3 B2B Public Relations Mistakes and How to Salvage Them

Posted by wendyama

3 B2B Public Relations Mistakes and How to Salvage Them

Public relations, sometimes to its disadvantage, is mistaken for advertising. Although the two share certain similarities – they are in many respects completely different. Public relations, at least in regards to B2B, is centered around credibility, education, and thought leadership. Admittedly, it’s still about self-promotion, but accomplished in a way that boosts credibility.

3 B2B Public Relations Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

Mistake #1: For instance, claiming that you’re releasing a new product that will revolutionize the industry is usually worthless from a PR point of view (unless of course you are on a Steve Jobs level or engineered something like a cure for cancer)--not to mention not extremely believable.

You would be much better served, on the other hand, by discussing what’s meaningful to your customers. What are their wants and needs? What problems do they have that haven’t yet been solved? That makes what you’re doing real, accessible, and most importantly -- useful.

But hold on a sec.

Mistake #2: B2B companies in our experience tend to over-play products to the exclusion of expertise. Products can best be promoted with product sheets, advertising and demos, and finally lavished with awards.

Mistake #3:  This one is crucial. Especially if you’re included in the broad territory of B2B small and mid-size companies, the media (and bloggers) could care less about the next version of your product -- especially if it only includes a couple minor tweaks. That has the same effect as if you were to claim that you invented air. It’s meaningless to everyone except you.

The only thing customers and potential clients want to know is how your product can help them. Will it make their life easier? Will it save them time and money? Bring in more profits? Can you help them solve key problems or make them smarter?

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In that respect, let's look at 5 ways that you can appeal more to your customers.

5 Ways to Make Your Brand More Appealing

    1. Make regular blog posts about your particular area of expertise and only mention your new product as a side-note. End your post with a call to action about your product or service. Remember to link your post to various social media outlets. Oh, and don’t mention your product/service in every post! This comes off as too “salesy”.
    2. Issue a white paper about an industry problem your product helps address. Don't make it entirely about your product. Instead, focus on the industry challenges aspect. Also, make sure it’s easy to share with social media.
    3. Poll clients about an issue your product addresses and post the results of your poll in various social media platforms.
    4. Put together a short video describing the challenges your product helps solve (again,  focus more on the issues, not on your product) and link this to your white paper at the end of the video. Post this video your website, YouTube, and post a link to this on as many social media sites as possible (noticing a pattern?!).
    5. Issue an interesting facts-sheet that includes industry challenges your product helps to address. Be sure to include some major issues. Once again, focus on the challenges, not your product.

A Poster Child for B2B PR

In the B2B space, one company doing an excellent job is Deloitte. True, they are certainly a large corporation, but smaller companies can still learn from them. For instance, take a glance at their analytics page.

It serves as a model for what B2B companies should strive to acheive online. It contains everything, including videos, debates, engagement, white papers, as well as a short ebook. The page also makes it a piece of cake to share all its content on social media and interact with the company on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and its website. Here’s to you, Deloitte!

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Do you have other great examples of companies (or their work) for B2B PR? I would love to hear your thoughts…

This article originally appeared in a slightly different form on

Feb 29, 2012

Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx