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10 ways to achieve successful B2B PR in 2022

Written by Simpatico PR

Posted on 2021-12-14

The last year or so has seen many businesses temporarily pause their B2B PR out-reach as they sought to cope with the pandemic. 

Many companies are now ramping up their PR and marketing efforts, recognizing that the world of business has not stood still, in fact change has accelerated.

Almost every sector of business you look at is energised with new innovations, changing operating models, digital transformation and new approaches to managing human talent.

Amidst all this change, the big B2B PR challenge is ensuring your business achieves not just visibility amongst all the other voices but recognition and understanding by your target audience – customers, prospects, team, prospective team, business partners.

So, as we approach 2022, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at how to achieve a successful B2B PR programme. 

Here are ten quick thoughts that provide a framework for an effective B2B PR programme.

B2B PR objectives

The very first question you should be asked by a B2B PR agency is what your one year, five year and long-term objectives for the business are. The answers provide an invaluable understanding of where you are headed and how you see the market changing. The second question is what PR should do for you – what success looks like to you. Again, this is invaluable for your PR team to know, but if you are being un-realistic, expect to be challenged.

So, the very start of the process is you and your leadership team challenging yourselves to think carefully about what PR should help you achieve.

Credibility

Many leadership teams get hung-up on what they can and should talk about. Go too wide in the areas you talk about and you may lack credibility; restrict yourself to the products and services that you sell and you will starve your PR of oxygen and fail to achieve what you set out to do.

The best way forward is to create a map of three broad subject areas. A. your expertise – what your team knows about your industry and innovation within it. B. Your business development programme – what are your target sectors and what can you say about them based on your expertise. C. Your business story and your working culture – the personal and team stories that can add texture to people’s understanding of your company.

Indirect selling through thought leadership

Although company news such as new products, services, growth, team members and business wins are important, a big part of B2B PR is about thought-leadership. Some businesses that have little or no news due to client sensitivities rely completely on projecting their expertise or research to generate PR.

Self-promotion gets you nowhere fast in B2B thought-leadership. The art of thought-leadership is to project ideas and insight that places you inside the circle of industry debate and where possible positions you as an agenda-setting company – i.e. you are telling people something entirely new or challenging perceived wisdom.

The exposure you win through this should be relevant to what you do and fall within the credibility map (above). In effect it is indirect sales and should dovetail with your business development efforts.

B2B PR supports business development

This may seem an obvious point, but it is surprising how often businesses fail to firmly engage their business development programme and wider marketing with PR. Integrating or at the very least ensuring your business development team talks regularly with your PR team is a basic first step. Ideally your business development lead should have ownership at least in part of the PR relationship.

The ideal outcome is a PR programme scheduled to activate proactive thought-leadership articles, reports or research around your business development out-reach and other marketing such as events. In short – create an integrated business development, PR and marketing plan. It’s actually quite straight-forward.

Consistent messaging

A core element in any good B2B PR programme is to create a simple set of messages about your business. Probably starting with your positioning – a combination of what you are, what you offer and what you believe. And perhaps two other supporting messages related to what you do or how you add value to customers.

These should help provide guide rails so that everything your say through PR relates back to the business and your objectives.

Don’t be afraid of repetition – repetition is the key to PR. The more you say something, the more it will cut through.

Build ideas in advance

Successful B2B PR including thought-leadership requires thought and planning. Building a coherent programme that delivers ROI requires up-front investment in creating the ideas that will fuel your programme.

Simpatico PR has a particular approach to this – we call it the Book of Ideas.

Original thought

There are two basic types of B2B PR thought leadership. The first is original thought. Quite simply your teams’ observations, ideas and points of view on the issues that are relevant to your business and the market. These may relate to the implications of events or innovations or the future direction of the industry and the forces affecting it.

They can also be created specifically for vertical customer sectors. This is essential to achieving regular media exposure. Your customers expect to hear your voice about the industry – your competitors will do this. Some very effectively.

Original research

B2B PR thought leadership does not all have to be based on original research or IP (as above – ideas are good enough). However, it can pay to plan and budget for a number of research-based projects that deliver multi-channel PR and marketing outcomes each year.

One such project can create a burst of marketing and PR that can last several months. 

Some B2B PR projects can run for years based on original material that is refenced in many different ways.

Structure – channel management

B2B PR content naturally flows into social media. PR should be integrated with social channel management and LinkedIn is your primary tool. It enables you to amplify everything you say and reach a big audience directly.

A simple strategy is to ensure each member of your leadership team posts selected PR coverage or thought leadership in parallel, therefore multiplying the audience you as a business can reach.

Another way to organize content across channels is to grade content according to its channel potential. Technical observations and some company news may be best placed on your blog and social channels but will not work for PR. 

Higher quality thought leadership is used for PR first and then trickles down to LinkedIn and your blog as well as direct marketing.

Put simple processes in place and ensure everyone who should be is engaged.

PR relationships

A good B2B PR agency should be a consultancy partner not a press release factory. Allow them to have an honest opinion – you may learn something useful. 

The best relationships are founded on trust and shared goals – don’t be afraid to bring your PR team into the inner circle.

Understanding B2B PR ROI

Finally – think about what B2B PR can do for you. It is not a direct sales tool. Rather, it should build business brand fame, build the profile of your team and support business development.

It should position your business at the forward edge of the market and help you project the right messages about your company. But it will do all of this over time. B2B PR is not a short-term game.

Be clear about KPIs and measurement structure right from the get-go and expect comprehensive reporting.

Done consistently well, there is no form of marketing that is more powerful.

Do you have a project you would like to talk over with us?

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