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5 principles for B2B public relations

The evolution of public relations is real. Emerging technologies, audience expectations and our changing media landscape have all joined forces to upend PR as we knew it.

It’s for the best. Too many practitioners think of media clips, press releases and awards as public relations’ full extent. We know our sphere of influence is much broader.

Public relations is all about shaping how our audiences perceive us, and it’s those massively impactful shifts in perception that define our success. While it rarely happens overnight, by adopting Arketi’s five principles for B2B public relations, you, too, can realize the full potential of your program.

Judson Phillips brings 20+ years of B2B marketing results to Arketi - READ THE STORY

Judson Phillips brings 20+ years of B2B marketing results to Arketi

Arketi Group strengthened its team of expert B2B communicators and marketers with the addition of Judson Phillips as vice president and member of the firm’s senior leadership team.

#1 To be a thought leader, you first need to have a thought

When you think of a thought leader, who comes to mind? An industry expert? A futurist or technologist? Someone in academics or research? A social media influencer?

Thought leadership is shared in a variety of ways. What remains consistent, however, is the value provided. A successful thought leader offers authentic knowledge and insights to build trust with audiences.

Effective B2B thought leadership programs are not defined by a consistent blog schedule or social media calendar. While those are useful channels, thought leadership also requires:

  • Original insights – Don’t just repeat what everyone else is saying, offer a perspective that encourages action or change.
  • A committed spokesperson – Thought leaders are made not born, and if you can’t commit to creating and sharing meaningful content, it’s likely not worth the effort.
  • Teaching over promoting – You may have the best product or service on the market, but your audience isn’t looking for a sales pitch. They want to learn something they couldn’t anywhere else.

#2 Merchandize PR or don’t do it

Public relations has a bad habit, and no, it’s not sending journalists overwritten pitches or using too many superlatives in press releases. Though some journalists probably disagree.

The bad habit is missing out on the full value of our PR efforts and investments. Media coverage, awards, case studies, speaking engagements and everything in between can all be used beyond what’s expected.

Think about it this way…

  • Don’t leave media coverage on the shelf – Link to and share coverage in sales emails, employee updates, social media posts, executive communications, videos and blogs.
  • Ladder up awards – Use awards as an opportunity to turn customers into raving fans. Once you’ve won an award together, the likelihood of them joining in on a news release, case study, webinar or media relations campaign increases exponentially.
  • Leave an artifact – You’ve got a speaking gig, but now it’s time to be greedy! Always have an asset, content or some form of thought leadership to offer your audience afterward. And don’t forget to include a call to action.
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6 keys to creating non-cliché content marketing

Meaningful content makes an impact on the reader and leaves them wanting more. It gives them something that they couldn’t get anywhere else, whether that’s a nugget of information, a tool, checklist or video. Our senior content creators Karsten Burgstahler and Traci Scherr offer six ways to level up your content marketing in their article with PR Daily.

#3 There is an influencer for everything

Much like thought leaders, influencers present themselves in many forms. And, while today’s influencers are typically thought of as social media stars, it is not an exclusive club.

Incorporate influencers into your B2B public relations by:

  • Working with influencers outside social media, such as academics, analysts and even journalists.
  • Engaging nano- and micro-influencers, or individuals with a narrow, but dedicated, following.
  • Letting influencers get creative so they can engage and excite their audience with your brand narrative. Trust us, they know what works.

#4 Make your customers the hero – and center of your PR

There’s a hero at the center of every story: someone who climbs the mountain, faces insurmountable challenges and defeats the evil dragon all to build a better, safer world.

The same is true in public relations, except, rarely are you the hero of your own tale. Instead, it’s customers and users who take up that role.

Audiences want to know how you helped others overcome the same challenges they face. They are looking for a trusted guide, one with the wisdom and experience to steer them in the right direction. Use public relations as a tool to share your customers’ stories and see for yourself how much it drives engagement.

For example…

  • Journalists care more about users and their experiences than they do your company’s brand, solutions or spec sheets. Pitches should be tailored with at least one customer example to showcase.
  • Connect public relations with customer success to build a running list of engaged and excited users who are willing to speak on the record (positively, that is).
  • Two is better than one when it comes to speaking proposals. You won’t get accepted pitching a product demo, but your chances of presenting a case study alongside a customer are much higher.
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Request your seat for the 2022 Tech CMO Roundtable

Love sizzling-hot bacon and freshly brewed coffee? Then join us for both – plus a deep dish of B2B marketing and communications conversation – at our 16th annual Tech CMO Roundtable on the morning of October 27th.



#5 Measure what matters

Measurements abound in public relations. Ad value equivalency, share of voice, media impressions, audience reach, the list goes on. But do these metrics truly demonstrate the value of public relations?

The answer is… complicated, and that’s why PR remains one of the most challenging practices to track and measure.

Consider that one multi-million-dollar client you acquired after they saw your company featured in an industry publication. Who gets the credit? The article or the sales team's follow-up? Do you measure the value of the article or the deal? These are difficult questions to answer.

Instead of boiling the ocean with every metric possible, we recommend:

  • Keeping it simple – Establish what types of PR activities are most important to your business, whether that’s speaking engagements, awards or earned media coverage. Then, narrow your focus to the two or three most relevant KPIs.
  • Focusing on outcomes – Are those activities working? Are you seeing an increase in media coverage? Perhaps website traffic is up? If so, keep at it.
  • Integrating PR – Tie your public relations program to all other marketing and sales activities. Now, you can draw a line between results and revenue. If you’re not generating revenue, rethink where your line starts from.

And look good doing it

The ‘death’ of public relations has been greatly exaggerated. Rather, our sphere of influence has grown. Audiences have more freedom and choice than ever, and the same goes for how we approach engaging them.

In fact, public relations and communications practitioners have more tools at their disposal than ever before – the challenge is identifying and tracking which have the most impact on your audience.

By incorporating these five principles into your own approach, well, that’s how you make the most of your public relations.

Need help building a public relations program that resonates with your audience? Let’s talk. Reach out to Mike Neumeier at 404.451.7832 or mneumeier@arketi.com.

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