The objective of public relations is to cultivate and maintain a positive reputation for your company. PR professionals achieve this by building awareness and credibility of your organization while establishing your leadership and team members as experts in your industry and the markets you serve. PR also gets the word out about your company’s new or current products, services, events and people.
While PR is often thought of as a B2C marketing practice, it plays a critical role in B2B communications as well. This blog presents important ways your company can use PR and how it fits into an integrated B2B marketing program.
PR Marketing and Trade Publications
B2B companies are very industry focused, and trade journals are a good place to find a specific targeted audience. In a B2B setting, PR involves building relationships with key trade publications to get your company featured in their journal. PR teams communicate with editors, find editorial opportunities and book articles. They work with client subject matter experts to research and write the content. The supporting design team often helps with charts, tables, figures and imagery. To share current news about your company, PR specialists create and distribute press releases to a focused list of relevant journals for effective connection to their readers.
Trade publications are primarily online, although some continue to produce printed journals. They offer a wide range of content in addition to news and articles such as podcasts, webinars, white papers and videos. All these types of content attract industry-specific visitors. The PR marketing team works with publications to give them content they can use in their email blasts or for posts on their social media accounts.
When the content appears on the publication’s site or social media page, it usually includes a link to your company’s website or a specific product page. These actions provide recognition of your company and an opportunity to generate traffic to your website from a relevant audience.
PR and Social Media Working Together
Managing your organic social media efforts is a large part of a PR program because it helps in building credibility and trust while expanding company awareness.
Social media gives your company a chance to showcase your experts and offerings and explain what sets you ahead of the competition. It is also a great place to highlight company values such as environmental sustainability, employee well-being, and community involvement.
Organic social media educates followers and visitors through posts that link to informational content pieces created for digital marketing programs. However, this by itself is not enough. A few years ago, many major social media platforms changed their algorithms to favor people rather than company profiles in a news feed. As a result, companies in all industries find it more challenging to reach their target audience organically on social media.
To combat this, utilize paid social media advertising. Paid social is when you pay to promote your post to a specific audience. You can focus on audiences based on job title, location, interests and other key demographics. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram all support paid advertising. It also lets you use lookalike targeting to get better results. Lookalike targeting involves uploading customer lists to LinkedIn or another social media platform so the system can create an audience that closely resembles your existing customers. As a result, this method helps you build your audience and reach new potential leads who are likely interested in what your company offers.
Integrating PR into a Bigger Marketing Program
An integrated B2B marketing plan aims to reach target personas across key markets to generate recognition, inquiries and qualified leads. PR and marketing teams work together to develop strategic communications with consistent messaging for tactics such as demand-generating content, social media, trade show support, internal correspondence and email campaigns, to name a few.
An integrated marketing strategy that uses many aligned tactics has always been important. Prospects have many B2B purchasing choices and can quickly go online to research the best fit for their needs. Without an integrated marketing strategy that establishes goals, messaging, tactics and desired outcomes, your company can quickly get buried by the competition. PR helps to cultivate a company’s identity that attracts prospects and retains existing customers.
Getting the Most Out of Content
If your marketing team is generating a lot of quality content, there are many ways to distribute these pieces to reach specific audiences and get multiple uses out of each piece – and PR can help.
PR specialists can share links to informative assets like videos, eBooks, infographics and white papers on organic social media. Or, pieces of the content, such as a video, can be broken into shorter bites that can stand alone and be posted on social.
Topics covered in white papers and eBooks can be pitched to trade publication editors for article consideration. Your published and posted article boosts awareness of your company’s capabilities and expertise in the field – and provides extra mileage for your content. And because trade journals are hyper-focused on specific industries, they are already trusted resources for gathering information.
Public relations is an important part of an integrated B2B marketing strategy because its tactics support the greater whole. To learn how Schubert B2B can help you develop a comprehensive winning marketing plan, visit our integrated programs page.
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.