5 Ways PR Wins in B2B Sales Generation

5 Ways PR Wins in B2B Sales Generation

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Our PR firm has received a recent surge in inquiries from B2B companies eager to generate business during uncertain times. Advertising is expensive and supply chain problems, looming inflation and the ongoing global pandemic add to the pressure to secure new business.

Public relations is a cost-effective and highly effective strategy for generating inbound leads and increasing sales. Here are five reasons why B2B media relations and press coverage strategies for your business should always be part of your marketing mix.

Related: The role of PR in the changing B2B landscape

1. Americans still trust the specialized press

The Reuters Institute recently reported that the US ranks last out of 46 countries in media trust. According to the survey of 92,000 media consumers, only 29% trust major media outlets, making public relations an uphill battle for many brands.

However, trade publications and business journals remain the main platform for reaching business decision makers. Most trade publications have a good reputation with industry experts. Many are published online offering e-newsletters, making it convenient for professionals to read industry news daily.

2. Media placements gained build authority and trust

We call this “earning” because media coverage is published by virtue of the content’s value and never paid. B2B companies typically sell products and services at higher prices and the sales cycle is longer. When a company, product or service is mentioned in the media, awareness increases and the consideration phase of key decision makers can accelerate.

Because trade publications target specific industries, roles, and work interests, an article or mention is more likely to be seen by those who most want to buy what you most want to sell. Innovation, success stories, and relatable case examples from current customers build authority and suggest that potential customers can trust a company. The power of third-party media validation provides “social proof” that a business is relevant and trustworthy. It also provides an opportunity for companies to share values ​​or purpose-driven missions that can drive differentiation from the competition.

3. Thought leadership boosts reputation

Subscription articles and inclusion on media expert lists are excellent ways to signal thought leadership.

Many media outlets accept subscription articles on timely topics and will post “as is” if the content is relevant, non-promotional, and useful to the audience. Landing on the media expert lists keeps you in mind with journalists who may need an expert to assess a situation or provide a quick quote. Published articles reinforce your company’s experience and provide real-world examples of how your product or service does what it claims to do.

4. PR placements are cumulative and can be reused

PR is cumulative and requires a little patience and a lot of persistence.

It can take several months to build the right media relationships and secure placements. However, once a journalist or media outlet trusts your company to offer quality, thought-provoking content that isn’t overly promotional, channels will start to increase.

Our company has been working with a captive insurer for three years, attributing an 800% increase in media impressions and a 300% increase in media placements. This is the result of the company’s understanding that an impactful B2B PR campaign doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that requires a time commitment for optimal results.

To increase the influence of PR placements and further leverage the power of third-party media placements to generate leads, we suggest companies reuse coverage in at least six ways:

  • Share on Social Media Channels: Link to the article, quote or mention through social media platforms. Always acknowledge the media outlet with a comment like “Honored to be featured in XYZ Post”.

  • Boost on LinkedIn: Since there’s a good chance that potential customers are on LinkedIn, we recommend a budget to boost the company-shared post.

  • Publish the media placement on the blog and/or add it to the press section of your website.

  • Use the placement in an eblast or e-newsletter and don’t forget to include current customers in the communication.

  • Thought leadership pieces can often be expanded and turned into white papers for use on websites and email marketing campaigns. White papers are often behind a lead generation contact form that must be filled out to gain access to the entire article, further increasing lead generation opportunities.

  • Transform print placements into multimedia. Create engaging slideshows or record a short video discussing the article topic. Share everywhere.

Related: 4 Tools to Improve Your B2B Sales Funnel

5. PR is measurable

Assignment has historically been a challenge for public relations professionals. We are always looking for ways to track PR efforts to generate and generate sales and prove value for the C-suite.

Fortunately, we have multiple attribution models now, and metrics and analytics are more sophisticated than ever. It is a best practice to establish expectations for measurement of success before launching public relations campaigns. Benchmarks and measurement dashboards are established to be tracked month to month and year to year.

Measurement examples include:

  • Audience reach, impressions and click-through rates. (Earned media value, or ERV, which is the practice of assigning a monetary value to a media placement, is an antiquated measure and not considered reliable.)

  • Correlate spikes in website traffic with media placement and analyze cumulative increases across the website

  • Tracking backlinks to the website and evaluating the impact PR has on SEO rankings

  • Measure social media follower growth and engagement, including overall tone and sentiment about the company

  • Inbound lead tracking and completed online lead generation forms

  • Measure increases in the quantity and quality of media channels over time

Bottom line: Seasoned business executives understand and value the potential of public relations to influence credibility and trust, show thought leadership, and tap into emerging sales funnels. From startups to established companies, PR B2B is a strategic path to success.

Related: 6 Fatal B2B Sales Mistakes You Should Avoid

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