Building a successful B2B PR strategy in 2023 requires much more than blindly pitching reporters in hopes of garnering news attention. For companies to succeed and claim their marketing goals, they need an all-encompassing strategy that’s built on research, is completed with expert execution, and is followed up by targeted analysis.
What is B2B PR?
B2B PR, known as Business-to-Business Public Relations, encompasses the strategic management of a company’s public image and reputation in the context of its interactions with other businesses. It involves the thoughtful crafting and execution of communication strategies to elevate the visibility and perception of a B2B enterprise among fellow businesses, influential industry figures, and relevant stakeholders.
B2B PR is essential to any company looking to gain exposure in their industry or sector and build trust with their partners. B2B PR typically involves strategies such as media relations, thought leadership campaigns, influencer engagement and industry events.
B2B public relations also typically includes tactics like content creation, digital PR and media relations. B2B PR creates an environment for exchanges of goods, services, partnerships and collaboration among companies in similar industries.
B2B PR vs B2C PR
Distinct from B2C PR (Business-to-Consumer Public Relations), which concentrates on reaching and engaging individual consumers, B2B PR focuses on captivating decision-makers, professionals, and organizations within a business environment. The primary objective of B2B PR lies in fostering trust, credibility, and positive sentiments among pivotal stakeholders, ultimately fostering lucrative business prospects, partnerships, and industry influence.
Why is B2B PR important for companies?
B2B PR is important for companies because it helps to create a positive image and strengthen relationships with clients, customers and partners. B2B PR builds trust and credibility, provides market insights, increases brand visibility, educates the public about the company’s offerings, enables companies to respond quickly to customer feedback, keeps up with changes in the external environment and business trends, and can even help prevent costly legal issues. A good B2B PR campaign can also help build relationships with investors by informing them of newsworthy milestones or developments.
There are eight essential components of a successful B2B PR strategy, and ultimately, you should be looking for these in any PR agency you plan to work with. Without these elements, PR strategies fall through the cracks, only working for a fleeting moment and not lasting long term.
What does a B2B PR strategy do?
A B2B (business-to-business) PR strategy focuses on promoting a company’s products or services to other businesses. The goal is to establish the company as a thought leader in its industry, generating positive media coverage, and ultimately driving sales. A B2B PR strategy may include tactics such as writing and distributing press releases, pitching story ideas to journalists, organizing events and speaking engagements, and building relationships with industry influencers. The strategy is usually targeted to the industry media and trade publications, which are read by decision-makers in other businesses.
12 Tips for Building an Effective B2B PR Campaign
1. Agility and Flexibility
Planning a precise schedule used to be integral to managing a B2B PR campaign—send the press release on X date, release the product on X date, follow up with journalists during X days.
In 2023, however, that kind of structured approach isn’t always feasible, or even desirable.
Instead, brands need to be agile and flexible, ready to change dates, update strategies, and respond to the swift news cycle as needed.
In practice, this may look like adopting more of an ongoing strategic PR approach over the strictly campaign-based approach. It could look like creating several different windows of pitching time, rather than sticking to a specific schedule.
By staying flexible, your brand will be much more able to respond to opportunities as they arise and respond to the global uncertainties that are sure to remain with us during 2023—though let’s hope not to the same degree as the past two years.
2. Define Your Goals
It is important to clearly define your goals before launching a B2B PR campaign because it helps you set the scope and direction of your efforts. Defining specific, achievable objectives that are realistic and measurable gives you clarity on the type of content you should create and ensure that your message reaches the right audience. Knowing what results you want to achieve will enable you to measure success, track progress, and modify the plan if necessary.
3. Accurate Buyer Personas
Business decision makers are much more involved than most consumer purchases. They frequently require bigger budgets and complex technology or solutions. Buyer personas allow organizations to better understand their target audiences and develop a PR program that appeals to their own needs, pain points, and pursuits.
4. Develop a Press Kit
Create a press kit that includes company background information, key messaging, and visual assets like photos and logos. When building your press kit, keep in mind journalists use this to learn more about your brand. Include company background information you feel is important for your B2B brand and messaging you believe conveys your story accurate.
5. Precise Messaging
Tailor your messaging and highlight the most compelling product or service advantages and differentiators for each target market. Consider your buyer personas and also the particular challenges faced by each audience to create content and PR campaigns that have maximum impact. Are your key messages as crisp as possible? Do they adequately differentiate you? We dig deep to discover the words, tone, and image that best resonate with who you are and connect it to what gets you the most share of voice. The end result? Your brand story is one people love to share, and it leads to more opportunities for you.
6. Competitive Landscape Analysis
Take the time to truly understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and the greater landscape. Assess their media, target audiences and campaigns to better guide your B2B PR campaign. In many cases, their success can be reverse engineered to benefit you!
7. Compelling Thought Leadership
Your team is your most valuable asset. Your leadership, your sales team, and even your most technical folks are often well versed in market trends, understand pain points and company differentiators. These in-house experts can provide great fodder for media pitches, interviews and content such as blog posts and infographics. They don’t have to be awesome communicators. They provide the steak. We provide the sizzle.
Where’s the best place to start with thought leadership? Blogging. Your B2B company needs a blog, and it’ll be successful if you focus on sharing original content that provides educational information to your audience.
Backlinko analyzed the content marketing strategies of 502 B2B companies and found that B2B blogs that create education content receive 52% more organic traffic than those that mainly publish content about their company. That, friends, is what thought leadership can do for your company. It’s a collaboration between the experts within your brand and industry, and a strategic PR firm, that makes this content go further.
8. Turn Data into Dollars
A strong and steady flow of newsworthy company announcements is great, but most companies have to create their own news to spur coverage on a consistent basis. A great way to do this is through your own data and studies. Data and stats from reputable sources such as CB Insights or Forrester or Gartner add credibility to media pitches and news stories.
At Zen Media, we go even further by leveraging internal sources or conduct and create original research reports which generate media coverage, leads and successful B2B PR campaigns.
9. Visualize Your Goals
Use visuals, such as infographics and videos, to enhance your messaging and make it more shareable. Visuals can be a powerful tool in a B2B PR campaign as they can effectively convey complex information and make it more engaging and easily digestible.
Infographics, for example, can be used to present data and statistics in a clear and visually appealing way. They can also be easily shared on social media, increasing the reach of your campaign.
Videos can also be a great addition to your B2B PR campaign, they can provide a more personal touch and can be a powerful way to showcase your company’s products or services. It can be used to show a product in action, demonstrate its features, or even share customer testimonials. Videos can be shared on your website, social media, YouTube, and other platforms.
Both infographics and videos can be used to generate media coverage, as well as to increase engagement on social media and your website. They can also be included in press releases and other communications to help make your messaging more compelling and increase the chances of it being shared.
10. Amplify your PR
Ensure that you are able to maximize every piece of coverage by promoting across social media, via landing pages, email, mobile apps and at events/trade-shows. Every piece of content can and should be used as many times as possible. Not only does this solidify brand messaging and get a message out to as many viewers as possible, it generates more content that can drive traffic to your website.
Amplifying existing PR as part of your B2B marketing strategy can mean multiple things, like you share your content on social media, or even have your company’s leadership share that information in their own voice. As many ways as it can be said, say it. Don’t let the valuable information and content you’ve created go to waste.
11. Track Results
What gets measured gets managed. Here at Zen Media, we measure both quantitatively and qualitatively to see what’s working and where to double down and get the most bang for your buck. B2B PR campaigns are only as successful as the numbers say, so make sure you’re tracking those metrics.
Various metrics correspond to various goals, so don’t get caught up in the metrics that aren’t pertinent to your brand. Work with your PR firm to create a strategy that maximizes the ROI, even if it means working in an unconventional way (like working with micro-influencers, versus ones with bigger followings). Tracking the results of your PR campaign will show you a detailed picture of what your target market wants to see, and what they could do without.
Track results daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, and don’t let the info go to the wayside. Make sure that the results factor into each new installment of your strategy.
12. Stay Agile and Adaptable
To remain competitive, it’s important to maintain agility and adaptability in your B2B PR campaign by regularly monitoring industry trends and making adjustments as necessary. By staying up-to-date with the latest developments and trends, you can position yourself to stay ahead of the competition and be better prepared to respond to changing circumstances.