Is your B2B PR a perpetual fixer-upper? That is to say, is it something you constantly pour money into, without seeing your business grow? If so, then it's time for a complete rehab - right down to the very studs.
The end goal of all B2B PR, among others, should be lead generation. Let's talk about a few effective ways to accomplish this - with paid, shared, earned, and owned media.
What is Paid, Earned, Owned, and Shared Media?
Paid media is a simple concept to understand: It's PR that you pay for. This includes Google AdWords, retargeting, social media ads, and other advertising. It boosts the performance of your "free" media.
Earned media includes word-of-mouth (WOM), online reviews, influencer relations, blogger and press relations. This is perhaps the most enviable type of media since others are essentially doing your PR for you.
Owned media is content your create. This includes blog posts, whitepapers, videos, ebooks, and all the other goodies on your website.
Shared media primarily encompasses social media - using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social platforms to distribute content.
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Misconceptions About Using B2B PR for Lead Generation
Occasionally, when you strip a fixer-upper down to the studs, you'll find structural issues; a crack in the foundation here, a termite infestation there. Before you proceed to correct aesthetic issues, you've got to clear up these major ones.
The same goes for your B2B PR. You need to fix any misconceptions or roadblocks in your PR that are hindering a beautiful end product: lead generation.
Let's clear up a few of those right now.
Misconception #1: You need to only try one channel at a time.
This may be tempting if you're on a tight budget. You might think that pouring all of your resources into say, paid media, is the best way to go.
The reality is that paid, earned, owned, and shared media need to work in harmony to see a significant boost in lead generation.
Misconception #2: Shared Media isn't important when it comes to B2B PR for lead generation.
You may think that since your B2B brand isn't glamorous, no one will want to hear from you on social media. However, this just couldn't be further from the truth!
No matter what your service or product, the bottom line is that people, not businesses, are buying your product or services. And people are on social media. It's where we research, it's where we get product assistance, and it's where we socialize. It's our culture.
Misconception #3: Content is not that important in my industry.
In fact, B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those who do not. Notice we're not talking about B2C, but B2B. Yes, your prospects are asking you for information. Will you give it to them, or dismiss them so they can move on to another business that will?
Now that we've cleared up those structural issues, let's move on to how to increase those leads!
4 Ways to Remodel Your B2B PR for Lead Generation
1. In Owned Media
This is perhaps your prime opportunity for utilizing calls to action and landing pages. You have total control over the bread crumbs. A word of caution regarding owned media:
Owned media exists to educate, inform, and even entertain your prospects. It is not your branded Home Shopping Network, where you hock your wares and services.
Whitepapers, ebooks, blogs, and other content should have education as their main thrust. Your end game is, of course, to convert, but you need to give your prospects the dignity of making that decision themselves. Your content should compel the viewer to want more, to take action.
This is where calls to action and an effective landing page become your digital salesperson.
What will a good great landing page include? Neil Patel, has eight tips for you to write great landing page copy:
- Use customer testimonials
- Emphasize the benefits, not the product or service
- Spend time writing a killer headline
- Keep your writing simple
- Write like a human
- Use numbers and get specific
- Ask for readers to take action
- A/B test your copy
2. In Earned Media
Although you have little control over what others say about you or your business, you do have much control over the fodder they use.
Being notoriously generous with your resources will earn you a reputation others are drawn to. For instance, making your original content easy to share, such as we've done with the above mini infographic, allows others to easily spread your message.
Make sure the content is attributed correctly, as we've done by branding it with our logo.
3. In Shared Media
Again, here is where compelling content, effective calls to action, and motivating landing pages come into play. Being active on social media is not enough. Simply sharing content for the sake of visibility will not in itself generate leads.
No, social sharing should connect your audience with a call to action.
For instance, I recently began following Company X on Facebook. They posted a congratulatory message to a new team member. When I clicked on the link, it simply took me to a bio of that person. And... boom! I'm dropped in the middle of nowhere. Nothing to click on, no way to explore their site any further. How could this have been improved upon?
Ideally, this link should have taken me to his bio, with a call-to-action to connect with this person. The call to action button should have lead me to a landing page where I would fill out a form to get more information on what this person is offering. This, in turn, should lead me to a thank you page, where additional suggestions for content are offered. At the very least, the bio should have been hosted on their website, with links so that I could explore their site.
4. In Paid Media
Paid media is a great way to increase visibility of your earned and owned media. Save it for last once you know what content you've created is performing best. That content is what warrants putting some dollars behind it.
Be sure to test your paid media. For example, LinkedIn and Twitter often perform well for B2B media. But start with a small budget and see how you do.
`Also evaluate paid syndication sites like Outbrain to see if it's worth the cost. You can also try syndicating your content yourself by knocking on the virtual doors of sites in your industry that you know prospects read.
Using Content to Create a Mean Lead Generation Machine
If you struggle with creating original content, you are by no means alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers face a number of challenges when it comes to content creation:
And as Robert Rose says, "The reinvention of marketing is a road, not a door." Do those statistics hit close to home? It might be time for a content boost!
Want to see how that works? Check out our 60-Day Content Creation Program. It includes a customized plan to boost visibility, create content, and generate leads. It's a low-commitment way to get your content off the ground. Ready to get started?