B2B PR has been morphing into a more robust vehicle. Today we no longer "spray and pray," clueless about how PR is impacting performance. We're able to demonstrate accountability and help strengthen a business. Finally, we're getting respect!
Overtime B2B PR has solidified around six new rules that define and give heft to the practice. My goal with this post is to give you a crash course in the imost important new rules in B2B public relations.
6 New B2B PR Rules You Can't Ignore
Rule #1: Target Your Relevant Audience
Previously, PR results were often measured by impressions: How many people were potentially exposed to a story? While those figures may have seemed remarkable, did they really provide an accurate picture of the success of your PR campaign?
If your story was picked up by the Wall Street Journal, did you really know who was reached? You could only guess. The same was true for a placement in trade journal. No one was counting the eyeballs that viewed your press.
However, today's digital PR methods allow you to target a refined audience and measure the success of your PR. Tracking inbound links, measuring engagement on social networks, analyzing site traffic -- these methods all help you measure a campaign's success.
Rule #2: Leverage the Power of Influencers
Influencers in your industry -- its thought leaders whose endorsement counts -- let you expand the reach of you target audience and grow your own following.
Today there are a sheaf of tools to help you identify influencers such as Buzzsumo and Traackrto name a few.
Influencers are potentially anywhere. Keys to successfully leveraging their power include:
- Identifying influencers that fit with your brand (Who are their followers, what is their authority? what are they known for, and how long have they been in the industry?)
- Giving something in return to an influencer; while some influencers may require monetary compensation in other cases a heads up on your business initiatives and special access may be sufficient.
- Communicating regularly with your influencers
- Obtaining detailed analytics of their efforts to promote your brand
Influencers now have a wider reach than ever before. In times past, these industry moguls may have only been known in a small circuit -- perhaps because of a trade show or a speaking engagement. However, thanks to social media, blogs, video and podcasts, these influential people have a broad reach.
Leveraging this power can mean a big return on your PR.
Rule #3: You Don't Have to Dumb Down Your Press
Since previously you had little control over who would see your press, you may have felt the need to dumb it down a bit. And while you should still avoid heavy use of internal jargon, if you're targeting the right audience you can safely assume that most of your readers or viewers will understand your lingo.
Feel free to get a little technical, since you're addressing those who will likely understand where you're coming from. There's no reason to make yourself out to be a less of an industry leader than you are.
Rule #4: Write Your Own Press
Previously, you were at the beck and call of the media, depending exclusively on them to mention your company in a story. However, today there are other ways to score a PR win.
You can write your own story, incorporating multimedia to enliven in it. Promote it on your blog, on social media, in your newsletter.
You can also pitch the media on contributing thought leadership articles. As the number of journalists continues to shrink, outlets are always in need for good content. Let it be your content!
Rule #5: PR is a Team Effort
Those who still look at PR as a by-product of good business practices are living in the dark ages.
The fact is, PR should be integrated with all of your business practices. This means, it needs to work closely with your existing marketing and sales teams. Good PR doesn't happen fortuitously. It must be carefully planned and executed.
And no, not all PR is good. There is bad PR. If your public relations team works closely with your sales and marketing team, the outcome should be carefully-controlled positive PR.
Rule #6: Metrics are Sexy
Today, it's possible to measure the impact of your PR. Robust CRMs, like Hubspot and Marketo make it easier to assess results. Products like TrendKite and AirPR make it a snap to measure your news' impact. And, of course, Google Analytics provides free measurement tools.
Measuring branded searches, tweets, retweets, mentions, inbound traffic, and post engagement all provide proof that your PR is working (or not working).
Brian Kardon, CMO of Fuze, revealed two key perspectives for using metrics, when I interviewed him a few years ago:
- "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."
Nothing is more exciting than being able to quantify the results of your hard work, and in turn, use them to become a more effective PR professional.
What do you think? Are there new PR rules you're happy to see now established? Tell me about it in the comments below!