Sometimes changes in business are so profound that you don’t recognize the old ways. That’s the case with B2B PR, which on some level is a new profession. Yet, viewed from another lens, certain basic truths remain.
As we look across the B2B PR landscape, what are the best practices that will ensure success? Let’s look at 7 definitive best practices that are guaranteed to help:
- Goal Setting
- Content Optimization
- Social Media Amplification
- Influencer Marketing
- Measure and Readjust
What Are the Best Practices in B2B Public Relations, and How to Use Them Effectively
1. Set Clear, Attainable Goals
Setting goals is nothing new, but nonetheless, it’s essential to success — whether we’re talking about 10 years ago or today. How will you know if you’ve succeeded unless you have clear objectives from the start? They help you to map your progress, see what needs to change, and keeps you on track.
What goals would you like to reach with your B2B public relations? These could include:
- Boost Brand Awareness
- Generate and Nurture Leads
- Establish Thought Leadership
- Secure Key Media Placements
- Establish a Solid Reputation
The goals you choose will determine your tactics going forward. For example, if your goal is to build awareness, then determine what people you want to reach and the best way to do so. This could be anything from media relations, to content marketing, to social media, to awards, to speaking engagements, to webinars…you get the idea.
The key is to understand what tactics will be most effective. You can only know that by analyzing your prospects. Ignore that, and you will be unfocused and ineffective. Take the same strategic approach with all of your goals.
2. Educate Your Audience with High Quality Content
Part of effective PR comes down to education. B2B buyers have strayed away from the traditional buyer’s journey. In fact, 94% of B2B buyers do their own research before making a purchase decision. The takeaway? For successful B2B public relations, you should make your website the go-to destination for information in your industry.
Your goal should be to craft blog posts and other content that will answer every possible question your readers could have. Consult with your sales team to find out what questions they receive in their daily communications with prospective buyers, and leverage those questions in your content. This kind of content will establish your credibility and reliability within your industry. When your audience is ready to make a purchase decision, you will more likely be top of mind.
While the educational quality of your content is most important, it will also help you to produce content in a variety of formats that satisfy a range of reading preferences. Your content formats could include:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Case studies
Having a variety of content like this can be helpful in reaching prospects at every stage of the buyer’s journey — whether they’re browsing for information, or seriously looking to do business.
3. Optimize All of Your Content
You might have the best and most educational content, but if it’s not optimized for search engines, you’re missing out on a big chunk of potential readers. With a basic knowledge of SEO, and a little effort, your content can show up in organic search results. This will lead more people to your content, and increase your brand awareness.
While short-tail keywords may be easier to write about, there is much more competition to rank for these keywords. Instead, strive for long-tail keywords — perhaps a specific question that people often ask — that has less competition, and will place you higher in Google.
4. Spread Your Message on Social Media
B2B public relations has changed tremendously thanks to social media. Nowadays, you can connect and chat with reporters, send out press releases, and engage with clients all from Twitter or LinkedIn.
One of the main goals of PR is visibility, and social media is a helpful tool to get you there. You can attract more leads to your website by distributing your original content on your social networks. Especially on Twitter, labelling your content with hashtags can help more people to search for and find your content.
There are huge differences between the various social networks, and savvy entrepreneurs understand which ones are best suited for their business and style. –Mike Allton
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5. Bring In Influencers
Influencer marketing has blown up in recent years, and for good reason. More and more people are distrustful of brands in general, and are more likely to follow advice from a trusted source. Influencers have gained the trust of their audience. You can leverage that trust by working with influencers that believe in your product.
Start off by engaging with influencers in your industry over social media. Observe them at first to see what content interests them, and how they engage with their audience. Then start to engage with them — comment on and share their posts, and start conversations with them. Once you’ve built a relationship, you can approach them about working with your company in an influential capacity.
6. Implement Storytelling in Your Press Releases
While some believe that press releases have ceremoniously met their finish, we argue that press releases just need to be adapted for the modern, journalistic world.
With news outlets continually scaling back, and journalists under a crunch to find a great story, press releases need to get to the point, and pique a journalist’s interest. One key way that has emerged recently is storytelling. PR professionals are throwing out the rigid — ahem, boring — press release rule book that was commonly used, and creating stories that grip journalists from the first line. A good press release is brief, impactful, and includes visuals.
Stories have the potential to move us to tears, change our attitudes, opinions and behaviors, and can even change our brains. –Kim Garst
7. Measure Your Results, and Readjust When Needed
Sometimes metrics can mean all the difference to the success of your PR. Why? With the large volume of content and ads available across the internet, audiences are more selective than ever of their content. It takes time to find the right blend of content that will resonate with your brand’s audience.
New technology developments mean that you can measure virtually every aspect of your PR — from how many click-throughs you get to your landing pages, to how many likes and shares your social media posts receive. This allows you to see what is successful, and what parts of your B2B public relations would benefit from a slight tweak or replacement.
Whether you use a free program like Google Analytics or a paid program like Trendkite, it is imperative to measure what you are doing.
Key Points to Remember…
- Create educational content that answers real questions that your audience has.
- Embrace social media, and post original content that leads people back to your site.
- Update your press release best practices with storytelling.
- Measure your results, and be ready to adapt your approach when metrics show a need.
B2B PR is a large investment of time and energy. Make that investment count by adapting your approach when needed. Now that you know what are the best practices in B2B public relations, go out and embrace these changes.