The first step in deriving more business value from PR is to identify the barriers to integration and measurement in your organization. This is part 2 of our 3-part series on the limitations B2B brands face in deriving real business value from PR and the ideal state we strive to get our clients to. Unleashing PR from its silo in earned media is the key to making it more measurable and to increasing ROI.
Let’s pick up where we left off and continue the discussion…
3. PR planning is episodic, rather than continuous.
The approach to PR planning tends to be sporadic for many companies. It’s based on the major “news” items throughout the year – e.g. “We have a product launch on this date and a key conference or event happening on this date.” But that lens prevents PR from contributing to a bigger picture goal.
The culture of PR planning has to change. Sophisticated marketers and communications pros who are having the most success proving the business impact of PR are looking at it more holistically, on an annual program basis, with a series of integrated thought leadership campaigns throughout the year.
4. An effective buyer engagement platform is lacking.
High-quality owned media ensures the conversation doesn’t end with one earned media placement or an ad. Relevant calls to action, backed by valuable, customer-centric content, keep readers engaged and build a relationship before they’re ready to buy.
Many B2B marketers are dealing with a hard-coded website that’s difficult to update on a regular basis and without the budget for an entire overhaul. Therefore, their ability to update messaging and publish ongoing owned content, let alone gate it for lead generation, is limited.
In order to integrate earned, owned and paid media, you need the infrastructure and marketing technology stack in place to regularly update your website without a developer, publish owned thought leadership and attribute touchpoints throughout the buyer’s journey. The ideal buyer engagement platform contains:
- Customer-centric messaging in which the value narrative comes before product information and is consistent with all inbound promotional copy.
- Meaningful conversion opportunities (both soft and hard calls to action) at every level of the buyer’s journey to capture and nurture leads through the sales and marketing funnel.
- The ability to publish ongoing owned media/thought leadership content to keep users coming back to learn.
5. Content strategy is not integrated across all marketing efforts.
Corporate marketing teams, external agency partners, contractors and freelancers are all responsible for understanding business objectives and following the same marketing plan. But without a documented content strategy that links assets to those tangible business objectives, content execution happens in silos, creating a disjointed customer experience and fragmented messaging.
And while the PR firm often leads the development of thought leadership and messaging strategy, the marketing team doesn’t always view thought leadership as the key branding driver or a foundation for the content strategy.
There’s one, central content strategy and calendar that all team members, internal and external, are held accountable to. It’s built on a solid foundation of thought leadership campaigns tied to business objectives. Additionally, a well-defined messaging platform and point of view in every channel and outlet, ensures a consistent brand story throughout the entire buyer’s journey.
Marketing teams also see success when all partners are committed and accountable to creating valuable content that buyers need and helps them do their jobs better, not focused on product features and benefits.
Check back in for our final installment in the 3-part series in which we’ll reveal the secret to becoming a billionaire. Just kidding – that’s out of the scope of expertise (unfortunately), but we will reveal additional limitations and solutions to reaching the ideal state.