your commercial audience at their various stages of the purchasing lifecycle) to also attract traditional media (among others). It’s a good, solid idea, but she really overdoes it on de-positioning how modern PR agencies function today.
I’d like to think it’s just a lack of experience, but it is also in her interest to discredit PR agencies. In chapter four, she says 'media articles are, at 47%, the number one source after word-of-mouth that influencers consumer behaviour'. This means that she needs to show that her way / the inbound way is better.
The theory behind inbound is that if people are sufficiently interested and your content is sufficiently good, they'll find it, engage with it and ultimately turn into customers. Hubspot, Eloqua and more have made a killing on this.
Iliyana positions Inbound as the new saviour of PR. She puts forward that PR’s ‘suck at measurement’ (her words), that they fail to ‘PR’ themselves, that they ‘missed the boat’ on social media, and that ‘outbound’ PR is interruptive and irrelevant. None of these things are true.
Measuring the impact of traditional, offline PR in a way comparable to digital means is hard. Many PR agencies do promote themselves well – well enough, it seems, to be quoted in Iliyana’s book. Many PR agencies do social media. Traditional PR is not interruptive – people choose to read news publications, then come across articles written by or placed by PR staff. Traditional PR may be interruptive to journalists, but it can also be a working, consultative, mutually rewarding relationship – given how small editorial teams are these days, many journalists are thankful for good PRs!
Similarly, Iliyana over-estimates how easy it is to do ‘outbound PR’. Her thinking is that you should “Position yourself as an expert and thought leader, so the media will seek out your opinion and come to you”. This is possible, but it’s also incredibly difficult, and the recommendation is delivered in such a glib fashion that it simply sounds grating. Excellent content is incredibly hard to create and harder still to get reporters to read. Today there are fewer and fewer reporters with less and less time for research – and Iliyana talks about using gated content (content that you have to put in your name and email address to reach) – but there are very, very few reporters who will do this.
Of course, it is most effective to reach reporters through a variety of channels, and you should build up good content to show how smart you are, but this doesn't mean the 'old school' way of talking to reporters doesn't work – but she positions anything to do with ‘old school’ PR as dead and buried.
Similarly, Iliyana’s view of using the inbound sales funnel (attract, convert, close, delight) for PR is interesting, but vastly over-simplified – it’s a model, and few models work exactly as they are put out! She does have a lot of good ideas about amplifying PR results, re-using results, re-marketing, which can inspire a lot of positive thinking and evolution of ideas. But she sets up inbound to be a saviour that it just isn't - it's just another part of the marketing mix with some good ideas.
The book makes good points about being online - if you're not online, you don't really exist, and why SEO is important in terms of being found online. But then Iliyana sprinkles in things like "PR practitioners simply draft press releases and email them to their entire media list ... there were 1,092 press releases being sent every day - barely anyone clicks on them or reads them because they are not targeted." This is simply untrue. Good PR agencies will target the right journalists and get results from their press releases, often talking to the reporters in question first and understanding them.
She goes on to say "admittedly, the majority of PR agencies still only do media relations" – again, not true.
The core premise of the book is sound and interesting – I’m just not sure why such a damning and unrealistic presentation of PR was necessary to put it forward. At best, it comes across as naïve and over-simplistic. At worst, she’s building dramatic tension for its own sake and her own benefit (i.e. to sell this book and her approach) – but to anyone who has worked in the industry, it’s irritating and wildly inaccurate. Approach with care.
This book at least is well written and it does make sense to marry the inbound and PR as she suggests and the book is logically and clearly built up and the chapters are titled to make sense so you can dive in and out where required. Of course in order to fully grasp the author's intentions, you'll have to read from cover to cover.
A thankfully not too jargon-pestered book with a clear structure and message - even if you might have read a fair few of the bits before under a different name.