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5 Ways to Create a Successful, Integrated B2B Marketing Campaign

Posted by Wendy Marx

Jul 27, 2016

 

3 Easy Ways Your PR Campaign Can Boost Thought Leadership

Posted by Wendy Marx

Jun 3, 2016

3 Easy Ways Your PR Campaign Can Boost Thought Leadership
“A thought leader is someone with proven expertise and experience who isn’t afraid to share it with the world without direct compensation.” ~ Jay Baer CLICK_TO_TWEET.png

Mr. Baer makes a fine point. The best thought leaders don't expect compensation for contributions to their industry. However, it certainly doesn't hurt to know that you're gaining compensation in the form of credibility and notoriety.

How To Score in B2B Media Relations

Posted by Wendy Marx

Apr 25, 2014

Any B2B company worth its stripes wants to be quoted in the news. That type of brand exposure enhances credibility and awareness. Done consistently and over time, it generates leads. The issue becomes how to get B2B media attention for your company. Here are five ways to help you score in B2B media relations. So let's get started:

media

  1. Target Reporters: The first step to getting quoted in the media is building relationships with reporters within your target industry. A great place to start is to ask your colleagues and clients what they are reading. Next, choose a handful of reporters that are creating content in those publications. Read their articles religiously and familiarize yourself with their work.

  1. Build Relationships: Once you have a handful of reporters that you're following, work to build relationships with them. This might sound like a difficult task, but the internet has made it a lot easier. Start by following them on Twitter, retweeting their posts, and commenting on their content. This will help put you on their radar and elevate your awareness with them.  

  1. Cement the relationship: After you have developed an online relationship with the target reporters through Twitter, Linkedin and blogging, take the relationship to the next level by meeting face-to-face. One way to do this is to schedule briefings around a topic you are knowledgeable about and that the reporter cares about. Try to tie this into an initiative your company is launching. Another tactic is to seek out media at industry events, conferences and trade shows.Try to get a media list from the conference organizer and arrange briefings with reporters planning to attend.  

  1. Offer Help: Once the relationship has been established continue to support your small network of reporters by tweeting their content, and posting on their blogs. Then, when a relevant news story breaks, reach out to the reporter and give a few short lines or some bullet points that can be easily repackaged into a media quote. Make sure that your content is insightful and original. Additionally, give your phone number, email address and twitter handle to the reporter in case he or she needs to get in contact with you for more information.

  1. Keep Giving:  To solidify the relationship with the target reporters, continue to help and support them. Send them story ideas and leads that will help them accomplish their goals. This will become easier as you familiarize yourself with their work and the content that they typically generate. This genuine help and support will help move you from the outskirts to the inner-circle, and will help you get more media coverage.

Can a Robot Do B2B PR?

Posted by Wendy Marx

Feb 20, 2014

What the heck is public relations?elephantimages

How a B2B Public Relations Person Can Write a Press Release that Doesn't Completely Suck

Posted by Wendy Marx

Feb 6, 2014

How B2B Public Relations Can Increase the Impact of Your Press Release

This post previously ran in a modified form on  Fast_Company-1.

Nearly 100 years old, it has been flogged, beaten and pronounced dead so many times, you would think it would finally succumb.

We're talking about the press release, also known as everyone's favorite punching bag.

Yet, despite how hated it seems to be, B2B public relations people distribute an endless stream of them on every possible subject from the launch of the latest gizmo to a new hire to a new survey.  What gives?

It's easy to scoff at, especially if it’s weighted down with formulaic writing and marketing hype that makes it bloated and dull-sounding.

Yet, consider this. The number of press releases PR Newswire, a major press release service, has distributed over the last four years has risen.

Why? Because a (well-written) press release is an effective way to tell a story, and can generate a lot of leads.

B2B Public Relations in Action

Like its cousin, the news story, a press release done right tells you everything you need to know upfront. The headline, first and perhaps second paragraph include the guts of your story: Who, What, When, Where, Why. Here’s an example of what I mean from one of my clients, lettrs:

Lettrs Launches First-Of-Its Kind Mobile App, Turning the iPhone into a Personal Writing Desk and Post Office Wherever You Are.

New York, April 23, 2013 -- Technology startup lettrs today announced the launch of the first-of-its-kind mobile app that will allow users to create, manage and deliver paper or digital letters right from their iPhone.

With the headline and first paragraph you have the gist of the story. The rest of the copy fleshes out the story if someone wants to know more. In our experience, releases like our example get read--not only by the media but also by potential leads via the search engines and social media.

Handpicked Related Content:

5 Things You Should Know About B2B PR

Of course a story can come in many flavors. A key to turning a press release from self-promotional and boring to something that pops, is to give your story a little panache. One way to do that is to hitch your headline to a star.

The sales technology company InsideSales.com is a master at that. Last year, when it wanted to announce a virtual summit, it brandished the most exciting thing it had going: its stellar speakers:

Guy Kawaski, Mike Bosworth and Jeffrey Gitomer Headline Inaugural Inside Sales Virtual Summit, shouted its headline.

According to Ken Krogue, president of InsideSales.com, the names in the headline resulted in the release being picked up by five times more sites than normal. “It had an expansive effect,” says Krogue, "carrying our brand to much higher levels."

Beyond creating awareness, a press release can generate leads. The secret to that is including a compelling call-to-action in a release. That can be anything from registering for an event to downloading an ebook, or getting something for free. In return for the freebie, be sure to require a person to fill out a brief form. You will be surprised at how many people will do just that.

Here are five tips to help you write the ultimate B2B press release:

  1. Develop and tell a coherent, compelling story. What makes your company tick? How do you delight your customers? What sets you apart from the pack?

  2. Don't just tout your product or service. Develop key messages that answer the question: Why should anyone care?

  3. Use plain English. Avoid obscuring your message by using industry jargon and talking “inside baseball.”

  4. Get your reader to engage. Use compelling elements such as data, visuals, and infographics to illustrate your points. And include a call-to-action that drives people to a landing page.

  5. Hook yourself to a star. Tie what you’re doing to something happening in the news--especially if it’s in your sector or a targeted vertical market. Shine brighter in the reflected light of someone in the news.

So next time you're ready to dismiss issuing a press release, think twice. Done right, it can help take your B2B public relations for your company from a nobody to a somebody.

Free Download Alert! The Ultimate B2B PR Checklist

[Image from Flickr user carterse]

You Know You Are in PR When...

Posted by Wendy Marx

Dec 3, 2013

7 WAYS A STARTUP CAN SCORE WITH ANY MEDIA OPPORTUNITY

Posted by wendyama

Aug 6, 2013

This post originally appeared in a slightly different version on
Fast-Company-logo
Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 2.24.28 PM

A recent article in the New York Times reminds us that we are living in a culture of coaching. There are coaches to clean out your closet, build your personal brand, firm your abs, get your child that dream internship…anything you could ever imagine.

Yet, when it comes to doing interviews, many people tend to feel they can wing it without the benefit of of a mentor or coach. Because it approximates the format of a conversation, it’s easy to view a media interview as a simple conversation. Don’t.

A journalist will have a particular objective in interviewing you, and it is most likely not what you had in mind. The journalist or blogger has a story to write. You, on the other hand, are there to promote yourself, your company or your brand. I don’t care how good a speaker you are or how knowledgeable you are about your business, you have to your best foot forward. Subtle business promotion is a learned skill that takes practice to make perfect. In our experience, people often talk too long in interviews. Being succinct, as any writer knows, is also a learned skill.

How do you ensure that your startup company's messages don't get lost during an interview? How can you avoid being railroaded or blindsided?

Here are 7 tips on how a startup -- or any B2B company for that matter -- can turn a media interview into a true opportunity for you:

1. Ask for information ahead of time. Many reporters, particularly those working for trade publications, will provide them in advance if you ask. If you can’t get the questions, do clarify the focus and purpose. Don’t go into an interview uninformed.

2. Determine what your core message is. What do you want to get across in the interview? How do you want to portray your company? You want to address both questions in an interview. Carve out some time in the beginning of an interview to explain your company’s vision. You can also add key points to any answer by doing what’s known as “bridging.” That’s an industry term referring to seamlessly transitioning to your key message with “bridging words.”
Here are a couple of examples of bridging: “And what’s key here,” "Let me put this in perspective," "What this all means is," "Before we continue, let me underscore."

3. Come prepared with a sound bite or two. Do you think the phrases that draw the most applause in a presidential debate are off the cuff? The better they are, the more likely they have been carefully prepared and rehearsed to perfection. So too in an interview. Work on a catchphrase that makes what you have to say more memorable.

4. Prepare backwards. What headline would you like the article to say? That can help you martial your points and organize your thoughts around a compelling, relevant message.

5. Practice, then practice some more. Do several mock interviews before the real one so you can demonstrate firm control of your subject matter and sound at ease, not rehearsed. Ironically, once you feel confident you can make the material your own and come across as polished and informed, not rehearsed.

6. Don’t be afraid to to not know the answerYou don’t have to know everything and you certainly don’t want to give false information. It is always better to be safe and say "I'm not sure, let me check and get back to you," rather than sorry.

7. Avoid using "no comment". It may look cool on TV but all a phrase like that does is send a signal to a media person that you might have something to hide. This is an example of why you need to be prepared for a media opportunity. If you had done your prep work, you would have an answer in your pocket for any sensitive questions they throw your way.

In our experience, you can never be prepared enough. That's why we're running a special Media Training Workshop. For details and to register, go to PRos media training.

How PR Can Help B2B Start Ups

Posted by wendyama

May 22, 2013

butterfly.WendyMarx5.15.13



This post originally appeared in a slightly different version on Fast-Company-logo



PR Done Right Makes a Difference, From the Start

Recently, I attended NY Tech Day where 400 hungry startups sought to garner some love, along with media and VC attention, at their respective booths.

The zealous self-promotion raises an interesting issue: How do you make your business stand out in a sea of entrepreneurial energy? How do you get people to care about your company?

Consider these facts:

- A survey of CEOs found startup companies that engage in PR are 30 percent more successful in securing early funding than those that don’t.

- Well-known VC firms are diving into the publicity game, with firms like Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sequoia hiring in-house PR talent.

One simple reason startups and their financial backers are entering the PR arena? Publicity done right works. Over the years, my B2B PR firm has launched many startups. We’ve found PR can truly make the difference in attracting new customers, increasing revenues–and catching the ultimate brass ring–funding.

Don’t for a second, however, think PR for newcomers is a slam dunk. No one cares about the latest whiz-bang product or service released by an unknown company unless it does something amazing. And most new products or services won’t knock your socks off. This is where public relations shines. A good PR person can properly position your product or service–or yourself–so people care. Great PR–and yes, there is such a thing–transforms a product or service into something meaningful.

Consider the term “Certified Pre-Owned Car.” I’m old enough to remember when the term didn’t exist. You simply bought a used car. It didn’t give you a lot of bragging rights. The geniuses who created the terminology “Certified Pre-Owned Car” turned the negative connotation into a positive. Suddenly, a used car had to meet certain standards and criteria. Better yet, it often came with a warranty. Of course, all those goodies were folded into a car’s price. But at least you received something solid for your money. You didn’t worry that the car was a clunker, and you could take pride in your “like new” car.

Let’s look at another example–this from a startup called lettrs (a client of my agency, incidentally). The company recently launched an iPhone app it positions as a “post office in your hand” that lets you write and send digital and postal letters directly from your phone, turning the iPhone into a mobile writing desk. The positioning and analogy turned what could have been just another app into something immediately understandable and compelling. Most of the press coverage highlighted the digital-post office positioning, as this Mashable piece illustrates.

So before you start hawking your new venture, develop your messaging and positioning. This will help you stand out and help make your product memorable and engaging. After all, you can be just another has-been company, or you can Think Different.

 


Surprising B2B PR Survey Results + Infographic

Posted by wendyama

Apr 11, 2013

survey-checklist

The results are in for our survey of B2B PR practices. The key takeaway: Social media is taking a big bite out of traditional PR methods.

The informal survey, which was conducted online in March 2013, showed that social media is far and away the favored news distribution tactic with the press release lagging far behind.

  • 94% of those surveyed said they use social media to promote announcements vs. 71% who report using press releases.  Seventy five percent said they post a release on a company website while 68% send a release directly to reporters.



  • 45% said they would use social media if they could use just one promotional vehicle vs. 24% who said they would issue a press release.



  • 49 % report using an online distribution service  like PR Web, while 40% report using  one of the traditional services like PR Newswire, Business Wire or Marketwire



  • 45% said LinkedIn was the most helpful social media tactic; 35% favored Twitter, 13% Facebook and 2% Google+.


While the respondents are not necessarily representative of the PR practice universe, they are typical of a rising generation of social media-savvy PR practitioners and open a door into the future direction of B2B public relations: It is more and more becoming a socially-driven world. This can have large implications for B2B company PR practices. Going direct to customers and prospects via social media can be one of the most effective ways to get the word out.  The survey also has potential implications for traditional PR distribution services with lower cost distribution services overtaking the traditional channels.

However, don't assume you should completely abandon established PR practices.  What the survey reinforces is that news announcements can be amplified through multiple free channels including social media, free PR distribution sites, company websites and reaching out directly to reporters. It also suggests that the days of simply sending a press release over a wire service are over. In our experience, a traditional wire service such as PR Newswire, Business Wire or Marketwire, can amplify a message particularly if you are a publicly traded company and need to get in front of analysts and investors. The online distribution service PR Web provides its own version of this via its financial service package. However, if you are not a publicly-traded company you may do just fine using free press release distribution services along with social media, your website and your own media outreach. We urge you to test it yourself.

What have you found to be most effective in terms of promoting your company? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. But first, check out our infographic with the survey results!

Click HERE to make larger

My Infographic_79

2013 B2B PR Practices Survey - An infographic by the team at MarxCommunications

 

The Key to B2B PR Success: Just Ask!

Posted by wendyama

Feb 12, 2013



 

You can never tell when you might learn something new.

Dining recently at Mt. Snow, Vermont's summit lodge after a fun morning of skiing, I was given a lesson in persuasion from an audacious 8-year-old named Sara. I overheard Sara and her older sister Lisa devising a way to convince their ski instructor to let them go on their favorite ski trail. Her idea was simple yet brilliant: Eagerly ask the instructor if he would take them. Guess what? It worked. After approaching the instructor, he went back and asked who’d like to try their trail of choice. Can you guess who screamed the loudest that she did? Sara confidently looked at her sister and said, “I told you. All you have to do is ask."

The art of the ask is a topic on which folks have written countless books and “how to” articles. One of those basic truths, it easily gets lost or confused in our tendency (as adults) to overthink. Even PR professionals, the supposed “communication experts”, can easily get things mixed up and actually forget “the ask."

PR, no matter the type, has many facets because it caters to multiple masters. The client is obviously the top dog, the last person a PR pro has to please. With that being said, you’re not a “Yes man," doing whatever the client wants, but you offer discerning advice. Just like any professional consultant, you suggest the right tactics to meet a client's goals.

Don’t think of that as a given. When making recommendations, you have to ask for your client’s agreement. If you don’t, there’s no give-and-take dynamic. And in doing so, you need to employ tact by understanding your client’s style and the best way to make the ask. Do you try to have it come out as client’s idea? Should you do it aggressively or in a more casual manner? It all depends on the personality of your client. Ultimately though, part of your success depends on how well you master the ask.

Where PR gets sticky is when you have a bunch of other folks to ask--including reporters, event coordinators, journalists, employees, associations and probably others as well. You want all of them to be on your side so together you can achieve the client’s goals. In this instance you should also be aware of the style and wants/needs of those you work with.

Last but not least, remember to ask for what you need to run your PR campaign. It could make the difference between a shining success or dismal failure.

Have you asked for something to make your campaign more effective? Please share your story!

 
 

From repurposing your PR to stretching your budget, I'm sharing all my PR tips in one easy cheat sheet.

Grab the cheat sheet and start getting the most out of your press without stretching your budget.

 

TEACH ME HOW TO GET THE  MOST FROM MY PR

 

About this blog

Featured in Alltop Featured Author on Business 2 Community

 B2B PR Sense focuses on the challenges and opportunities facing companies and executives as they navigate the B2B PR/marketing world of content marketing, social media and inbound marketing...along with traditional media. Welcome aboard!