Often when people think of PR, they think of the big consumer campaigns. But, equally as important is B2B PR, in which businesses that are marketing to other businesses, rather than individuals, build awareness and visibility within relevant sector audiences.
What is B2B PR?
When B2B organisations concentrate on their public relations strategies, they pro-actively manage and nurture reputation among existing and potential clients, suppliers, employees and partners. B2B PR aims to establish businesses as leaders in their industry, backed up by high quality earned media coverage, helping to build and maintain long-term relationships and a positive reputation.
In some cases, B2B strategy may be used in conjunction with B2C campaigns to ensure that messaging is reaching all audiences necessary. For companies that sell to both business and consumer audiences, computer tech businesses, for example, the two sides of PR will ensure that a rounded and thorough strategy is in place.
Why B2B PR?
Purchasing goods and services on behalf of a business tends to be a more thought out and considered process than when consumers buy. B2B services are often expensive, so a lot of research goes into choosing the best business to provide the service or product, 67% of which is done online.
As well as building general initial awareness, a strong PR strategy focusing on establishing a business within its key sectors will create a bank of credible media material demonstrating knowledge and expertise which can feed into the B2B buying decision-making process. Online press materials also boost overall SEO strategy, further supporting businesses during their potential clients’ exploration.
When effectively executed, B2B communications will ensure the brand is visible in the right places, that the messaging around the brand is compelling and convincing, and that all target audiences understand the business, what it has to offer and why it is a leader.
In addition to attracting clients, B2B PR can bolster reputation among potential employees and partners. Communications positioning a business as an industry leader will establish the business as a good firm to work with or for, and improve employer brand, attracting the best talent looking for the best opportunities within their industry.
How to effectively create a B2B PR strategy
Effective B2B strategies demand in-depth knowledge of a business’s key vertical media to ensure maximum results from placing press releases, thought leadership features or interviews within it. Frequently, a campaign will not be limited to just one target sector, so approaches need to recognise and appeal to media across a variety of industries.
The best performing B2B PR pieces will have precise messaging and compelling insights, positioning the business as an authority within its industry. They will also be aimed towards a carefully considered and relevant audience of key stakeholders.
B2B PR tools
Techniques can span from podcasting, to producing thought leadership reports or whitepapers, to events, to creative infographics. These can then be leveraged to secure high-quality media coverage which will raise awareness and understanding of a brand.
To find out more about some of PR Agency One’s B2B PR work, read our case study of campaigns executed for digital agency Nexer Digital (formerly Sigma). Through strategic ‘mini campaigns’ supplemented by thought leadership reports and expert commentary, 141 pieces of coverage were secured, including with The Guardian, Independent and a collection of top-tier vertical media titles.
Campaigns can be supported with broadcast PR, where spokespeople from the business contribute to radio and television news programmes as expert commentators. This is an excellent way of amplifying a campaign or messages and relating to the current news agenda.
Corporate profiling and panels or roundtable discussions to talk about campaigns or the company in a wider business context with other experts build brand and reputation in the corporate world. These opportunities often allow for key messaging to be clearer and for the company to steer the topics of discussion to maximise impact.
Press office and newsjacking play important roles in B2B comms. By staying on top of current affairs and creating and issuing reactive commentary, businesses can place themselves in the centre of a relevant and current news story and become media experts on the topic. Read our case studies about how we effectively newsjacked for our B2B clients, SCALA Consulting and Langleys Solicitors.
How to measure B2B campaigns
As well as measuring the outcomes of a campaign, such as how many pieces of coverage or links have been secured, it is important to measure the wider business impact of B2B PR. This includes metrics like brand visibility and reputational performance and KPIs such as organic traffic and conversions.
PR Agency One’s suite of AMEC aligned PR measurement products allows businesses to measure B2B PR campaigns and use analysis of KPIs, brand, reputation and conversion results to inform and fine-tune future strategy.
Choosing an agency
When choosing a B2B PR agency, it is essential to assess previous experience in the sector. This can often be found on the website or by asking the agency about their knowledge, understanding and results in the industry. As media relations, SEO and innovative campaigns all support B2B strategies, businesses should look for an agency that appreciates the relationship between these areas.
In addition, agencies should have a proven track record of effective processes, a creative flair and compelling copywriting. Above all, it is crucial to select a B2B PR agency that suits your business and reflects its values so that the account team can act as an extension of your in-house marketers.
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