Most marketers recognize the value of inbound marketing as a key component of their overall marketing strategy. One important element of inbound marketing is what marketing firm Austin Lawrence Group calls inbound journalism. It’s not the oxymoron that it seems!
Similar to brand journalism, inbound journalism delivers a compelling story, but it can also present thought leadership in a way that inspires dialog between your brand and your customers. Inbound journalism adds loads of value to an inbound marketing strategy for a few reasons:
- It establishes your brand as an expert on a topic, which builds trust.
- It allows people to get to know your company better.
- It solidifies your company’s identity, which can drive business value.
- It generates and nurtures leads.
- It gives you another way to measure ROI.
General Electric provides information to its customers through GE Reports, a good example of inbound journalism used to build brand recognition.
Tech giant Cisco created a subsite around “The Internet of Everything” to “bring together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.” The Internet of Everything combines video, articles, and study findings to explain IoE’s impact over the next decade. It establishes a strong leadership position for Cisco in the ever-expanding Internet of Things arena.
In addition to content on your own website, LinkedIn Pulse provides another avenue to share inbound journalism. Galileo Tech Media CEO Joseph McElroy recently published his opinions on how growth hacking can accelerate inbound marketing. See, we walk our talk!
How to incorporate inbound journalism into your toolbox
Inbound journalism can be the most valuable tool in your arsenal if you know how to use it. Here are a few pointers:
In its white paper on inbound journalism, Austin Lawrence writes that lead generation is its primary objective. “An inbound journalism strategy must be revenue positive to have a long and productive life,” the report says. The beauty of online content is its measurability. Take full advantage of the data available to generate and nurture leads. Use SEO and analytics to determine your strategy and measure the content’s performance.
Work with your sales team
Don’t leave the sales team out in the cold. Work with them to determine what type of content to create and how it can best perform. The content team can customize content around a particular product line; or, the two teams can coordinate their message to improve brand perception.
Articles and videos can inspire dialog with your customers. Ask questions. Create polls. And by all means, share your content on social media and respond to comments. In our sharing economy, customers expect two-way communication with brands.
Think like a publisher
You won’t get much benefit from throwing up articles at random. Create an editorial calendar for topics and scheduling. Articles should focus on different subjects and messages but all tie in to one cohesive, coherent brand story. Create a publishing schedule and deadlines. Journalists live by deadlines.
Inbound journalism combines the objectivity and research-driven reporting of your favorite newspaper or magazine article with a savvy marketing strategy and message. Incorporate it toolbox for powerful results.
What are your favorite inbound content strategies? Share your thoughts in the comments below.