When your company has a good story it is important to maximize its influence. In B2B PR we strive to extend our healthcare and manufacturing client’s stories beyond the original in an effort to reach the largest audience base. The press release, once a staple of public relations, is now only thought of as a starting point for delivering announcements and sharing news. Now companies are looking at expanding their content into contributed articles, white papers, case studies, and webinars, among others.
How a company tells its story will depend on the audience they want to reach and the type of content they want to share. Let’s take a look at a few other formats that can offer tremendous value from a lead gen perspective.
Earned media through contributed content can take many formats, from authoring an article for a media outlet to participating in a staff-written article. Authoring a story allows a company to craft and control the message. When choosing to contribute an article, it is important to understand the publication and author guidelines. For example, these pieces cannot be overtly promotional and some publications do not allow product or company names to be mentioned. Having your company author a piece is an effective way to demonstrate subject matter expertise and set your company up as a thought leader.
On the other hand, a staff-written piece relies on an editor to research, interview (on the phone or through written responses) and write the article. These pieces tend to lend a lot of credibility to a company as it is written by a neutral third party. While it is harder to control the final message, it’s not impossible. In this scenario, understand who else the publication is interviewing for the article as well as the opportunity and story angle before agreeing to be included.
Eighty-nine percent of B2B decision-makers interact with white papers, making it a valuable resource for healthcare and manufacturing companies to share a specific subject matter in depth and show their technical expertise. These are generally longer than an article and can contain more comprehensive information including an industry problem and solution or research findings. White papers can serve as a valuable tool for sales teams. Engagement with these lengthy formats is an indicator of a more serious buyer.
Following the trend of white papers, webinars serve as another important resource for B2B companies. In fact, 75 percent of decision-makers tune into webinars. Two common formats include a Q&A session with industry experts or a case study targeted to a key audience. A main benefit to telling a story through this format is it often allows for real-time feedback where viewers can submit questions and receive immediate answers.
There is nothing better in B2B PR than when a customer wants to share their success story. Capturing this data and sharing it in a compelling way is an effective sales tool, with 64 percent of B2B customers choosing to source this type of a format before they buy. The best case studies focus on the customer’s success, with the product or service being a minor detail. A case study can often be more visual, and seen as highly-credible by the reader.
Visual content: video and infographics
With the rapid growth of sites like YouTube and BuzzFeed, it is no surprise that people enjoy watching and engaging with videos and other visual content. Both videos and infographics can offer quality content in a quick and easy to digest format for their audience to consume. In fact, video is at the top of the list with 94 percent of B2B decision-makers engaging with this medium. When you need to capture attention on social media channels, infographics can deliver.
Once content is developed, it is important for companies to tap into their social networks to expand the stories reach. Social is typically an easy go-to after having secured coverage via another avenue. Not only can you quickly share a snapshot of secured coverage, but you can also employ highly targeted campaigns to surface it in front of key decision-makers (for more on this check out “The hidden power of LinkedIn for B2B healthcare marketing”). Whether through a tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn, utilizing social helps capitalize on coverage.
With the ample amount of formats available to share your story, don’t settle for just telling it once. Get creative and tap into a few different formats to help your story reach the largest audience.