There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to media relations campaigns. While sometimes thought of as similar to business-to-consumer (B2C) media relations, a business-to-business (B2B) approach is actually dramatically different and comes with its own set of challenges that vary by industry, audience and the product or service being offered. As more than 75 percent of B2B companies plan to increase their PR spend to ensure their story is being told, the challenge is to discover the best ways to reach potential buyers via targeted media relations.
Start with Research & Engaging with Media Your Audience Trusts
Defining Decision Makers: When diving into a B2B PR campaign, it’s important to clearly define the specific corporate decision-makers you want to target, which vary across C-suite levels, sales and marketing roles. What do they all have in common? They’re actively looking for business solutions to address company pain points, often in the form of new products or services that help promote efficiencies and improve their bottom line.
Understanding Decision Makers Research: Gaining a better understanding of how these decision-makers find these business solutions, including what tools they’re using to research their options, is a key second step. What media are they consuming? How are they doing competitive research? Much of the buyer’s journey for B2B decision making is conducted online as executives are gathering information about a company’s product or service through first-hand research. With this in mind, it’s crucial for PR professionals to map out media relations strategies that educate decision-makers at the right time and in places they’re going to for trusted information.
Share Problem-Solving Solutions & Innovative Thinking
When making the decision to purchase a B2B product or service, often an extensive amount of research and due diligence is involved, as the decision usually results in a high-ticket solution and long-term partnership. In other words, this is not an impulse buy at the front of a store.
Therefore, B2B executives are looking for specific information beyond word-of-mouth testimonials about a product or service. They’re often seeking a business partner who is at the forefront of innovation and has their finger on the pulse of the industry, providing unique research and insights that help guide the market.
This is where strategic PR can help your company become a part of the decision maker’s world by sharing stories that show your organization is not only living and breathing the same industry, but is also identifying gaps and innovating for the future. For PR practitioners, it’s important to tell these research-based stories through media relations and thought leadership efforts.
Leverage Thought Leaders to Showcase Industry Expertise
In addition to a proactive media relations strategy to drive your message and reach B2B decision-makers in their buyer’s journey, B2B companies should consider a thought leadership effort. Interestingly, research revealed that 82 percent of C-Suite executives stated thought leadership increased their trust in an organization.
Through thought leadership and spokesperson profiles, brands can leverage their internal subject matter experts to provide insights and trends. Whether it’s pursuing a speaking engagement, writing a blog post for the company website or bylining a guest post about recent research for a news outlet, thought leadership is an effective way for your organization to add valuable insights about industry trends, and ultimately earn trust with key audiences. It’s also important to align B2B PR tactics with your company’s larger messaging and brand awareness strategy to maximize the efforts’ impact and help your overall organization become a recognizable pillar in the industry.
At the end of the day, establishing credibility and building trust among B2B decision-makers is no easy feat—especially with an ever-evolving B2B landscape and competitive marketplace. That said, brands can put their stake in the ground and stand out among competitors with timely, fact-based research, insights and messaging as well as thoughtful execution of PR efforts targeted to address customers’ business pain points.