Public relations for B2B companies is no easy feat. One of the major reasons why B2B companies may struggle with PR is because they aren’t up to date on the latest trends or best practices. For that reason, we decided to share the PR best practices that B2B firms should be aware of in 2019.
1. Segment your audience
Segmentation is is the process of breaking down large audiences into small practical ones that can be easily maneuvered to ensure a high level of personalization. Companies segment their audience in order to get a better understanding of what drives them. It allows for more targeted messaging, calls-to-action, and content that resonates with that particular audience.
Segmentation is becoming more and more important in marketing, and it should be an important aspect of your PR strategy too.
Ideally, every company that wants to succeed in their B2B PR campaigns must know:
➔ The basic demographics of their audiences e.g where they come from in terms of location, level of education, income brackets, etc.
➔ Psychographic information which includes understanding the shared personality traits, attitudes, interests, beliefs, values, lifestyles, etc. A lot of these characteristics can easily be observed, and a lot of studies have been done about psychographic segmentation in different industries.
➔ The practical things that impact your customer’s opinion about you; most of these should be practical in terms of the scale at which they can be executed or not.
➔ The emotional things that impact your customer’s opinion of you; these should be visceral things that influence how customers feel about you.
Companies get to know these aspects through research and listening to customers and online reviews from various platforms. Understanding how customers view your products/services and the company, in general, is usually a good way to start the segmentation process.
Once you have that information, you can begin to craft tailored messages to the different segments you’ve identified, but you should take it one step further than that. Regarding PR and segmentation, you also need to think about choosing the right channels and influencers to pitch your campaign to. Who should you reach out to? Which channels might be most effective for this segment? Which channels might not be the best fit for this particular audience? These are questions you should be asking to further capture your target buyer with your segmented messaging.
2. Measure your results
For a long time, new PR practices have not provided very direct ways of measuring results. However, you need to understand what your PR efforts are doing for your business in terms of sales and meeting the bottom line.
You need to come up with measurable PR metrics that show whether your campaign is working or not. Some of these might include media impressions, mentions in various publications, social engagement, traffic and/or backlinks.
The idea of measuring your results is to understand your output and reach in terms of content, and what the outcomes are in terms of knowledge, opinions, and attitudes or perceptions about your brand by other companies and customers. The total value of those opinions and perceptions should be bringing in added value in terms of revenue and brand awareness.
3. Craft compelling PR content
When crafting your PR content, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. First, find your creative angle. A good way to do this is by putting yourself in the shoes of your audience. Why should they care and what would they be interested in?
Second, make sure your copy reads like a story rather than an advertisement. For example, say your company is releasing a new healthcare software. “XYZ Company release software in efforts to help healthcare companies streamline revenue cycle management” sounds much better than “Our new revenue cycle management software is now available”.
Other best practices include:
- Including the 5Ws (who, what, where, when, why?) in the first paragraph to grasp the reader’s attention.
- Including 1-2 quotes from employees or company leaders.
- Keeping the content short and to the point.
4. Partnerships are becoming more crucial
B2B companies can benefit a lot from one another by developing partnerships. Assuming that these are not competitors but companies that need each other’s products or services, there is a lot to gain from supporting one another.
A great way to partner with another company is by sharing one another’s content with mentions to their audiences. Two partnering companies with an audience of about 1,000 customers to influence is better than one company with an audience of 500. Other ways to collaborate include guest blogging, joint research projects, or joint webinars and speaking opportunities.
5. Utilize multiple channels
Many companies believe landing a story on TechCrunch or the Wall Street Journal is the end all be all of public relations. But that isn’t the case anymore.
Public relations is not about getting into the biggest publications nowadays. It used to be, however, in this day and age, there are bloggers that get close to 5 times more viewership than your favorite news outlet.
We have companies that are building empires based off social media engagement. We have people that are driving perceptions about brands by using their influences on Instagram, Twitter, and other online platforms.
In other words, PR best practices for B2B companies are constantly evolving, and public relations as you know it is changing frequently. As it continues to change, so should your strategy. Don’t place all your efforts on getting published in one large media outlet – it’s great when it happens, but it shouldn’t be the only PR goal a company has.
Focus on understanding the following things:
● What social networks do my potential customers use?
● Which trade shows do they attend most to?
● Which blogs and publications do they read?
● Which influencers are most likely to reach my potential clients and what platform do they use?
● Which Facebook groups, networks, and online forums do they frequent a lot?
Once you have nailed these down, get down to work on pushing content everywhere you can in whatever platform your customers are most likely to visit. When you reach out to media publications, it’s common that you’ll receive little attention since most journalists are getting pitched new things every day. However, by utilizing social media, bloggers, and online influencers in your industry you can change the narrative because PR can now be a multi-channel strategy.
About the authors: Pressfarm runs a platform designed to help entrepreneurs to search and find journalists to write about their stories.