What is B2B PR? 5 Strategies to Promote B2B PR Campaign
We all know that every B2B company has its own brand identity, target market, products, or services. But all have one thing in common: They want to be considered as a thought leader in their specific market space.
One of the most popular methods that brands choose is combining traditional and digital B2B Public Relations (PR) strategies so that they can influence their market, and develop an active voice ahead of their competitors.
In fact, it is easier said than done. Companies even have to spend a lot of time and money on gaining as much publicity as possible, but sometimes it doesn’t work very well.
So, if you are looking for some of the key tactics to effective B2B PR, you’re at the right place!
In this article, we’ll guide you through basic information about B2B Public Relations (PR), as well as, 5 simple but powerful strategies to boost your B2B PR campaign.
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Table of contents
- What is B2B PR?
- How does PR help B2B companies?
- 5 facts you should know about PR for B2B
- B2B PR and B2C PR: What are the differences?
- 5 simple strategies to boost your B2B PR campaign
- The bottom line
What is B2B PR?
First and foremost, B2B stands for Business-to-Business, which illustrates the activities of studying and managing relationships between one business and another business or organization.
Besides, Public Relations (PR), whether it’s for B2B or B2C, is all about shaping and maintaining the image of an individual, brand, or organization in the eyes of the public.
The main idea of B2B PR is to build up a good reputation for the brand and maintain a healthy relationship with the public and other business partners. This would lead to a positive brand image and make it seem relevant, honest, and successful.
As a matter of fact, traditional PR is no longer the highest-demand avenue to raise an effective voice for your business. According to a recent report, instead of sticking with traditional channels, marketing decision-makers choose micro-blogging (72%), social media (80%), podcasting and RSS (87%) as the destinations for their B2B PR campaigns.
- Differences between B2B and B2C
- What is B2B Marketing?
- What is B2B Marketing Funnel?
- What is B2B Sales Experience?
- What is B2B Payment?
How does PR help B2B companies?
Whether traditional or digital, a solid PR strategy can make a brand scale new heights. In addition to other business partners, it will allow companies to connect with customers, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders that help them grow.
Resorting to PR as a strategy, B2B companies are able to:
Create clear brand messages. A carefully crafted PR strategy provides clarity about your business’s identity and key messages. The best PR experts will help you distribute all of these things to a number of platforms.
Build a positive brand image. It’s easy for a company to get lost in the noise of the crowd nowadays. So, an effective PR strategy helps to build a memorable brand image.
Increase brand credibility. No matter if you’ve just started or become mature, earning customers’ trust will determine your business’s success or failure. A PR strategy can bridge that trust-gap between a company and its would-be customers.
Improve relationships. Companies have chances to connect with vendors, customers, and industry experts, and strengthen relations with the right entities in their industry.
Boost profits and sales. Increased trust and relationships lead to better deals, shorter sales cycles, and higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) in the long term.
Some primarily think that PR includes press release shotguns or social media promotion only. However, PR agencies can help brands in the areas of:
- Positioning and messaging
- Communication strategies
- Content creation
- Event creation
- Product launches
- Market research
- Speech writing
- Employee relations
- Thought leadership
- Online reputation management
- Crisis management
5 facts you should know about PR for B2B
PR is different from advertising
Many people use PR and advertising interchangeably, but we have to say that it’s not true!
Advertising always costs you money. Even when you pour thousands or even hundreds of thousands into an advertising campaign, you can’t be sure if it will be effective. On the other hand, PR capitalizes on the trust that the public holds.
For instance, if you see a banner ad for a new product, how much percent will you click on that ad after seeing it one time? However, if you see a TV commercial or magazine ad encouraging you to check out the product, how likely are you to get to know it?
You might click on it in the first option, but chances are, it will take several times reading that ad before you really learn more about it. The case will change a lot if mentioned briefly in an article in the Wall Street Journal. Immediately, the credibility of the product increases, as does your likelihood of purchasing it.
And that’s what we call the power of PR.
You can read our article named “What is Public Relations (PR)? How to Build a Successful PR campaign” to know more about the differences between PR and advertising.
Awareness is key
PR is not just about positioning and spreading the words about your business. Most of it involves keeping your ear to the ground, knowing what’s actually happening, and reacting in a timely manner.
There are, in fact, many businesses out there trying to lead the way. Hence, to stay on top of what people are talking about in your industry and brand, you need to monitor awareness through several channels, such as industry blogs, social media, newsletters, search engines, and so on.
Content is an indispensable part of PR
While it may not be the very first thing you think of when it comes to PR, content matters a lot in Public Relations for B2B companies. Content allows brands to deliver their industry expertise and knowledge to their audience.
Companies are seeing a growing need for content creation in order to support their PR campaigns. It is becoming an indispensable part of PR, from displaying your knowledge on your own blog to creating guest posts for trade publications.
Of course, content can’t work best without optimization. If you want to generate content that gets viral, you’ll need to learn how to optimize it for success. For instance, you should know ways to optimize your SEO ranking, including how to choose the right keywords to have your content in front of your audience.
PR can be measured
It might be contrary to what people tell you, PR can be measured. You can actually measure backlinks to your webpage, click on CTAs, site traffic, and conversion rate. If you want to know if your PR campaign results are effective, you should keep an eye on those measurement items.
Everyone can take part in
Public Relations isn’t just about an individual; it’s about a brand. And a brand includes all departments of your company, from executives to every employee. You might want to include your entire team in your B2B PR strategy.
Many companies have successfully done this by implementing an employee advocacy program, in which employees are willing to share your content or any B2B event. This is especially necessary now, in this digital age, where everyone can publish content.
B2B PR and B2C PR: What are the differences?
While B2B companies sell products or services to other businesses, B2C companies sell directly to the end-users. In reality, Public Relations for B2B is considerably different from its B2C counterparts.
So, in this section, you will explore 5 key differences between B2B and B2C PR.
Long vs. short buying cycle
As a consumer, we tend to make purchase decisions without much hesitation. We don’t form a meeting and take months to decide between Coke and Pepsi. But this often happens for B2B companies. Whether it’s office furniture, a broadband connection, or a business trip, every purchase is carefully considered and researched.
B2B buyers can go through a more lengthy process, so you need to find ways to keep them engaged in every stage of their buying journey. This could be an infographic to raise brand awareness, an eBook for the consideration stage, and a white paper in the last decision step.
Education vs. entertainment
While B2C consumers often buy a product or service based on entertainment value or price, B2B counterparts look for more information about a brand’s expertise and industry knowledge.
For B2C buyers, your content needs to be simple, relevant, and entertaining. They want videos that make them laugh, blogs that make them smile, and social updates that they can share with their friends.
However, as B2B products and services usually come with a higher price point, buyers do a tremendous amount of research before jumping to the final decision. That’s why educational content is an essential part of any B2B PR strategy. High-quality educational content creates the feeling that your brand is knowledgeable and trustworthy - a perfect combination that will result in more purchase decisions.
Relationships are obviously crucial in Public Relations for B2B companies. Because B2B buyers need more time to make a purchase decision, it is critical to nurture relationships for the long haul.
B2C buyers, on the other hand, are more driven by a product or service rather than a relationship with the company. They tend to choose based on price and other factors than brand loyalty.
In B2C PR, brand awareness is the key. They want to gain as many followers as possible, and generate a buzz as well as desire for their products. Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube are ideal for these companies, as images and videos are easy to consume and share.
However, social media for B2B companies experiences a considerable difference. To begin with, not all social channels work well for your brand. B2B buyers will choose informative social posts rather than emotional ones, which means platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn should appear first in your social campaigns.
The last key difference between these two types of PR is the individuals involved in the purchase decision. There is often only one person involved in the B2C purchase decision - the end consumer. While he or she may be influenced by friends or family, there is only one person making the decision.
On the flip side, it usually requires several key players to make a B2B purchase decision. For instance, while the CEO may opt for a particular brand of computer security software, the CFO may consider a lot to make sure it is a wise use of the company’s funds.
5 simple strategies to promote your B2B PR campaign
1. Share your coverage on social media channels
There are many social media tools available out there to help you move the needle of public perception, and gain far more brand awareness among your target audience.
For example, nowadays, B2B decision makers scroll through LinkedIn daily, looking for valuable content that can impact the way they do business. This is also the best place to research potential suppliers. In reality, a recent study has found that up to 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn. This figure is 13% on Twitter and 7% on Facebook.
So, what should you do to optimize these promising channels? Here are a few tips for you!
- Complete your profile and keep it up-to-date
- Link with key B2B journalists
- Publish informative and useful articles
- Join relevant groups
2. Include SEO in PR strategies
Do you know that sites ranking on the first page of Google get 91% of all organic search traffic, and 51% of all site traffic comes from search engines?
Once you know this fact, you should spend more time on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click strategies with your Public Relations messages. So, include key search terms in the text of every press release, article, and blog posts.
Related topic: 15 SEO Tools for Magento to Help You Boost Rank on Google
3. Promote B2B video marketing campaigns
We bet that you might know the viral video campaigns of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Many of us (including businesses!) were inspired to dump water on your heads to be part of the movement.
B2B video marketing campaigns don’t need to be that different. Instead, they should be the core of your marketing plan and used to drive the public interest. Like consumers, the media also loves video content that they can share with their audience. And video is one more powerful tool in your PR toolkit.
4. Boost B2B influencer marketing
When talking about influencer marketing, we often think of what consumer brands are doing with Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Snapchat, using celebrities with millions of followers.
B2B influencer marketing is a little bit different. It requires finding influencers that are most relevant to and trusted by your target audience. It’s becoming an increasingly important strategy when building thought leadership, sharing insights, or increasing brand awareness.
Since B2B products are usually complicated, you want to identify appropriate influencers early and educate then on your evolution and vision. If possible, have them experience your products. Besides, create long-term relationships that benefit both you and them. Remember, it’s all about leveraging the credibility offered by experts, analysts, and bloggers to persuade B2B buyers about the quality of your products, services, and company.
5. Host B2B events
Whether online or offline, B2B PR events are a great way to connect yourself with potential customers and industry media. From trade shows and conferences to webinars, they’re an effective way to showcase your passion, credibility, and expertise.
Take Salesforce - an American cloud-based software company as an example. They host regular webinars that dig deep into their products and services. They also offer valuable business insights on everything, ranging from channel sales, to mastering the customer experience.
Educational, informative, and comprehensive, they make for a great marketing and PR folder.
Learn more: B2B Event Marketing: Everything You Need to Know
The bottom line
In this guide, you’ve learned necessary things about Public Relations for B2B companies. As you can see, there are loads of ways PR can help boost your profile in the B2B sector. So, don’t let your B2B company die off - continue to breathe life into it with our above campaign ideas.
Now it’s over to you! Please feel free to share your opinions and ideas on expanding a compelling PR campaign for B2B brands.