B2B PR can be used to achieve a huge variety of goals, from increasing B2B sales, to expanding your audience, to making a new product launch successful.
But before companies can start setting goals like those, there’s another that needs to be supported: establishing a strong brand.
B2B PR is a critical part of branding, from establishing a good industry reputation, to expanding your reach into new geographic or demographic markets.
So what are the best ways to use B2B PR to accomplish these branding goals? Here’s our breakdown.
Why does B2B PR matter?
B2B PR matters because, in the B2B world even more than B2C, reputation matters.
Potential clients are going to do most of their research on your brand, your competitors, and the products and services you offer before you have any idea they’re even considering working with you.
That’s because the B2B buyer journey has changed—it’s longer, less linear, and requires much less interaction with your team than it used to.
So it’s up to you to give your audience what they need and want before you’re aware they need or want it.
This is why B2B PR is so important: when a potential client searches for you or your industry online, you want them to see plenty of positive press hits, solid reviews, and evidence that your company is an authoritative, established voice in your industry.
With that in mind, here are the best ways to use B2B PR to build your brand.
Publicize your brand, not your products
In the early stages of your branding efforts, it’s important to resist the temptation to focus entirely on your product or service.
The best salespeople are guided by the concept “people don’t buy features, they buy benefits.” In other words, a list of your product’s features, however innovative or cutting-edge they may be, won’t convert a customer. But knowing how those features will benefit them—that will.
By the same token, detailing your products and service offerings won’t get you far when it comes to securing press coverage, whether that’s a quote in a feature article or a spot on an industry panel.
Relevant read: Top 20 B2B Marketing Tips for a Successful Product Launch
Instead, focus on your brand itself. What’s your origin story? What are your brand’s values, and how are you living them out? And most importantly, what valuable information do you have that could help someone else, whether that’s a fellow executive, or an entrepreneur just getting started?
These are the kinds of questions that reporters, bloggers, video creators, and others want your answers to, and the key to getting those first few pieces of press coverage.
Lean hard on thought leadership
One of the most effective uses of B2B PR when you’re building your brand is to go all in on thought leadership.
What is thought leadership? It is a type of content marketing that’s based on sharing the knowledge, expertise, and/or informed opinions of an expert in any given field.
For our clients’ purposes, that expert is anyone in a leadership role at their company, who has significant experience in a particular area. That doesn’t even have to be industry-specific. A CMO at a B2B tech company, for example, could easily speak on the broader topic of B2B marketing, or B2B marketing post-pandemic, or marketing to tech aficionados.
To jump start your thought leadership, begin with your owned media—your blog, your social media profiles, or a Medium profile.
For any thought leadership content, it’s important to identify by name and by photo (if possible) the person whom the information will be coming from.
While it may work to post a blog under the author “admin” sometimes, your thought leadership pieces must come from a single person (or multiple individuals, if you’re developing thought leadership campaigns for more than one person at your brand).
If you have any outlets that allow you to submit opinion pieces or columns, focus on those as well. As you begin to grow your thought leadership following, you can start pitching publications and refer journalists to that work to show your brand’s authority and influence in your industry.
Don’t underestimate the power of participation
One of the great things about live streams, social audio, and virtual conferences, events, and happy hours is that they’ve made it easier than ever to participate in important, trending conversations.
One of our own clients, for example, recently participated in a Twitter Spaces event with reporters from various top-tier publications—not as a presenter, but simply as an attendee, to learn some new information. He asked a question that quickly shot up to the #1 spot and ended up getting attention for his brand not only from the Axios reporter leading the chat, but from other reporters from NPR, CNN, and several other major outlets.
How do you find the right events to participate in?
Search LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram for relevant live streams, and Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces for audio events that are a good match for your brand (in other words: are relevant to both you and to your audience).
By engaging authentically and doing your best to offer whatever value you can, you’ll be building your brand almost effortlessly—and you may attract some heavy-hitter reporters to your story, as well.
Mine your own content for B2B PR angles
There are countless reasons to repurpose your content, but one that is the most relevant to your B2B PR efforts is: to find solid angles to pitch.
Again, you’re focusing on your brand rather than your product or service, so you’ll want to find content that reflects the essentials about your brand and company.
Did you revamp your hiring practices in order to make your staff more diverse? Take the blog post you wrote about it and turn it into a two- to three-sentence pitch.
Did you innovate something that resulted in a major benefit to another person or group—increase in quality of life, or removal or lowering of some kind of obstacle? Develop a pitch around that story.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to start from scratch when you’re developing your B2B PR campaign. You probably have a lot to work with sitting right there on your website.
Invest in your community
When you consider that B2B PR is all about building credibility, then it’s easy to see why investing in your community—whether that’s your industry at large, your niche, or your local community—is so important.
People can read great quotes from your CEO all day, but if they’re not seeing those statements backed up by real action, they’ll chalk it up to lip service and move on to another brand.
If one of your values is “supporting our employees” then it’s important that you’re actually doing that in a visible way. Make sure you’re sharing pictures from your employee volunteer days, or have your HR director write a blog post or opinion piece on why supporting employee education is so important. Likewise, if your brand says it embraces sustainability, show how you’re actually doing that.
The goal is not to be self-promotional, but to show that you actually mean what you say and are willing to put in the effort to live those values.
Now, how does all this lead to successful B2B PR?
First, it helps solidify your brand’s place in your industry as an invested contributor, not a fly-by-night company that’s only looking to make sales.
Second, it gets your name out in the public for something that will interest a wider audience than an announcement of your new product, or a press release about your new CTO. If you’re talking about the importance of workforce development, that’s something that’s applicable to people from all industries. And as you put more of that content out there, that increases your name recognition, boosts your reputation, and gives you a greater chance of attracting attention from publications, blogs, and creators.
B2B PR can give your brand the boost it needs to grab market share and create a sustainable, long-term relationship with your customers. Need a hand? Contact us!