One of the most important things for a business – especially in a competitive industry – is to build a good brand image. Why? This makes it possible to stand out, to gain credibility, to establish a positioning. There are several ways to establish a brand image, and the one we have chosen to explain to you here is press relations.
It can be difficult for companies to know when to use media relations in a business-to-business context. B2B media relations encompass many purposes, and knowing how, where and when to use them can be a challenge for companies. So what is it? How it works? We tell you everything in this article.
1. Press Relations: What is it?
1.1 Definition of Press Relations
If we talk about it in a brand image context, it’s because press relations are the proactive management of your reputation. They are the art – or science – of establishing and promoting a favorable relationship with the public.
Press relations (or public relations) define the actions aimed at the press initiated by companies to obtain favorable media coverage. This is an important communication process, intended to generate a positive opinion among your target audience and customers. Get them to think and speak positively about your business!
Imagine that you are mentioned in Forbes Magazine. You then benefit from its image and its authority, and you gain visibility and credibility with the community of this economic magazine. This is only positive for you.
This discipline encompasses many tactics, such as:
• the sending releases press;
• the organization of conferences press;
• The organization of more ambitious events.
1.2 Press relations vs. classic advertising: some differences
Advertising is paid for, press coverage is earned
Much of the field of public relations involves working with the media. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, advertising space pays off where editorial space isn’t – it pays off! We tell you how in the rest of this article.
Speaking of numbers, traditionally the cost of advertising has largely exceeded the cost of press relations, both in terms of development and implementation; but digital media and technology have changed this situation.
Advertising promotes a product, PR promotes a brand
Advertising seeks to focus on products or services to drive action, with the ultimate goal of advertising being the purchase. Press relations, for their part, seek to promote or maintain a positive image of the company. Like all branding techniques, the goal is brand awareness, visibility and reputation.
Advertising is controlled, unlike PR
The company has full control over the advertisements it broadcasts, but not over the press coverage it generates, the media always having the last word. Press coverage can also be initiated by the company, but it can also be suffered – in the event of a crisis and therefore negative media coverage.
The impact can turn out to be all the more important as it can turn against a company! Also, communication with editorial contacts must be transparent and targeted.
Advertising guarantees you a placement, PR does not guarantee anything
You have no guarantee that the cover will appear – it’s up to the editor to decide whether the content is likely to add value to their media channel (magazine, program or blog) or not.
Readers prefer PR to advertising
In general, readers of that magazine, program or blog consider editorial content to be of more value if it has been reviewed by a professional journalist in a specialized industry rather than if it is merely the result of an advertisement. Paying.
If your marketing message has clearly been paid for, it will inspire less confidence than an article published independently in the media.
1.3 B2B vs. B2C
B2B companies offer different products and services, requiring unique PR tactics aimed at other companies rather than consumers.
If you are reading this article, you are considering a media relations strategy. However, most of the articles dealing with this subject are mainly aimed at B2C companies.
To avoid making the mistake of positioning yourself as B2C, here are the differences to keep in mind when establishing your PR strategy.
A long sales cycle
The sales cycle can last for years in B2B. Since products and services sold to other businesses often represent a large investment or involve contracts that can last for several years, the buying process has nothing to do with impulse buying by consumers. For example, a company that sells global IT services will often have to deal with slow buyers.
Education (B2B) vs. entertainment (B2C)
The nature of business-to-business relationships is more informational than personal. While entertainment is the primary role of B2C media, the role of B2B media is much more educational. The tone is therefore certainly not the same! Consumer marketing, focused on emotion, is less relevant; your speech will be factual.
B2B media are more niche than B2C
As they aim at educating businesses, B2B media are much more specialized than B2C. Indeed, in a women’s magazine, you can find a fashion article, followed by an interview with an influential person and end up on a personality test. In a marketing magazine, it will only be about customer cases, automation software – like Plaza, for example -, and the last law that was passed concerning data processing… Everything will revolve around marketing!
2. The advantages of B2B Press Relations
You ask yourself “Why do I have to do the press relations?” Or “What will public relations do for my business?” “?
The advantages of PR are numerous, among which:
• convey a clear brand message ;
• increase the credibility of your brand;
• promote its brand;
• support its marketing campaigns (by promoting a study or a white paper, for example);
• Get branding associated with the media – as it was when you imagine yourself published in Forbes.
In short, media relations have the power to put your brand first. They will provide it with independent validation from the sector in which you work; the credibility that emerges from getting third party endorsement is priceless.
3. Set up your B2B Press Relations strategy
3.1 Define your goal
Do you know what you wish you had achieved by the end of the day? Do you clearly know what your main goal at work is at the moment? Have you thought about what you want to put in place in five years?
Set specific goals. Your objective must be clear and well defined: is it to become an opinion leader on a topic? Or maybe to put forward a unique point of view?
3.2 Identify your audience
Defining who your audience is a crucial first step in creating a media relations strategy. However, many companies of plastic granules traders in china find it difficult to clearly identify their audience. Do you want to reach your end users or the decision makers in their business?
Define your Buyer Personas. Once you really know your audience, you know exactly what to say in your communication. And this is precisely the next point.
3.3 Determine your key message
Now that you know your target audience, you can imagine the message that will meet their expectations – or exceed them!
The success of a B2B PR strategy depends on the message it delivers, as the message refers to how an organization communicates with its target audience to talk about themselves and what they do.
A clear, consistent, and empathetic message can make the difference between major success and complete failure. Accordingly, make sure your main message is believable, easy to remember, and understandable. Watch out for the jargon in your sector! It is true that you want to position yourself as a confirmed expert, but there is no point in using too specific a vocabulary, think of popularizing.
3.4 Identify the media to target
Okay, so you have all the elements: objective, audience, and message.
All you have to do is decide which type (s) of media you want to approach, and then improve your chances of being noticed by them.
All target audiences have their reading, listening and viewing behaviors. Some age groups enjoy watching content online, others prefer to read different publications, and some prefer to engage with certain media over others. You must therefore look for the distribution channel that your target audience likes the most: international, local, national, regional…
It will then be a question of drawing up two lists:
• a list of the most relevant media ;
• A list of journalists working within these media.
To help you, we give you our little tip: find out where your competitors are mentioned and which journalists or bloggers are talking about them. This will give you a more precise idea of the actions to be taken.
3.5 Create long-term relationships
If you’ve been tempted to use PR to create brief moments of activity for your business, know that a long-term PR strategy can help you achieve the continuous and meaningful results you need to do. Take your business to the next level.
We will even say that press relations are more effective in the long term! After a first contact and / or after a first publication, take the time to maintain the relationship with your journalists, by providing them with exclusive quality content for example.
A true PR strategy relies on media relations, constant engagement, continuous storytelling and frequent communication.
4. Examples of winning B2B press relations strategies
4.1 Customer storytelling to make your prospects dream
Who doesn’t like success stories? Customer case studies can make great content. It’s up to you to decide on the format – interview or case study, for example – to detail a company’s winning strategy. It is in particular a practice that communication agencies use a lot with the specialized press, for example, to promote the work accomplished with their clients and the results generated.
You can also integrate your customers into your strategy in a more creative way. The best example we can give you is the Store Kit campaign, a cash register supplier. Store kit created the Map of London Underground by the Cheapest Pinole – London’s cheapest beer underground map, highlighting the bars the company works with – and those it would like to work with. When Store Kit finished researching and drawing the blueprints, the company had several articles published to promote this map.
The reach has been such that not only bar owners – the target, therefore – have converted, but even the general public has heard of the brand. This is a one-time content effort! In the end, this PR campaign also helped significantly boost their website authority and organic search performance.
4.2 News jacking to make yourself visible
News jacking is the practice of associating your brand with a current event in order to gain media attention and increase brand visibility.
Concretely, it is a question of being grafted on a hot topical subject by bringing an added value: interesting data, a point of view, advice … For example, when the RGPD was imposed in 2018, many consulting firms spoke in the press and thus gave their advice to cope with the change.
Another more amusing example is the lesson Shutterstock gave to Fire Festival, whose promotional video had been disproportionately expensive. On the occasion of this great event, Shutterstock created what could have been the commercial video of the festival, edited exclusively with footage taken from their site.
“We thought this would be a great way to show marketers and creative teams that you can really create anything from our 12 million music videos, and tens of thousands of music tracks from our library.”
4.3 Exclusive studies and research to educate your prospects
The press release remains the flagship tool of public relations, as details and information about a complex product can be properly formulated in such content. On the other hand, besides copywriting, a wider range of content can help gain more traction.
Business decision makers around the world today recognize how valuable data can be for their expansion strategy. They are looking for information oriented towards data. The numbers are all that is true!
Produce exclusive data, whether through surveys or through an analytical study. Then – why not? – turn it into an infographic! The figures are indeed concrete but we must admit that they are not always very digestible … The public relations sector has identified this problem of data complexity and has turned to computer graphics. It’s a practice that works every time.
4.4 Taking a strong position to cause controversy
Adopting a unique and divisive point of view on a subject is always a good way to bring new content to journalists.
A lot of SEO agencies publish a provocative column every year like “SEO is dead!” “. It goes without saying that a title of this caliber has for main purpose only to appeal to the reader, to ultimately deliver a more diluted point on the new methods of natural referencing in order to attract the reader.
There is no bad time to resort to public relations! B2B PR tactics should be used consistently rather than intermittently. Strategic tactics can help B2B companies create and shape their public image, as well as maintain their reputation over the long term.
B2B PR strategies help increase brand awareness, promote individual campaigns and events, support fundraising efforts, and generate interest in new products.