A B2B pr strategy has a lot in common with a B2C PR strategy. The key difference lies in your target audience. A PR or marketing strategy specifically targeting a business is very different from one that targets consumers.
The goal of B2C PR is generally to increase awareness of your brand, while the goal of a B2B PR strategy will be based on building trust. This is why an entirely different strategy is required.
Here are 10 essential components you should have in your pr toolkit before you begin:
Assessing your target audience
The purchasing decisions involved with B2B are much more complicated than most consumer purchases. Your B2B public relations campaign will need to target research-led buyers. These buyers are the ones who make purchasing decisions for an entire company and not just individual consumers.
B2B companies have to expand to utilise multiple channels, including business and trade publications, to increase their reach. Your strategy, therefore, needs to be tailored to the correct buyers and decision-makers.
While you can’t get to know and please everyone, you can create helpful buyer personas that represent your customers. These buyer personas will help you appeal directly to your client’s needs, interests, and pain points.
Clearly define your goals
Successful marketing and PR campaigns are always built around clearly defined goals and objectives. Perhaps you want to raise your profile, or increase your enquiries or generate more media coverage. Whatever the long-term ambition, it’s important to build your strategy around it.
These longer-term ambitions would be your goals or the end destination for your campaign. Your objectives, however, are the small bridges you need to cross in order to get there.
The SMART method
When writing out your objectives, ask yourself whether you are setting SMART goals. PR professionals use the SMART method to shape their campaign activity and ensure objectives are attainable. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
A good example of a goal would be to increase media coverage of your new software system. A SMART goal would be to include an exact increase of 10% over a six-month period. Each of the SMART parameters has been met, and you have a clear timeframe for your objective.
Optimise your content creation
Content optimisation is an increasingly important strategy in public relations. The world of PR is constantly evolving. As new digital channels emerge, the way we communicate needs to evolve also.
Both content marketing and PR focus on consistent, brand-aligned storytelling that attracts and retains target audiences. While they both require communication skills, PR is centred on managing perceptions to advance your brand.
When you create content on a consistent basis, you can increase your reach on search engines and increase website traffic. This will help you get your organisation in front of the right target audiences.
Paid media and earned media coverage
Securing B2B coverage is a simple concept, but one that requires professional execution. In the early days, a public relations campaign for most companies would involve blindly pitching reporters to obtain press coverage.
These days, there are multiple ways to publish content and achieve the maximum impact for your company. Well-rounded PR and marketing campaigns involve tactics that utilise both earned and paid media.
Earned media is free publicity. It’s when someone shares news about your brand voluntarily. They could do this by sharing a press release or blog post on social media, for example.
Paid media has evolved from traditional advertising, and is an absolutely necessity for PR.
Setting yourself apart as a thought leader is a powerful PR strategy. Especially if there is something about your industry that you feel isn’t known by enough people. In this case, you may be sitting on a public relations gold mine without even knowing it.
When thought leaders are considered reputable sources of information, they can power engagement, fuel media coverage and raise brand awareness.
While driving a thought leadership strategy takes consistent work, it can pay off massively. In fact, thought leadership significantly influences brand perception and business-to-business buying behaviours.
Amplification on social media outlets
The applications of social media for marketing and PR purposes have grown exponentially over the last few years. If you aren’t utilising social media as part of your marketing and PR strategy, you’re missing out.
More B2B decision-makers are using social media than ever before, and it’s an increasingly effective strategy. A recent study found that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, 13% on Twitter and 7% on Facebook.
Failure to identify key stakeholders is one of the most common reasons a project gets derailed. Stakeholder mapping is a good way to stop this.
Stakeholder mapping involves visualising and categorising your key stakeholders so that you can monitor and anticipate their needs. It’s important to get buy-in from the get-go. This is why stakeholder mapping should be a key component of your B2B PR strategy.
Analysing your competitors is an important part of creating a B2B PR strategy. A B2B competitive analysis simply refers to the process of assessing your company in comparison to one or more competitors. This gives you valuable information that you can use to your advantage.
The objective of B2B competitive analysis is to identify any threats, weaknesses and opportunities. In the case of PR campaigns, your analysis should be based on the communication activities of key market players.
Six steps of competitive analysis
Analysing your competitors can provide a great insight into industry trends, communication avenues, and direct audience engagement. There are usually five or six steps to performing a competitor analysis for your business:
1. Determine who your competitors are.
2. Determine what they offer.
3. Research their sales tactics and results.
4. Take a look at their pricing and any perks they offer.
5. Take note of their content and PR strategy.
6. Perform a SWOT analysis.
A SWOT analysis is simply an acronym that refers to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your business. Once you understand a little more about these measurements, you can begin to build a strong PR strategy.
Using SEO and Google news
SEO can play a huge role in your digital PR strategy. Studies show that the number one result on Google gets more than 30% of all clicks. Therefore, ranking highly on Google will generate more traffic and highlight anything newsworthy that relates to your company.
With its recent update, PR firms are leveraging Google news for its increasing placement opportunities. The top stories carousel at the top of the SERP features the most relevant news articles to the search.
As long as your article contains factors determined beneficial by the algorithm, it will be placed at the very top. This makes it more likely you’ll be able to generate content that will get in front of your target market.
Understanding the positive impact of your pr campaign is fundamental to future B2B PR strategies. Measuring your campaign will assess the results of your efforts, and improve your future offering. It will also provide a detailed picture of what your target audience wants to see.
There are a variety of ways to measure your campaign’s success. These include using a media monitoring tool, tracking metrics across social media and monitoring brand mentions. Having a predetermined goal in mind will help you understand the sorts of KPIs you’ll be tracking.
Contact us for an informal chat, and find out how we can help you generate media coverage for your B2B business.