By Jeff Cheatham
Have you considered the value of PR for your marketing strategy? Perhaps it’s time.
Over the last decade, as B2B brands fully embraced the digitization of their respective industries, content development and marketing initiatives have become much more important. The rapid advancement of high-tech platforms and measurement tools allows us to enhance and optimize our ROI, even in real time. Today, brands are making the most of their marketing spend, prioritizing resources for website design and functionality, content development, SEO performance, social media, and ad buys (traditional and digital). Then there’s public relations, which often isn’t given the precedence it deserves – primarily due to misconceptions about the value a quality PR campaign holds.
The B2B world still has some catching up to do on the PR front, especially if it hopes to match the success enjoyed by consumer-facing retail brands. To that end, we present four convincing arguments for launching a brand-based PR campaign.
Authenticity and Trust Aren’t Bought. They’re Earned.
Essentially, there are two kinds of media, paid and earned. Paid media is advertising, something that B2B brands know, understand, and have total control over. Earned media is PR, a marketing asset that many brands have yet to fully grasp. With both types of media, what’s really at stake is third-party validation from consumers or target audiences. Though here’s a big difference: your audiences are well aware that your advertising is a paid quid pro quo effort. However, it’s not the same with PR. When your brand’s credibility is on the line, PR can be 90% more effective in getting your message across than advertising. Think of it this way: if you say you’re great, that’s bragging. If J.D. Power & Associates says you’re great, that’s third-party validation.
Don’t Avoid What You Don’t Understand.
Admittedly, many B2B companies haven’t invested in public relations because they don’t understand how it works on a fundamental level. Misperceptions are still prevalent, including how much it costs (a fortune!), its value (how do we measure ROI for PR?), and asset allocation (we don’t have the staff to dedicate to it). If you’re still basing your idea of PR from watching Darrin Stephens on “Bewitched” reruns, you’ve got a lot to catch up on.
PR Enhances Audience Engagement.
According to a recent survey from Deloitte Insights, an overwhelming majority of Millennials and Gen Z prefer brands and companies who address social inequalities and sustainable business practices. That’s a little hard to do in a magazine ad, but a byline authored by the brand’s thought leadership team can easily communicate your values, initiatives, and the greater purpose your target audiences expect to hear from today’s forward-thinking companies.
Leave it to the Pros.
A great deal of B2B brands have very capable in-house marketing departments, with personnel assigned to handle specific tasks in the communications mix. Others outsource certain elements of their content development and marketing programs to specific industry specialists. But unless you’re working with an experienced public relations team – internal or not – you simply won’t find the same success as PR professionals. PR is a relationship-driven business, and it takes time to build and nurture connections with the decision-makers of your preferred media outlets. There are appropriate media contacts, and inappropriate ones, which many marketers unfortunately discover the hard way. Also, subscription-based media database software, in and of itself, is a big spend – and that’s not including training team members how to use it effectively. Knowledgeable and skilled PR people have an old adage they love to trot out, but only at the most appropriate of times. “PR isn’t that hard. Until you try to do it yourself.”
In terms of effort, you should compare public relations campaigns to that of a marathon, not a sprint. For B2B companies, this means carefully planned objectives and media outreach tactics designed to gain the trust of your most valuable audience — core customers and decision-makers. Over time, Paige Black has developed and maintained a reputation for conducting PR campaigns that achieve desirable results for our B2B clients, and we can do the same for you.
Are you getting the message out about your brand’s value proposition and key differentiators? In today’s unfiltered and manic 24-hour news cycle, it’s become more important than ever for brands to build credibility, authenticity, and trust. PR has proven to be an extremely effective vehicle for doing just that. So, perhaps it’s time to drop the arguments, review the benefits, and consider adding PR to your own marketing strategy.
If you need help getting started, contact us here.
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