Exploring the Convergence of PR, Journalism and Marketing

Photo courtesy of Tech Cocktail

Photo courtesy of Tech Cocktail

PR practitioners used to have it easy! Remember the good ‘ol days when it was all about our media relationships and campaigns were linear, like this?

  • Step 1: Work with client on strategy; get content.
  • Step 2: Pitch content to media; get placement.

Ok, that’s simplifying things quite a bit, but you know what we mean.

Now, though, the entire landscape has changed with the explosion of the Internet, which has removed virtually all barriers to publication. Suddenly we’re responsible not only for the message, but also the mode and the medium, which follows more of a vicious cycle:

  • Step 1: Coordinate with client on strategy.
  • Step 2: Create actual content, which could be anything from case studies and white papers to blogs, eBooks, guides and all kinds of other collateral.
  • Step 3: Publish content, which runs the gamut from media placements, company blog posts, contributed articles, events and more.
  • Step 4: Promote content via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
  • Step 5: Interact with community on various platforms, reacting, responding and re-adjusting your course, as needed.
  • Step 6: Start from the beginning and do it all over again!

Software Advice‘s article on The B2B Marketing Mentor does a great job of explaining the creation and importance of this new kind of role that merges marketing, PR and journalism functions.

In an nutshell, since we now play a larger part in the production of content (journalism), we’re no longer simply pitching and promoting it (PR), but are challenged to leverage it as a strategic tool for lead generation and brand awareness (marketing).

The only problem is that, well, everyone else is doing the same thing, which means it’s pretty noisy out there as we all compete for the time and attention of our audiences.

That’s where the shift to “inbound” comes in; it’s an offshoot of content marketing that focuses on aligning content with customer interest so that they are “pulled” toward your company, rather than the old-school spray-and-pray methods.

We’ve embraced this, both in theory and in action, with our clients. In fact, we recently attending the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco and the Inbound Marketing Conference in Boston where we talked about how it’s not about being the loudest; it’s about having the right content for the right audience at the right time.

Put simply, the only way we can guarantee our clients are in the media nowadays it to help them become  the media. Content has become their new currency when attracting, engaging, converting and retaining customers.

Savvy PR professionals are embracing their status as content custodians. But the most successful ones will recognize the beauty in marketing’s ability to measure return and directly tie to their clients’ bottom line.

“Influencers Who Inspire” Interview with Marcus Sheridan

WHYphotoOur latest “Influencers Who Inspire” interview is with Marcus Sheridan, President of The Sales Lion – one of the premier inbound and content marketing companies in the world, training businesses large and small how to leverage content to build their digital brand and increase sales drastically. He is also Partner of River Pools and Spas, which is currently the most trafficked swimming pool company on the web and one of the largest fiberglass pool installers in the country. Marcus gives insight on inbound marketing and how it transformed his pool company into a leader in the industry.

If you were not in the field you are in, what career path do you think you would have chosen?

No question, I’d be coaching college football somewhere. I’ve always loved teaching, coaching, and competition, and if I thought football coaching would have allowed me enough time at home with the family, I likely would have gone that route.

But instead, I turned into a “pool guy” for about 10 years – and over the last two, have transformed again into a “marketing guy.”

The nice thing is, though, that I’m teaching and coaching businesses with this profession, and there’s some competition as well.

Can you explain inbound marketing to our audience?

I think this answer is often too wordy and it confuses people. My simple answer would be this:

The process of great digital teaching and communication to attract audiences (potential customers) to YOU versus throwing yourself at them.

How did you start your Pool and Spa business and how did inbound marketing help grow your company?

We started in 2001 out of the back of a pickup truck. We grew steadily until 2008, and then, almost what seemed like overnight, the banks crashed, real-estate values plummeted, and no one wanted to buy pools. Nor could many even afford them.

We had no money for traditional advertising so we had to choose a different route to take, which is when we learned about the power of inbound marketing and embraced the “teacher’s mentality” by answering every question we’d ever received from a customer on our company website and blog. Within about 6 months, the site’s traffic exploded, as did leads and ultimately, sales.

Inbound marketing literally saved our business and today we’re the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience as a missionary in Chile? How did that experience help shape you as an individual?

Easily, that was the best experience of my life. It taught me how to teach groups of people in a way so that they could understand unfamiliar principles. Chile was also the place I learned to speak and present to large audiences. Before that time, I was deathly afraid of public speaking. But being forced to do it helped me realize it’s actually one of the great talents God has given me, and I work hard to use it for good.

What do you envision as being the biggest development in marketing in 2013?

This may not sound terribly romantic, but I think the concept of proper content marketing will go mainstream for many businesses in this coming year. Instead of continuing to ignore it, they are now going to be dealing with the inevitable, just as they swallowed the “I have to have a website pill” about 5 years ago.

What is next for you in 2013?

Personally, my biggest quest right now is to come up with many amazing stories of successful inbound and content marketing from businesses in all walks of life. Currently, I’m targeting specific industries and can’t wait to show the world how the principles of great digital teaching and communication are applicable to any industry, regardless of what they do, sell, or think they are.

I’ll also be speaking all over the place because, well, that’s what I’m supposed to do.

“Influencers Who Inspire” with Laura Fitton (@Pistachio)

Our influencer Q&A today is with well-known inbound marketing evangelist, Laura Fitton. Laura “@Pistachio” Fitton is the founder of www.oneforty.com, founder and principal of Pistachio Consulting, co-author of “Twitter for Dummies“ and the inbound marketing evangelist at HubSpot. We had the chance to ask her some questions about her career, her passions and what 2012 has in store for her.

Who has been the most fascinating person you have ever met?

My daughter, S. How cliched is that? She is so unlike me. She is so preternaturally gentle and wise. I watch how she is with her little sister and how she “manages” me. I learn so very much from her. Fascination is actually the perfect word to describe it. Gobloads of overwhelming maternal love, but also a great deal of fascination and respect for what is amazing and special about her.

 

What do you love most about social media? What bugs you about social media?

The humans. I love the humans, deeply, even if I don’t always express it well or understand how best to make them feel good about themselves. I love trying to help people feel more excited, become more connected and try things that they might not otherwise give themselves the chance to try.

 

As a busy mom of two, how do you prioritize?

Pretty poorly, sometimes.  One thing I do well is rotate priorities over time. For example, my kids missed out on a lot of time and attention during the crunch years of oneforty.com, and they’re getting a lot more of my time and attention now that my life is in better balance. When my childcare situation blew up at the end of February, I took it as a hint from the universe to do something I’d long dreamed of. I took a temporary 20% paycut to spend Tuesdays at home with my daughters. It’s an amazing privilege to be able to do that and I’m incredibly grateful to HubSpot for the flexibility (this alone should tell you what an amazing employer they are!). My youngest starts school full time in September, so I’m squeezing every drop out of the last few “home all day” months.

I also regret to say that I threw my (romantic) personal life completely under the train during the oneforty.com years. It was what I felt I had to do at the time, but it was probably a mistake. No biggie, lesson learned. We always grow from stuff like this. I’m really enjoying the process of establishing a new social life – both new friends and potential dates – and the cool events and activities I’m going to regularly as a part of it.

 

How do you explain your career to your children?

Some stuff – mommy had a company, mommy is at HubSpot now, etc. they know in great detail. I brought them to HubSpot’s last company meeting because it fell on my “SAHM Tuesday.” Ditto for General Catalyst’s big annual networking event. They’ve been to a number of networking events because I want them to see themselves as part of the technology, business and cultural worlds from the get go. Gratitude to Halley Suitt for encouraging me to try this years ago.

Other stuff – mostly around my “visibility” (readership, press, awards, hype about me) – they have little to no idea about, and I try hard to keep it that way. One hugely proud moment was S____ blurting out “Mommy, what’s Twitter?” in a quiet moment at a MSNerd networking event, only a couple of years ago. She knew I had a book and a company, but I try to keep that weird side of my life away from my kids. She has a vague sense of it now, but she asks “Mommy, will you share this picture of me with your friends?” with no sense of what that really means.

In general we talk about it in terms they will understand and can relate to their own lives. For example, they know about YouTube because we have watched it together for years, and they have their own YouTube channel now. But, I don’t link to or promote that channel from my social media accounts partly for privacy and partly to keep it a small, quiet place for them to explore.

 

What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?

Hands down it’s my daughters. Period. End of story.

 

You have always spoken about the business potential of Twitter. Do you still feel as passionate about this?

Yes. Very much so. I guess I’m a lot quieter about it lately. The passion didn’t go anywhere though. My Webvisions Portland keynote, planned for May 17th, should make that clear.

 

Do you have any hobbies or passions?

Too too many! Ice hockey, yoga, horseback riding, rock climbing, gardening, pets (we have a cat, two dogs and four chickens!), amazing food, adventure and travel. I’m lucky to have had the chance to reconnect with almost all of that since the acquisition of oneforty last August.

I’m training to do my first race – of any kind – this summer with the Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow in July. Ten to twelve miles of running up ski slopes, dozens of “bootcamp” style obstacles and electroshocks at the end. Somehow seemed a fitting way to mark turning 40.

My biggest passion remains trying to help people and make a difference. Coming to work every day to spread the story of how inbound marketing helps businesses grow – and therefore creates jobs – ignites that core passion very much.

 

What is next for you in 2012?

The rate of on-the-job learning for me at HubSpot is just awesome. I’m so excited to help get the incredible work HubSpot and its customers are doing more widely known out in the world, because I know that it can help others to a tremendous degree.

It’s amazing to be at a company with 6500 customers and a marketing community of MILLIONS of people. It’s even more exciting to realize only a tiny fraction of that community realizes that we’re a software company. We’ve been so selfless in our marketing efforts for years that some huge number of people think we’re an agency.

As that changes, and marketers realize we’ve got this really HELPFUL all-in-one software, we can help even more businesses grow while stamping out crappy marketing. We think marketing can be this really noble profession that provides incredible value to those who receive marketing messages. That’s the wave of the future – selfish marketing perishes and marketing that people love helps businesses thrive.

 

 

Influencers Who Inspire: Hubspot’s Mike Volpe

Just a little over a year ago, Christine Perkett won a guest spot on Hubspot TV with Mike Volpe.  Christine received 40% of the vote and had the privilege of guest hosting with Mike live from their Cambridge, MA offices.  We’ve always had a huge appreciation for Mike here at PerkettPR, and appreciated him welcoming Christine so warmly and making her guest spot a really fun and rewarding experience. We were psyched he agreed to do an interview for our blog and to be a part of our Influencers who Inspire series.

Mike is the Chief Marketing Officer of HubSpot. He joined in early 2007 as the company’s fifth employee  and currently serves as Chief Marketing Officer.  He heads  HubSpot’s lead generation and branding strategy through inbound marketing, including blogging, search engine optimization, video marketing, and social  media.  Since Mike joined HubSpot, the company has  grown from 10 to 5,000 customers, expanded from five to 300 employees, and raised $65 million in venture capital.  Under Mike’s leadership, HubSpot’s marketing  has won more than 30 marketing awards and has been featured in over 20 marketing  and business books.  Mike is a cutting-edge B2B inbound marketer who speaks at  numerous conferences, hosts a weekly live marketing video podcast on HubSpot TV, is one of the 100 most popular marketers on  Twitter, consistently posts on blog.hubspot.com, and appears as  a marketing speaker at  industry conferences.  He has also guest lectured at Harvard Business School,  Babson University, Carnegie Mellon, TCU, Boston University, and MIT Sloan School of Management.

 

You wear many hats at HubSpot. How do you manage it all?

The truth is that I don’t manage it at all.  I have a great team.  At this point in our growth, there is little I can do as one person directly that has a huge impact.  The impact I can have is by setting the right strategy and playbook, making sure we have the right people on the team, and mentoring the team members to help them grow.

 

What do you love about your role at Hubspot? Anything you dislike about your role or would like to change?

I love marketing.  Call me a marketing geek, but I love thinking about marketing problems and talking about marketing.  Doing marketing at HubSpot is like a triple dose of marketing because we’re marketing our marketing software to marketers.  There isn’t much I would change – I’d love it if we had a gym in the office or had a chef cater our meals, both of which we are considering for our next space.

 

If you could golf with anyone in particular (celebrity or athlete), who would it be and who would win?

I love to golf, and Tiger Woods is the natural choice because his raw talent is a level above everyone else.  But I don’t think it would be much fun to play a round with him, it would be too intense and he’d probably get really frustrated with me really fast, and it just would not be fun.  So I’ll go with Bill Murray.  He is a good golfer and hilarious - nothing could be more fun than to play 18 with him.

 

What topics do you enjoy speaking about the most?

Is there something to speak about besides marketing?  I actually don’t speak a lot anymore, but when I do, I prefer to speak about my own experiences in marketing.  That is what I know best and I usually hate it when some “guru” is up on stage talking about marketing, yet they have not worked in marketing at a real company in years.

 

What is next for you in 2012? And, for HubSpot?

In 2011 my wife and I had our first child, sold our condo in the city, moved to the suburbs after we renovated a house, hired a nanny and my wife went back to work.  So we’re looking to have a less hectic year in 2012.

For HubSpot though, I think 2012 will be a huge year where a lot of the groundwork we have done over the past couple of years starts to pay off in a big way.  I am more positive about the next 12 months than I have ever been in the history of the company.  There are so many things to be excited about, most of which are not ready for prime time yet.  All I will say is make sure to join us at Inbound 2012 for an amazing event and some big announcements.

 

Persuasive Picks for the week of 11/15/2010

How the Fortune 500 Uses Social Media
Entrepreneur magazine columnist & contributing writer, Mikal E. Belicove highlights the results of a recent report on social from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

The Real Power of Inbound Marketing
Jay Ehret from The Marketing Spot gives a brief breakdown of Inbound Marketing and shares its importance through a story of personal experience with his own business.

Social Media Responisibility
Mike Myatt shares a truly scary story about social media’s frighteningly blurred lines when it comes to online/virtual behavior versus living responsibly in the real world.

9 Must Have Gadgets for Social Media Nuts
Adam Mills provides some helpful holiday gift giving suggestions for that social media addict in your life, in this post on TheNextWeb.com.

Social Media and Blogging: The Common Sense Approach
Chris Crum shares highlights of an interview with Unmarketing author Scott Stratten, conducted during this year’s Blogworld Conference, in this post on WebProNews. The full interview is included here: