In today’s hyper-connected world, where information is readily available at our fingertips, B2Bs must work even harder to build and maintain a positive reputation, establish thought leadership, and create a strong brand identity if they want to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
To do this, you need more than just marketing—you need a solid PR strategy.
And yet, despite its importance, many B2Bs are still struggling to get their PR strategy right. They often rely solely on press releases, fail to differentiate themselves from their competition, and forget that their product features alone do not make a compelling story. These mistakes can result in missed opportunities to effectively reach and engage their target audience.
If you want to get real results from your B2B PR efforts, you have to go beyond the simple press releases and occasional news feature. With so many advancements in analytics and AI tools, there’s never been greater opportunity to create powerful, effective PR campaigns. As you’re developing your public relations strategy, make sure you’re avoiding these common mistakes.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to B2B PR
3 Common B2B PR Mistakes to Avoid
Mistake #1: Believing PR = Press Release
One of the most common misconceptions about PR is that it only involves issuing press releases. While press releases can be a useful tool in your PR arsenal, relying solely on them is a mistake.
In the past, press releases were a key method journalists used to find stories, but today that simply isn’t the case. With the 24/7 news cycle, and consumers weighing in on and even becoming part of the news cycle, journalists are being bombarded with story ideas. They don’t need to rely on press releases. To get your B2B noticed, you need to implement a fully-fledged earned media strategy that includes building relationships with journalists and influencers, creating engaging content, and actively seeking out media opportunities.
To build those relationships with journalists, you need to start by establishing your own authority in your industry. Leverage podcast appearances, contribute articles on LinkedIn, and engage in industry-specific online forums to build thought leadership and brand visibility. Write personalized pitches that tie your business to key trends or issues in the industry. Build your CEO’s thought leadership, and have them provide expert insights in contributed articles. These days, incorporating micro-influencers within niche markets into your strategy can help reach highly targeted audiences with greater authenticity and engagement. And, yes, that’s all part of PR!
Whatever method you choose for your B2B PR strategy, make sure you focus on creating compelling content that tells your brand story and engages your target audience.
Related Reading: 6 Common Mistakes B2B Brands Make When Pitching Media
Mistake #2: Believing Your B2B Doesn’t Have Competition
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your B2B doesn’t have any competition. Maybe your SaaS product is a unique problem-solver for a specific niche, and there truly aren’t many other companies out there that do the same thing. But in reality, the competition for your product is not only those other SaaS companies—it’s also the status quo. Your target audience is used to the status quo, and they know it doesn’t cost them any more money to do the same thing they’ve always done.
To stand out from the competition, you must differentiate yourself and offer something that your competitors don’t. This could be through superior customer service, more advanced technology, or a unique value proposition. However, to do this effectively, you need to know who your competition is and what they’re offering. This is where conducting market research, identifying your direct and indirect competitors, and understanding their strengths and weaknesses is critical.
Remember, the status quo is a formidable competitor. Your goal should be to offer a solution that is compelling enough to make your target audience want to change what they’re already doing and start using your product. If you’re going to compel them to convert, you need to prove that it’s worth it.
Related Reading: Build a Successful B2B PR Strategy
Mistake #3: Thinking Your Product = Your Story
Another common mistake B2Bs make when it comes to PR is thinking that their product is their story. While your product features and benefits are important, they are not enough to capture the attention of journalists and readers. Earned media is all about storytelling, and stories require more than just product features.
To create a compelling story, you need to capture your audience’s attention by giving them a new idea or concept, creating a narrative, and engaging them through education, inspiration, or entertainment. Your goal should be to provide value to your readers and offer them something they won’t find elsewhere.
When crafting your story, keep in mind that most B2B buyers are concerned about avoiding blame.
They want to make the safe or default choice, especially when it comes to big investments that will impact a lot of people. Therefore, you need to balance the need to meet their desire for a safe choice with an engaging story that captures their attention.
Sustainability efforts and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are among topics that are of growing interest to B2B buyers. Staying on top of what people care about and humanizing your brand through customer success stories can illustrate the real-world impact of your products or services through the experiences of those who have benefited from them.
Related reading: The Key Differences Between B2B And B2C – Regret Vs Blame!
If you’re in a technical or complex industry, it can be challenging to simplify your story or message for the media. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your story is easy to understand and that it provides value to your target audience. Use clear and concise language, avoid technical jargon, and focus on the benefits of your product rather than its features.
Bonus Mistake: Not believing PR is worthwhile
Just like word-of-mouth B2B marketing, PR’s success isn’t easy to track, and for that reason, some CEOs and business leaders worry that it isn’t worthwhile.
If you come from a performance marketing background, like advertising, focusing only on easily trackable metrics can be tempting. But it’s also a mistake. Earned media is the single most impactful type of media when it comes to proving your value and building credibility.
Unlike paid, owned, and shared media, earned media requires that someone else thinks your brand is worthwhile, and it’s that third-party credibility that proves to potential buyers that your company or product is the real deal.
While it may not be easy to measure, B2B PR is integral to proving relevance, increasing reach, and—ultimately—building revenue.
Need help developing or implementing your B2B PR strategy? Let’s chat.