B2B PR Essentials and Tips

B2B PR involves getting press, including news coverage on TV. That's why this image of a light green TV is being used for this blog on B2B PR strategies - TJ to update
B2B PR involves getting press, including news coverage on TV. That's why this image of a light green TV is being used for this blog on B2B PR strategies - TJ to update

Business to business (B2B) public relations shares a lot of similarities to business to consumer (B2C) public relations. But there are nuances that PR professionals need to know to maximize their B2B PR strategies. The biggest difference: the target audience.

B2B companies sell to other businesses. Customers aren’t making personal buying decisions, but rather decisions that will affect the entire company. The stakes are higher. More decision-makers are involved. Buying cycles are longer. And business customers are increasingly more discerning about the companies they do business with.

What does all of this mean for your B2B PR and marketing strategy? Let’s look at the differences that matter most and how you can tailor your PR to your business customers.

Table of Contents:

What Is B2B PR and How Is It Different from B2C PR?

Two business professionals shaking hands over a B2B marketing deal.

A B2B company is simply one that sells to other businesses rather than general consumers. Therefore, we can define business-to-business public relations as PR that’s tailored to B2B companies.

Companies use B2B PR in a number of ways:

B2B PR differs from B2C PR in that it’s largely driven by relationships. While the goal of B2C PR is to build brand awareness, B2B PR aims to build trust. It’s less about products and more about results.  

PR pros emphasize good communication with other businesses and show buyers how your company adds value. This means you’ll need a firm grip on what’s important to your target audience and what drives them to buy.

Check out this blog for more on the differences between B2B marketing and B2B sales.

Earned, Owned, Shared, and Paid Media Defined

The PESO model is a north star for PR pros, helping classify your media coverage into four key buckets. There is a lot of nuance between them, so each bucket should be taken with a grain of salt but for the most part, they serve as great categories for tracking where your coverage is coming from, which is taking the most from your budget, which is providing the best conversions, contributing to sales vs brand awareness metrics like social media engagement, etc.

Here's a breakdown of earned, owned, shared, and paid media defined, and how to leverage it for you B2B PR strategy:

Earned media

“A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

In a nutshell, earned media is: Publicity gained from word of mouth, online reviews, and blogger, press, and influencer relations. It’s a third-party endorsement of your brand.

Leveraging earned media

Because you have less control over this type of media, it can be one of the trickiest to master. You can’t simply ask someone to plug your product or service. As the name suggests, you must earn it.

How can you do this without sounding, well, desperate?

Simply put, you need to to be a friend to get a friend.

If you want to get noticed by bloggers who will promote your brand, start by reaching out to those whose work you truly admire. These are the ones that whose email updates make it past your automatic "delete" process. The ones who get you thinking about your industry and who inspire you.

Reach out to these bloggers via social media and leave comments on their posts.

Next, join HARO (Help a Reporter Out). This service notifies you when a reporter is looking for an industry expert to quote in a piece.

Lastly, make it easy for others to like you by responding graciously on social media sites, leaving positive LinkedIn endorsements for those you’ve collaborated with on projects, and promoting thought leaders on social media.

Owned media

Owned media is content that you have created, and that you own. Examples of owned media include:

Blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, case studies, ebooks, and other landing pages on your website.

Leveraging owned media:

Owned media is easier in the sense that you have complete control over how you create and use each piece of content. But you need to think strategically when promoting it to a wider audience, and watch your analytics carefully to make sure you're getting the most out of each piece of content.

  • Have a purpose for each piece of content. Are you trying to get new leads? Nurture existing leads? Increase brand awareness?
  • Try to produce a variety of visual and audio content, such as videos, images, podcasts, or infographics.
  • Write for both search engines and people. When you write a headline, ask yourself if you would click on it (but it's important to avoid clickbait!).
  • Attach analytics to each piece of content in order to gauge interest in the topic you’re promoting.

Shared Media

Shared media, has become one of the most popular and cost effective channels for PR. It includes posts on social sharing sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or information-sharing avenues like forums or news comment sections, qualify as "shared media".

Leveraging shared media

With new changes to social platforms coming almost daily, it can be hard to keep up. However, there are a few good rules of thumb when it comes to making the most of shared media as a B2B company (as shared media is the most similar to earned media, most of these tips apply to both).

  • Encourage UGC and word-of-mouth by responding and re-sharing when someone tags you or mentions your products.
  • Participate in co-branded campaigns with other top leaders in related industries.
  • Establish a strong online community through robust social media efforts and strategic posting.

Paid media has changed quite a lot over the years. While you might think of paid media as print, TV, or radio advertising, it has evolved to include many more digital and direct avenues as well.

Today, effective means of paid media include:

  • Native advertising
  • Social media campaigns
  • Google Adwords
  • Retargeting ads

How to Leverage Paid Media:

Paid media is the one method many don’t want to acknowledge. Perhaps it’s because they see so many other effective PR methods that are virtually free.

However, paid media is equally important. One reason for this is because paid media is a better bet when searching for new buyers that never heard of your brand.

Paid social media campaigns for example can reach those who are interested in your industry, not just in your personal brand. These prospects may not be searching for you online, but now Facebook has made them aware of your presence without their ever navigating off the same page they use to communicate with loved ones.

Likewise, paying to have your blog posts distributed via native advertising allows your expertise to reach a wide audience. Learn more about how that works in my recent blog post on native advertising.

Essentials of a B2B PR Tool Kit

B2B PR tool kit infographic.

B2B PR should find ways to incorporate all of the above types of media. Depending on your specific goals, metrics, and team structure, one or two may be more weighted than the others, but it's very important not to put all your media eggs in one basket. There are many moving parts in a B2B communication strategy, but they can be supported by a growing number of strategies.

A PR pro might use any combination of the following:

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea as to how expansive B2B PR can be! Tip: Read this blog to learn more about the best PR tools out there.

Many PR strategies begin with strong media relations. Having good relationships with the media, journalists, news outlets, and bloggers gives you a platform where you can promote your content.

The other non-negotiable is a PR reporting tool. All the press releases and other content you create aren’t effective if no one sees them. Using a PR reporting tool allows you to distribute your message at scale. What’s more, it collects important metrics and KPIs on your behalf so you can see how your message performs.

Top Strategies for B2B PR Campaigns

Writing a press release or creating a video for media outlets is just part of the process. For your B2B PR campaigns to pay off big, consider the following strategies:

Share your PR on social media

Social media quote bubbles.

Exposure is the name of the PR game. B2B companies are fighting for the attention of busy decision-makers. Showing up in places where they already are, like social media, is key to breaking through the noise.

Your social media channels can help you create 1-to-many conversations and reach a large audience quickly. For a B2B target audience, stick to social networks that cater to professionals, like LinkedIn. In fact, research shows that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn!

What’s more, LinkedIn can be an excellent place to connect directly with journalists, bloggers, and B2B content creators. Join relevant groups, include useful hashtags in your posts, and keep your audience up-to-date on what your company is doing.

Go for SEO on your PR campaigns

Search engine optimization, or SEO, isn’t just for web pages and blogs. It can also be a helpful strategy in your business-to-business public relations.

Research shows that the number one result on Google gets more than 30% of all clicks. The majority of clicks will go to results on Page 1, while only 0.78% of users clicked on Page 2 results.

Ranking high on Google is free website traffic. People who are curious about your company, an event you’re participating in, or something newsworthy that relates to your company can find your content via search if it’s well optimized.

SEO is multifaceted and can be complex. This checklist will help make your public relations content more Google-friendly:

  • Use a strong keyword in the title and throughout the content
  • Frontload your keyword in the title
  • Include related keywords in the content
  • Include a meta title (~80 characters) and meta description (~158 characters)
  • Add visual elements
  • Use a short URL
  • Link to relevant internal and external sources

Do these things and your content will have a better chance of ranking higher in the right Google searches.

Writing SEO content isn't the easiest task, but we hosted a webinar on how to leverage SEO in PR. Check it out!

Leverage an influencer in your B2B PR

Influencer setting up for a podcast.

When many PR pros think about influencer marketing, they envision a pseudo-celebrity with thousands or even millions of followers. They promote products directly to the audience to help you gain credibility.

B2B influencer marketing is a little different. For starters, B2B influencers are those who are typically ingrained in your industry and trusted by professionals, not consumers. They are often seen as thought leaders and can be companies or individuals.

Working with B2B influencers takes a little extra effort, too. For a successful relationship, they need to understand your target audience, goals, and product or service. Have them try out your product to get a feel for how other people use it. Have open conversations about your company’s mission and what you hope to achieve by using their influence in your public relations strategy.

Dedicate a section on your website to PR

Just as your website has a section for blog articles, you should consider adding a separate section for PR. This is where all of your press releases, case studies, media coverage, and company announcements will live. This gives companies a tidy, organized place to learn more about your company through your public relations instead of your marketing.

As an added bonus, hosting all of your PR content on your own website can help you drive more free traffic from Google.

But won’t you get penalized for having duplicate content on your website? Not if you syndicate it. Here’s a helpful guide on how to syndicate content without harming your SEO.

7 Tips Every B2B Public Relations Professional Should Know

Want to maximize your PR campaigns even more? Put these tried-and-true tips and practices to good use in gaining more media coverage and growing your reputation:

1. Set a clear end-goal and work backward

Path up a mountain.

Every campaign starts with a goal in mind. What exactly do you want from your PR? A better reputation? To be seen as a thought leader? To improve stakeholder relationships?

Each of these are great goals to have. But it will take unique approaches to achieve them. Whatever your end game, turn it into smaller, manageable goals that will help you reach a bigger end result.

For example, if you want to improve your reputation, then you might highlight a charity event or a new sustainability commitment.

Part of your campaign might include a headline that will put you on the front page. Maybe something like “Local B2B Firm Meets Goal of Feeding 1,000 Hungry Local Families.” Then build the rest of your blog post, press release, or other content around that. Pitch your story to various outlets to get media coverage. Share the published story on social media, email newsletters, and your company website.

When you have an end goal to pursue, you may find it easier to get buy-in from your C-suite or other participants.

2. Get more mileage from every piece of content

You put a lot of work into your content creation. That’s why no content should ever have a hard “end date.” Once you hit Publish, there’s a lot you can do to extend its usefulness.

For example, make your content easy to share. Include “click to tweet” links of key snippets that people can share on their own Twitter feeds. Or, create social media images with influential parts of your content that others in your industry will be interested in sharing.

Content that is recyclable and magnetic can help you get more from your efforts and resources.

Fish jumping from one bowl to another.

Content creators in your industry are doing a lot of the hard work for you, and they don’t even know it. Use tools like BuzzSumo or SEMRush to find high-performing content in your area. Then, give that content your own upgrade to make it even better.

Add additional information, link to better sources (including your own content!), include better graphics, and flex your own expertise.

Once you have a winning piece of content, distribute it like crazy. Get as many eyes on it as possible: social media, email, your website, and industry partners. Your competitors will have done you an unintended favor.

4. Encourage social shares in exchange for content access

The old-school gated content method still works well for lead generation. But if PR is your goal, consider trading the gate for a social share. Instead of having users input an email address, let them access special content if they share it on social media first.

This gives you an easy way to expand your content’s reach without really trying. It will also give you an idea as to how valuable your content is based on how willing people are to share it.

5. Embrace smaller niche communities

Large carrot and small carrot.

Don’t spend all your time trying to make a splash in larger industry communities. Smaller niches, like those on LinkedIn, can be just as powerful. They give you more of a chance to engage and provide value to others on topics they care about.

We see smaller communities as sturdy stepping stones to bigger thought leadership opportunities. Your participation allows you to establish yourself as an industry authority. Create brand awareness every time you share your valuable content.

6. Expand your media options

Every audience has their own preferences for listening, viewing, and engaging with content. Certain types of content are better suited for certain media outlets compared to others. The more options you have to choose from, the more chances you have of getting your content seen by the right people at the right time.

For example, do you have relationships with both local and national outlets? Do you have connections with more than one website owner? Are you only using Facebook for PR or are there other social networks in your mix? Would your announcement be better received in a podcast vs. a blog?

You don’t have to share all of your messages across all of your media partners every time. But the more opportunities you have to share, the more strategic you can be about how you promote your company.

7. Make friends with rejection and keep trying

Rejection comes with the territory of public relations. When one third-party source says no or fails to email you back, don’t take it personally. It might simply be a poor fit.

Make friends with rejection. Try to figure out if the reason for the rejection is something you can influence, such as improving your messaging. Keep pitching and remember your professional reputation is on the line.

Just because you are a small B2B business doesn’t mean that your B2B PR ideas have to follow suit. Use the essentials and tips from this guide to amplify your content’s influence and achieve thought leadership success.

Want to maximize your PR even more? Get in touch with Meltwater today to access purpose-built PR media monitoring and media outreach solutions.

Loading...