If you think your B2B brand can approach PR the same way as any other brand, you’re wrong.
B2B PR is completely different from B2C PR.That’s why we created this massive ultimate guide to B2B PR. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Why B2Bs need PR
- How to create a successful B2B PR strategy
- Examples of creative B2B PR campaigns
Let’s get to it.
Why do B2B brands need PR?
B2B companies need PR for two different reasons:
- To build trust and credibility with their audience
- To improve their SEO and push them toward the top of the search engine results for their specific keywords
Let’s look at those reasons more closely.
How B2B PR builds trust and credibility
Building trust and credibility starts, of course, with your business practices and how you treat clients.
If you do a great job at that, your current clients will spread the word—even in our digital world, word-of-mouth is still some of the best advertising you can get.
But when it comes to getting the word out and building your reputation on a broad scale, PR is key.
When you secure mentions in industry roundups, spotlights in Tier One magazines, interviews with your CEO in trade publications, placements on panels at conferences, etc. you’re not only able to show your brand’s expertise to the world, firsthand. You’re also able to point to those opportunities as proof that you’re a trusted voice in your space and a leader in your industry.
These kinds of appearances let potential clients know that others trust you, which makes it more likely that they’ll seek you out. Plus, PR tends to build on itself (as long as you’re promoting and amplifying each hit), so the more placements you get, the more likely it is that other outlets will also want to feature you.
How B2B PR helps improve your SEO
PR primarily helps with your off-page SEO—increasing your domain authority through backlinks and mentions on high-quality sites. This is opposed to on-page SEO, which is optimizing the things you control, like your website and content, for keywords, meta descriptions, title tags, and more.
Here’s how it works.
The more press hits you get, and the more your brand is mentioned (and backlinked) on high-quality, authoritative websites, the better your Google results will be.
That’s because Google’s algorithm places high importance on quality over quantity—according to one Google source, the number of backlinks you get really doesn’t matter. What does is how authoritative the websites are that are backlinking to you.
Now, because PR is earned media, you don’t control it. So you can’t control how the outlet handles SEO.
But what you can do is create your own content around the PR coverage you receive. With that owned content, you’d use B2B SEO strategies to make sure people can find it and that it supports your overall domain authority.
As an example, you could write a blog post mentioning your recent coverage, including your target keywords and linking back to the coverage. Then you’d add a clear meta description and include the most relevant keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Other options include mentioning it in a Facebook Live stream, or LinkedIn live stream, or an Instagram Story. Then you’d include relevant keywords in the title and add the link in your description.
By doing this, you’re giving Google more content and pages to index, which is helpful for boosting you toward the top of the search engine results page (SERP), as well as showing the search engine that quality websites are mentioning you. This all works to push you further and further toward the top five search results for a given keyword.
One thing to note: this kind of SEO boost takes time and consistency. You won’t see overnight changes, but if you continue to pursue those PR opportunities and integrate SEO best practices and amplification into your post-placement process, you’ll see your domain begin to move up those SERPs within months.
Related post: 10 Ways to Leverage SEO for PR
How do B2Bs create a successful PR strategy?
A successful B2B PR strategy consists of seven essential components.
- Accurate buyer personas
- Precise messaging
- Competitive landscape analysis
- Compelling thought leadership
- A steady flow of quality content
- Measurement and analysis
Let’s dive into each.
Accurate buyer personas
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.
Related post: Reinventing the B2B Buyer Persona
While you may have a set of buyer personas already created, it’s always worthwhile to go back and update them with new information, or in response to trends or other changes in the industry. Additionally, brands that aren’t already using zero-party data should start, as surveys, forms, and direct requests for information are among the most effective ways to get accurate information on your clients.
Plus, letting them know that you’re not purchasing data from third-party sources can also help you build a trusting, long-term relationship with them.
Precise, customized messaging
Tailor your messaging and highlight the most compelling product or service advantages and differentiators for each target market, and for each individual creator or journalist, as well.
Are your key messages as crisp as possible? Do they adequately differentiate you and share why you, among all the other brands in your industry, have something interesting and new to say?
If there’s a larger story happening, whether a current event, a major industry shake-up, or an innovation that could affect your clients, see if there’s a way to authentically tie that into your pitches.
Competitive landscape analysis
Take the time to truly understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and the greater industry landscape. Assess their media, target audiences and campaigns to better guide your strategic PR strategy.
What conversations are you seeing your competitors take part in? What types of media are most popular with the audiences you’re trying to reach? Taking those things into account can help you when it comes to targeting outlets and clarifying your message.
Compelling thought leadership
Your team is your most valuable asset. Your leadership, your sales team, and even your most technical staff members are often well versed in market trends, understand pain points and company differentiators. Show off your in-house experts by offering them as sources in media pitches, and spotlighting them in interviews and content such as blog posts and infographics.
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’s what thought leadership can do for your company. It’s a collaboration between the experts within your brand and industry, and a strategic B2B PR agency, that makes this content go further.
A steady stream of quality content
Newsworthy company announcements and press releases are great, but most companies have to create their own news to spur coverage on a consistent basis.
One way to do this is through your own data and studies. Conduct research, develop annual trend reports, and create other high-quality, educational content to generate media coverage. This will also help with your lead generation.
Ensure that you’re maximizing every piece of coverage by promoting across social media, via landing pages, email, mobile apps and at events/trade-shows.
Every interview, feature, conference appearance, etc. can and should be repurposed, linked back to, and shared. Not only does this solidify brand messaging and put you in front of as many viewers as possible, it also generates more content that can drive traffic to your website.
As many ways as it can be said, say it. Make sure you’re getting as much out of your hard work as possible.
Measurement and analysis
Especially with B2B PR, qualitative analysis is just as important as quantitative—although your C-suite will definitely appreciate both.
Social listening tools, along with good old-fashioned manual monitoring, will help you discern broad changes in tone or engagement after a piece of media coverage goes live.
There are also plenty of effective quantitative analytics tools out there—Meltwater and Cision are two—that can help you determine the reach, audience demographics, and more for your PR efforts.
Track results daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, and act on what you see. As you develop each new iteration of your strategy, factor in those results to ensure you keep getting better and better.
Examples of creative B2B PR campaigns
Feel like you’ve got the basics of B2B PR down? Now that you’re ready to get started, get some inspiration from these creative B2B PR campaigns.
Deloitte’s Global Impact campaign
While taking a bold, values-focused stance is becoming more popular among B2B brands, it’s still not the norm—yet. Up until recently, conventional wisdom held that B2B buyers cared much more about the product and its practical value, not the brand’s social values. And why take the risk of alienating customers, anyway?
Of course, now we know that B2B buyers do care about supporting brands that share their values— a lot. Deloitte chose to highlight those values and the positive impact it has on its clients and the world at large with this video, highlighting the company’s just-released Global Impact Report.
Drift’s human-focused PR/marketing strategy
It’s tough to stand out among the noise in the highly competitive, saturated tech sector. In 2013, there were just 100 marketing technology companies globally. By 2019, the industry exploded to the tune of over 7,000 martech companies.
Drift founder David Cancel was looking for a way to differentiate Drift from the rest of the industry. So he set out to humanize his brand in a highly technical space. As a result, Drift centers its PR and marketing messaging more around the people they’re serving, than the tech they’re providing.
Especially in industries like B2B tech that often lack a human element, this strategy, when done right, can create major brand trust and affinity. In B2B content marketing, showcase your human side — it’ll help customers relate and encourage them to connect.
IBM teaching quantum computing
When in doubt, educate!
Back in 2018, IBM partnered with Wired magazine to create a fun, informative video featuring one of IBM’s scientists, Dr. Talia Gershon, explaining quantum computing. In the video, which has racked up more than 6.8 million views, Dr. Gershon explains the concept at five different levels of difficulty, first to a child, then a teenager, an undergraduate student, a graduate student, and a professional.
From its release, it was considered a major success in terms of both brand exposure and practicing strong thought leadership.
After all this, we’re sure you’re just itching to start sending out pitches. If you need some help getting that B2B PR momentum going, reach out any time. We’d love to work alongside you!