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Top B2B PR Trends in 2016 That Will Rock Your World

Posted by Wendy Marx

Feb 16, 2016

Top b2b pr trends in 2016

Admittedly, the title of this post promises a lot. However, if you're someone who would benefit from a PR overhaul, a PR launch, or even a good education on PR, this post truly could rock your world. 

PR Industry Insights for 2014 – 5 Pro Predictions that Break the Mold

Posted by Oren Smith

Jan 14, 2014

7 B2B Marketing Predictions for the New Year

Posted by Oren Smith

Dec 20, 2013

7 B2B Marketing Predictions for the New Year

7 Steps to Help B2B Marketers Get Up to Speed on Social Media

Posted by wendyama

Jun 9, 2013

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This post originally appeared in a slightly different version onFast-Company-logo.

Who cares if 25,000 people follow you on Twitter if you’re not engaging with any of them?

Amazingly, many B2B marketers still don’t get social media.



A recent CMO Survey reported that while B2B social media spending increased 9.6% last year, the majority of B2B companies failed to integrate social media into their business practices.

“The biggest challenge is that many companies view social media as a cute promotional activity rather than a strategic marketing activity,” says Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey and T. Austin Finch senior professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

According to Brian Kardon, CMO, Lattice Engines, "We’re in the 'silo' stage, where most social is generally segregated from the rest of the organization.”

A big problem is that most B2B companies don’t understand that this rapid-fire media requires a combined technology and business approach. Rather than strategizing how to engage with their followers, many companies leave the heavy lifting to “some kid out of college who tweets but has no knowledge of business processes," says Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at Kinvey.

B2B companies pay a price for the lack of integration. A 2011 global survey of senior B2B and B2C managers found a significantly high correlation between financial performance and social media integration, says Steven Van Belleghem, author of The Conversation Company, and former managing director of InSites Consulting, which fielded the survey.

So where does that leave marketers? Here are 7 steps to take to help you increase your social media effectiveness:

1. Understand why social matters. “Social media is becoming a real competitive advantage for the companies that do it well; the gap is widening between the companies that have been organizing around social media and those that have not,” says Kardon.
2. Create goals. What do you want to achieve from your social media? Do you want to track sales, monitor customer complaints, grow brand equity? Do you want to push or pull?
3. Get top management buy-in. “You need a champion to get people from across the organization to pay attention and act,” says Moorman.
4. Give social media a home. In our experience and that of many experts, it belongs in marketing so it can be integrated with other marketing channels.
5. Structure your social media team. The need to prioritize what to do and get it done quickly has disrupted the traditional setup of the marketing organization,” says Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO, Mindjet, which has developed “scrum teams” comprised of design, media buying, development and all the other resources necessary to executive a strategic campaign. Regardless of the approach, however, there has to be a built-in workflow system linking social to customer service, sales, operations and other business processes.
6. Train employees. Don’t just assume they get and feel comfortable using this media form.
7. Get accountable. Establish an accountability system that demonstrates social media's impact on your objectives.

Social media is not an indulgence. Companies that fail to take these steps will find themselves outflanked by their competitors.

How Can You Improve Your Social Media Results? Take a second to complete this form to reserve your  *free* social media consultation.  [contact-form-7 id="1460" title="Social Media Services Form_copy"] 

 


3 Crucial Steps For Content Marketing Success

Posted by wendyama

Dec 6, 2012



Everyone in marketing tries to do it. What most folks don’t realize, is that very few do it well.

What are we referring to? Content marketing, of course. Otherwise known as branded content, brand journalism, or business story-telling, among other monikers.

It’s apparent a phrase is popular when it spawns its own lexicon. Or when mega brands like Coca-Cola embrace it. The soft drink empire recently revamped its website in homage to content marketing.

You can tell “content marketing” has entered the list of marketing terms when you find any number of conferences devoted to the topic. Take the example of the all-day content-marketing event given by the Content Marketing Institute in cooperation with Target Marketing and Publishing Executive. The event, titled Content Marketing World NYC, brought in a plethora of content marketers (and those seeking to become content marketers). It was also chaired by two content marketing industry elites: Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. The two co-authored one of the foremost books on the topic, along with other accomplishments.

You may be wondering to yourself, “OK, so what’s so great about content marketing?”

Advertising, it seems, has lost much of its effectiveness. We live in a world where the average person is bombarded by some 3,000 brand impressions a day. According to research firm Altimeter Group, advertising needs to function together with other media, including company–created content and user-generated content. Content marketing in its most fundamental definition, is content a brand owns or publishes without any media buys, according to Altimeter.

That of course is the baseline. In order to be truly effective, content marketing, as Pulizzi and Rose stressed at the Content Marketing World event, must tell a story that allows people to engage with a brand. Moreover, it can’t be a one-time wonder but should be a long-term commitment, or as Rose phrased it, “Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.”

In fact, a marathon is the perfect analogy. Besides being a time-consuming process,  it also requires some heavy lifting. It’s no surprise that a survey by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs discovered that only roughly a third of over 1,400 B2B marketers surveyed said they believed their content marketing campaigns effective.

Here are 3 key elements from Robert Rose to increase the effectiveness of your content marketing:

 

    • Tell a story. A story is a natural way to grab people’s attention. It draws you in and captures your emotions as well as your mind. What’s more interesting – a list of facts or a story that weaves the same elements into an engaging narrative?


 

Changes in the B2B PR Landscape and How to Adapt

Posted by wendyama

Sep 19, 2012



The balance of power in B2B PR has changed. The media, though still influential, no longer controls everything. Since the B2B public relations field is constantly changing and adapting, we will be posting on B2B PR best practices and the transforming face of the industry.

The initial post on this topic is an interview with Brian Kardon, CMO of Lattice Engines. Kardon joined this company in June following an extremely successful 4-year stint at Eloqua. During this time, he was instrumental in helping grow the company from $20 million to $70 million in annual revenue. Before working at Eloqua, Brian was the Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Forrester Research. He performed the same, phenomenal feat there: he helped to more than triple their revenue in 5 years.

WENDY MARX: What's your primary goal in regards to public relations?
BRIAN KARDON: Each market contains a unique ecosystem of influencers. The PR programs I’ve managed sort the influencers into separate tiers. We design a communication program for each tier that is specific to that group–-frequency of communication, method (face-to-face, email, video conference, etc.), and messages. Contrary to popular belief, all influencers are not made equal. Therefore, one must treat them differently. The elite tier might receive a monthly call from the CEO or myself, along with regular, face-to-face meeting. The next tier might get quarterly, videochat briefings and a monthly email.

It’s absolutely crucial to continue engaging with influencers, whether you need help at the moment or not. I’ve watched a multitude of PR pros pitch ideas to folks who they hadn’t “warmed up” for a period of time beforehand.

In the past, influencers were a quite concentrated group. Nowadays, just about anyone can become an influencer. All they need is a well-read industry blog, newsletter, conference, or consultancy. In the tech field, the utter dominance of Forrester, IDC, and Gartner has been worn down by new powerhouses like Altimeter and Constellation.

Do you view B2B public relations as a lead generation tool?
I never use PR to generate leads, at least not intentionally. I utilize public relations to grow awareness, alter perceptions, and build the top of the funnel. I come from an extremely metrics-driven background--at Forrester, Eloqua, and now Lattice Engines. We measure PR in numerous of ways, but rarely from a lead generation perspective.

Can you mention a few methods you use for PR measurement?
Are there any ways we DON’T measure PR? I review web traffic, amount of inbound links, ratio of new to repeat visitors, branded searches, followers, fans, tweets, retweets, comments on posts, likes... and more. In my experience, the most important aspect is being consistent with what you measure. Using identical metrics over an extended period of time in a consistent way, you gain insight into patterns and trends that indicate what works and what doesn’t.

You should be using measurement to learn, not to point fingers. I’ve honestly learned more from mistakes than from success. The entire PR team must embrace the idea of continuous learning.

In addition, it’s vital to return to overall PR goals. This will vary with each company and campaign. Sometimes the goal might be to raise awareness, other times it could be changing perceptions in a certain way. It's important to be able to link measurements to the goal at hand.

In your mind, what is the largest change and opportunity today in B2B public relations?
It’s tough to think of another profession that has changed this much in the last decade! A brand is what Google says it is. Press releases are fashioned for organic search purposes. PR is a real-time business. Newsjacking is commonly used as a method of boosting attention. News cycles are often measured in minutes and hours -- not days. There’s a completely new technology-based backbone to PR--to communicate, monitor, measure and find opportunities. Posts in blogs effectively function as “link bait” for those linked to the posts. B2B PR pros must all be “in the know” and technically astute in order to survive.

Many of these changes have positive implications. There has never been a better opportunity to interact with influencers than now. You don’t have to get someone to a meeting or on the phone to engage. A tweet, leaving a comment on a blog, a DM, posting or sharing photos and videos are now all ways to start conversations. It’s definitely a two-way street. The most successful folks in PR know how to assist the media and influencers in making a connection or composing a story. They give key, timely info to the proper person in order to build lasting, long-term relationships.

How do you combine your PR efforts with marketing and/or social media?
Collaboration amongst the entire marketing team is crucial to success.
I advise against viewing the agency as a vendor. Instead, they are very much a team member and should be treated as such.

Campaigns need to be spread throughout as many channels as possible. A bright idea can be successful via social, email and live channels. Also, don’t forget about that infographic, video and interview. Connect with influencers using exclusives in ways that personalize the campaign for their specific audience. Tear down the walls separating the compartments of your marketing organization.

What have you learned at Eloqua that you can apply to Lattice Engines?
I learned several truly important lessons:

  • Our agencies were partners at Eloqua. Especially Jess3 (data visualization) and Shift (PR). They helped us conceptualize ideas and construct the marketing framework for them. You have to coax the best work out of your partners. Encourage them. Try something new. Take some chances. Back up your agencies even when complications arise. Really get to know them as people.

  • Go out of your way for your influencers. Make sure you give them credit. Compliment them. Never make negative comments about your company or products. Always be honest and willing to assist.

  • You should have a steller team that can work in real-time and eat digital media for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s not easy to find such a team. Once you have one, do whatever you can to help them grow and learn.

  • Always be open to trying something new. The field is constantly shifting -- you don’t want to miss out on any new opportunities. Were you an early adopter of Pinterest? Are you utilizing social sign-on for registration? Is your LinkedIn and Facebook presence optimized?


Can you give an example of effectively feeding an influencer?
There is no better way to develop a relationship than to actually work with an influencer. At Eloqua, our VP of Content Marketing, Joe Chernov, found 20 key influencers for our Social Media ProBook. We asked each for contributions. In return, we gave each contributor his/her own personalized avatar illustration that the contributor could use as a profile picture. This was an amazing, collaborative learning experience, plus it was tons of fun. The contributors not only gave us some exciting content, but also were quite generous by tweeting and blogging about the project. This coverage was worth almost as much as the content they contributed!

This post originally appeared in a slightly different form on www.FastCompany.com

5 Tactics to Maximize ROI of your B2B Public Relations

Posted by wendyama

Aug 13, 2012

Here’s a pop quiz --

Which B2B marketing technique allows you to become better known, enhances credibility, thought leadership and finally boosts sales?

If your answer was “public relations,"  give yourself a pat on the back!

For a long time now, PR has been sometimes viewed as a revenue-earning step-child since it’s tough to categorize. Of course one can always total press clippings, but how does that ultimately drive sales? It’s tough because there doesn’t seem to be a direct correspondence. How about the person who saw an article praising your product/service, and several months later decided to use it? Or what about all the folks with no recollection how they heard about you but somehow know about your product or service?

Okay then, should we just give up trying to tie public relations to sales?


Well, not if you’d like to get extra work from your PR campaign by also using it as a lead generation device.

Consider your press release to be an invitation for a potential client to take an action that brings this person closer to buying. For instance, you can include a call to action in your release that brings the prospect to your landing page. From there, the prospect is able to download “free” content after giving you some contact information. Congratulations, you’ve now started a dialog! Now without further ado, here are....

5 approaches to PR you can use in your B2B marketing efforts to bring in sales:


 


1. Refuse to Use Generic Press Releases

Although Press releases are a fundamental part of public relations, you still need more than just any old press release – you need a specific strategy.

Your release should complement your marketing efforts. It would be completely ineffective to write a generic press release intended only for distribution. You need to think: What am I trying to achieve with this release? What action do I want the reader to take after he/she sees the release?

2. Take Advantage of Multimedia

Get the most B2B marketing value possible in regards to click-throughs and lead generation. Colorful, engaging (and maybe even interactive) multimedia content like slide shows and videos enhance the effectiveness of your call to action. You can experiment to find out which type of dynamic content would best reach your target market.

3. Provide Readers With Extra Content

Don’t view the release as a one-time shot. Utilize it along with additional content for your target market. Ensure your release leads to other pages, blog posts, articles, videos, or anything else you can think of. All of the above can similarly link to your press release. As an added benefit, this will also help your company get ranked higher in the search engines.

The purpose for this sophisticated “web of content” is to connect with your potential clients and bring them into your sales funnel. The sales process has become a quite complicated and multi-layered process, and as Reevoo Insight has discovered, customers can come in at a variety of touch points and change from one channel to the a different one before the final conversion.

4. Get Social

If you have yet to incorporate social media into your B2B marketing strategy – time to get started! Social media is becoming increasingly omnipresent. It can be used together with pretty much all of your initial marketing strategies, press releases included.

Make it a piece of cake for anyone to share your release by including some social sharing buttons. Finally, remember to include a short synopsis of your release so it can be easily spread by fans without much effort.

5. Shoot for Specifics

Don’t sit back and relax after one press release.  Continue to test your releases and change them depending on your target market and the response you receive. Certain calls to action might produce different effects on a given segment of your audience. This also applies to content. For instance, you might decide to emphasize one point in a release geared to executives and a different one when targeting agencies.

Throw everything together and you have a public relations program that will significantly boost the ROI of your B2B marketing campaign.

Now how are you increasing the value of your press releases? Have you been using any of the above techniques already? Are there other ones you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Getting Your Message onto the Right Desktop

Posted by wendyama

Sep 30, 2009

How to avoid the common traps and pitfalls that land your news in the
circular file.


What if you’ve written what you believe to be a killer press release, but it falls into the proverbial black hole, and the response is deep silence?

Journalists feel besieged by a constant torrent of e-mails and voicemails from companies eager to have their story told in the marketplace. Thus, it’s not surprising that many have set up voicemail greetings that ask callers to refrain from leaving pitches there, under pain of death.

Likewise, many media organizations have set up industrial-strength firewalls and spam filters which effectively block out most messages from senders of unknown origin, or those who have crossed a line of annoyance.

So how do you get around, over, or through the various roadblocks that journalists erect?


Avoid Irrelevance. As a former journalist, I know the single most annoying practice of PR types was calling to tell me about a company, product, executive, you name it, that had absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote about or cared about.

The Solution: Do your homework! Take the time to research the reporter and the publication to get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t, tendencies, interests, preferences. You’ll be amazed how much more effective you’ll be at pitching after being armed with relevant information.

Avoid lack of timeliness. Even the most well-crafted pitch in the world won’t stick to the wall of interest if it doesn’t tie in to an upcoming project a journalist has in his or her sights.
The Solution: Most magazines publish an editorial calendar, plotting out a year’s worth of coverage. Use the calendar to help match the story you’re trying to tell and what a reporter or editor is actually covering. Be creative in selling the link or relationship between your latest gizmo or process and the June roundup of hot business opportunities.

Avoid Going too high up the food chain. Sending your client’s release about the latest breakthrough in motor oil viscosity to the executive editor of a trade journal is generally not going to produce the intended result. These folks are too concerned with filling in the next month’s pages to stop and consider where or to whom to route the e-mail.
The Solution: Reporters and associate editors are your best bets in terms of getting an actual response or hearing for your pitch or story. Again, craft the pitch based on the journalist’s beat area, interests and past/recent coverage. A quick cruise through Factiva or Google News searching under the reporter’s name will help tremendously.

With a little elbow grease, a dose of common sense and a bit of research, you can help keep your name and e-mail address off those nefarious “block sender” lists, and get the attention and buzz your product, service, award or partnership deserves.

Are You Twittering, LinkingIn.... and Using Other Social Media to Grow Your Business?

Posted by wendyama

Sep 30, 2009

If you answered, “No,” or a half-hearted “No,” you’re not alone. And if you answered, “Yes,” our hats are off to you.

In today’s Web 2.0, you’re missing a thriving opportunity to grow your business if you’re ignoring social media tools like LinkedIn and Facebook. Tools like these have democratized and flattened the marketing process thanks to the speed, reach and immediacy they offer.

Two recent examples bring this into start relief. When the horrific Mumbai attacks were underway in late November 2008, and as a US Airways pilot was safely landed his jetliner in New York’s Hudson River, people on the scene were instantly sending “tweet” update messages and images all over the Internet via their Twitter accounts. In both instances, Twitter members got the news out in real-time, ahead of all news outlets.

Because social media tools have become so ubiquitous and so successful at spreading news and information instantly and virally, companies and executives must find ways to incorporate them into their everyday projects and campaigns.

Would You Like to Market Your Business Better?

Posted by wendyama

Sep 30, 2009

Take our brief quiz and find out right now how to make the most of your marketing.
Then commit to doing at least one of the ideas mentioned and see your business grow.


Do you believe the only way to get publicity is by working through the media?


Fact is, the media are unreliable. You can do all the right things and your story still won’t get printed. Be creative and bypass the media: Send out your own e-mail alerts about a new service or promotion. Run a special events or webinar (an interactive web-based seminar. Create or enter an awards program. Speak before relevant organizations.

Do you effectively use case studies and testimonials in your marketing materials?

Research shows that case studies and testimonials are among the most powerful marketing tools. Case studies focus on how your business solved a problem or created an opportunity for a customer. Testimonials are personal reports on how your helped a customer achieve their goals.

Do you always resolve customer complaints in a fast, friendly manner?

Studies show that nearly all dissatisfied customers will do business with a company again IF their complaint is taken care of on the spot. Here’s an example: Having just successfully returned a case of specially-ordered wine that went bad, we vouch that we will continue to trade with that business. Not only did they refund our money but they did it with a smile.

Do you know where your customers come from and how they hear about you?

Most business owners believe that they get most of their trade by word of mouth. While word of mouth is powerful, business comes in the doors in many different ways. One nationally-recognized organization believes they must hit their target audience in seven different ways to produce results. This includes newsletters, e-mails, advertising,
posters, direct mail, letters, and a Website. Are you using a combination of vehicles to reach prospects?


Do you know that advertising means repetition, repetition, repetition?

Just as in real estate where it’s location, location, location, advertising has to be repeated before it is effective. One or two ads just won’t cut it. You need to run an ad at least three times. And be sure to test different versions of your advertising message to see which is most effective.

 

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!