As Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, said, “Increasingly, the mass marketing is turning into a mass of niches.” Public Relations (PR) is also increasingly becoming specialized and customized; and more so for a B2B brand. Communication requirements of a B2B brand are dynamic and unprecedented – one needs to understand the complexities of managing the business customer, how to effectively reach out to them and assist them to make informed decisions.
When crafting a PR plan for a B2B company, one needs to understand that the new developments and announcements for companies in this space would be lesser and not frequent. Next is to understand the different stakeholders involved such as the channel partners, wholesalers, retailers, Government body/institution etc. Once the stakeholders have been mapped, then one needs to choose the best medium and tools needed to communicate about the company’s messages and build relationships.
B2B Enterprises do not have new developments/announcements very often, hence it becomes important for PR consultants to come up with unique campaign ideas which could be for an industry cause for instance new technology, industry trends etc. which can be strategically weaved along with the company’s key messages. Another aspect of most of the B2B companies is that they are often media shy and stressed for time. Hence the best approach for propagating the PR campaigns can be through using bylined articles, email interviews; customer interviews/case studies etc. which will keep the news funnel ongoing.
Targeted Communications to achieve the ROI
B2B businesses are always on the lookout for the return on investment and hence also expect PR to help the brand increase awareness by means of the rise in website traffic, increase in the number of sales leads etc. Hence it is very important to have a strategic and focused plan for B2B PR which starts with having a tiered media approach which essentially means designing customized content and sharing it through relevant media to reach out to a specific group of stakeholders.
Select the appropriate Media
Most often clients demand that their interviews and articles are published in the leading financial/mainline daily newspaper, even if it does not reach out to its target audience. Here is when, an expert communication professional should guide the company to understand the importance of industry publications and periodicals which are the best ways to promote and build awareness about your company. Getting featured in the industry Trade publications will help a B2B brand to directly reach out to its immediate customers.
Quarter/Annual Brand Property
A B2B brand should plan for a quarterly/annual brand property which can help the company to be positioned as a knowledge leader. Companies can explore conducting a round-table discussion on the challenges being faced by the industry and the roadmap ahead wherein third party institutions along with the competitive companies can participate. This discussion can be followed by releasing a white paper which will carry views from industry experts on the problems in the industry and the possible solutions. This whitepaper can be branded appropriately and shared with trade media. Such an initiative will position your company as a thought leader and increase the credibility of your offerings.
To sum it up, when planning a PR campaign for a B2B brand, one should consider a unique PR campaign, tiered media approach, have a brand property, keep in mind the appropriate communications medium – trade magazines, newsletter, e-mailer, the frequency of communication and measure the ROI qualitatively.
The author is Richa Seth, B2B Communications Expert at Adfactors B2B