For many of us, the dawn of a new year is like a clean slate. My personal resolutions for 2015 include changing up my stale exercise routine, getting out of the house more (especially during the cold winter months) and listening more intently to friends, family and colleagues. As I write this on the first day of work this year, it occurs to me that these goals could apply to B2B public relations. Here’s what I mean:

1. Create a PR Fitness Plan

Set specific, attainable B2B PR goals from the outset. That way, you have something to measure against as the year moves forward. Identify what you want your B2B PR to achieve, the target audience, the timeframe for each initiative and the metrics you will use to measure outcomes. Also, consider the most effective PR tools for each message and goal. These could include press releases, product spotlights, articles, case studies, expert interviews, social media, trade show publicity, and blog content. Each month or quarter, evaluate your progress and make adjustments to keep your plan on track.

For example, instead of generally stating your desire to increase placements in trade journals, identify a designated number of target publications and create pitches to match themes listed in their editorial calendars. Or, if your goal is to post more content on your company’s blog, make you sure you determine:

  • Your audience (prospects, current clients, industry peers)
  • The purpose of your blog (to educate customers, announce company news, provide product information)
  • Where you will promote your content (social media, email blasts)

Also, figure out who will write the content and create a calendar of due dates.

2. Improve Your Social Life

B2B PR has grown beyond media coverage to encompass engagement across all media outlets. Social media allows you to educate and interact directly with customers in real time. There are many ways you can engage with followers on social media. Here are a few examples:

  • Share an item on Twitter that your customers would find newsworthy
  • Participate in a LinkedIn discussion with peers
  • Post a recent presentation on SlideShare
  • Provide a how-to video on YouTube

All of the above positions your company as an active industry participant and leader in your area of expertise.

3. Listen to Others

Whether you serve one industry or many, in 2015, shift your PR focus from your company to your customers’ needs. Take time early in the year to evaluate their markets and challenges. Then, target your B2B PR around providing solutions to alleviate their problems.

Get insight straight from the source by providing customers with opportunities to relay feedback. Survey your sales representatives and service technicians. Use social media to monitor what people in your customers’ industries are talking about. Follow market-specific news sources and trade shows. And, pay attention to what your competitors are talking about in relation to customer segments that you share.

Have something to add? Please leave a comment or connect with us on Twitter @Schubert_b2b.

Lisa Goetz991_goetzphoto is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.