When reporting on PR placements, B2B public relations professionals are often asked to classify them as print, online or social media, in that order. Sort of like win, place and show – or gold, silver and bronze. To some, an online or social media trade pickup isn’t considered as significant as publication in a print journal. However, PR includes so many more options than making the pages of a trade journal. That’s why digital placements have become a valuable part of B2B public relations.
The decline of print has led to viable digital B2B PR opportunities. Print pubs have companion websites or have become web-only entities in their own right. Many have active social media components that allow for real-time engagement with the editors, writers and audience. Blogs, industry-related sites, LinkedIn professional communities and trade associations offer additional places to pitch content. Like print placements, digital pickups foster awareness of your company among prospects, industry partners and business leaders.
Digital PR placements are valuable to B2B companies because they:
- Link directly to your website or product page;
- Show up in Internet searches, long after they are initially posted;
- Let readers respond to calls to action with a click;
- Make it easier to share your content; and
- Allow for audience engagement via replies, likes and comments.
The process of pitching digital and print content is similar. First, the content has to offer useful material to the reader. Industry sites and blogs still have a “gatekeeper” – an editor who wants only the best information to share with the audience. The concept of finding a good fit for your news based upon the editor’s needs remains the same. B2B PR professionals have to do their research to get it right. Social media outlets for industry publications, associations and influencers also have gatekeepers. Although you don’t pitch your content to them, they have monitors at the helm who can determine whether to keep or kill your posts for a variety of reasons including relevancy and appropriateness.
Showing the Value
We find an effective way to weigh qualitative PR placement results is to have a clearly articulated plan with desired goals before starting your media outreach. What are your PR placement goals – landing product descriptions; being quoted as a source; bylined articles? How many and in what time frame? Value can be established by comparing outcomes to goals for a specific period. It’s helpful also to identify the key publications, websites, blogs and social media channels that you want to target.
As with securing medial placements in print trade publications, expanding into relevant digital media allows you to grow brand awareness and establish your authority in the industries you serve. Keep in mind that PR alone isn’t necessarily a direct sales generator. Rather, it’s an engagement and awareness initiator. Digital media offers an evolving twist on tried-and-true PR pitching and placements that B2B marketers can no longer discount as a runner-up to publication in print.
What are your thoughts on B2B PR placements in digital media versus print trade pubs? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Lisa Goetz 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.