Driven by the explosion of digital channels, there has been a big shift in business-to-business marketing communications. Channels, tactics and best practices are being redefined, including public relations. In light of these changes, here are a few tips to help you leverage all that PR has to offer.
Think beyond the press release
At its core, public relations is about storytelling. When there were limited channels for publishing stories, we had to rely upon news media to broadcast them. Today, there are many formats through which you can tell stories, including but transcending traditional media outlets like newspapers and trade magazines. Public relations content should include infographics, tweets and blog posts. When used in concert, they can be quite powerful. For some stories, a press release may not even be relevant. Be sure to consider all options and enlist advice from internal and external marketing resources.
So, you have news. Now what?
You’re introducing a new product. You secure a new business partnership. When is the best time to make the announcement? Breaking news is timely, so get it out in close proximity to the event’s occurrence. Don’t sit on the story until your next trade show. And don’t rush a story about a development that’s not fully baked. Both methods will limit your potential for exposure. News happens all the time. The best PR programs are those that publish content and pursue news stories on a regular, ongoing basis – not just around major industry trade shows. It’s simple: When the story is ready to be told, get your communications strategy together and tell it.
What to do when you don’t have breaking news
You’ve probably heard the buzzword, “content marketing”. In short, it’s the practice of leveraging your company’s expertise to help solve your prospects’ biggest pain points. Some call it thought leadership. It’s one of the most effective PR strategies you can implement. Make a list of challenges your customer face. Then, make a list of tools, knowledge or support your company can offer to solve those problems. Where your expertise intersects with their needs is the sweet spot for content marketing. It’s the secret recipe to a focused content marketing strategy that we can help you build to ensure you’re offering relevant information to your audience. Package your resources in the formats that are most fitting: technical information can be published as a white paper; how-to information in a video; best practices as a case study. Then use other tactics (tweets, newsletters, press releases, webinars, etc.) to promote your valuable content and drive engagement.
Remember, it’s not about you
Content marketing is about providing value to your customers, it’s not about directly promoting your brand or product. You will get much more measurable engagement (e.g. reads and clicks) if you keep your brand ego in check. For many thought leadership articles or blogs, it’s possible to naturally build to a point where you can indirectly imply the benefits of a product or service. But keep it subtle and not self-serving. Engaging with customers by providing useful information will help your brand establish a longer-term relationship with them that will benefit your sales over time.
If you have an important news announcement on the horizon, engage your internal and external marketing resources at least 8 to 10 weeks in advance. That will give you the lead time necessary to determine what content you have and what formats are the best way to publish it, as well as allow you time to develop and promote it. It’s never too early to start planning. Your marketing team will thank you for it and your marketing ROI will increase.