Like with all digital marketing, the notion of PR is always changing with the times. 10 or 15 years ago, you could simply define it as press coverage. Often the engine that drove PR came in press release form. Press agents would draft these releases and send them out into the world in the hope of drumming up anticipation and enthusiasm for a business, product, or event.
Today, the reality of PR is a bit more complex. Just like we live in a multi-channel marketing world, we also live in a world where there are various ways to shape the image of an organization, brand, or individual. Just as digital marketing is multi-faceted, you could say the same for PR. You could even say that, in today’s world, PR encompasses everything. So, is it necessary for your B2B company to engage in public relations? Absolutely!
Below we lay out the reasons why your B2B operation should have a robust PR strategy.
PR helps SEO
If you’re a B2B operation dealing in IT solutions, for example, you might wonder how an idea as antiquated as old media can play a role in modern digital marketing tactics like SEO. But publicity is publicity, be it in the digital or analog world. For example, employing backlinking strategies and utilizing authoritative press sites, be it Forbes or Wired or Maximum PC, is only going to help your brand rank higher in SERPs and ultimately reach a wider audience through media.
It integrates with your content calendar
PR can augment your marketing initiatives nicely by integrating with your content calendar. When done right, these two efforts should merge seamlessly. Your marketing team likely has a content calendar in place to keep track of blog posts, white papers and other content (and if they don’t, they really should). Likely your team is creating content based on popular search topics at any given time, and you should be leveraging this in your PR efforts to ensure consistency and give your content the best possible exposure.
With that being said, consider that there are authoritative publications that have an editorial calendar detailing content they are going to publish and topics they would like to cover. A basic publication relations tactic is to find a publication’s editorial calendar (either through the publication’s ad department or their media kit), and pitch them content that they already happen to be looking for.
So not only can you keep your SEO goals in sharp focus with a content calendar, but, by incorporating PR, you can also reach even more digital publications and websites. All of this serves the purpose to maximize your brand recognition.
PR and influencer marketing go hand in hand
Influencer marketing is a hot topic these days because it gets to the heart of marketing in the 21st century: today’s generation values peer recommendations over traditional advertising. Some statistics place influencer marketing as delivering 11 times higher ROI than other forms of digital marketing. But many companies stumble in figuring out how exactly to leverage it or how to find the right influencers for their brand.
A PR pro can seek out ideal influencers on specific topics to find out who is driving the conversation on that particular subject. They can then build relationships with these influencers the same way they would with the press. Because really, when you get down to it, influencer marketing is just another form of press. And if your brand has a good PR team in place, they’ll build relationships with influencers who also have their own media connections, which turns the whole thing into an advantageous relationship. These connections feed off each other, helping to disseminate your branded message and amplify your public recognition.
PR applies in-house, too
One interesting thing about PR is that it can apply to a variety of audiences. Whereas digital marketing is inbound advertising to potential clients and customers, the audience you’re trying to reach with PR can also be internal. A good PR person can help hone the sales materials and craft a media-friendly message, thus creating strong brand positioning. And these materials can be used by internal departments in order to help clarify company goals.
It boosts employee morale
Building off the last point, solid PR can help buttress your reputation among your competitors within the B2B world as much as it can among potential clients. Take the highly competitive tech sector, for example. Crafting the image of your business as an ideal place for employees to work is going to do wonders for your recruiting. A seasoned PR pro is going to secure stories that encapsulate your brand messaging and promote your company culture. The stories they publish in trade periodicals and the like will highlight your employees as being the smartest and brightest in the industry in order to attract talent.
Ultimately how deep you commit to public relations is up to you. Maybe you’ll want to enlist the help of professionals to craft a robust public image of your company. It all depends on your goals. One thing is certain, though, PR should be as much a strategy for your B2B operation as any other part of your advertising game.