5 Ways PR Wins When Driving B2B Sales

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Us PR agency has seen a recent surge in applications from B2B companies hungry to generate business in uncertain times. Advertising is expensive and supply chain problems, looming inflation and the ongoing global pandemic are increasing the pressure to bring in new customers.

Public relations is a cost-effective, highly effective strategy for generating inbound leads and driving sales. Here are five reasons why B2B media relations and press engagement 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 rely on the trade press

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

However, trade publications and business magazines remain the primary platform for reaching business decision makers. Most trade publications have a good reputation among industry experts. Many are published online with newsletters, making it easy for professionals to read daily industry news.

2. Earned Media Placements Build Authority and Trust

We call it “deserved” because media attention is published based on content value and never paid for. B2B companies tend to sell more expensive products and services, and the sales cycle is longer. When a company, product or service is mentioned in the media, awareness increases and can accelerate the consideration phase of key decision makers.

Since trade publications focus on specific industries, functions, and 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 recognizable best practices from current customers build authority and imply that potential customers can trust a company. The power of external media validation provides ‘social proof’ that a company is relevant and credible. It also allows companies to share values ​​or purposeful missions that can drive differentiation from competitors.

3. Thought leadership boosts reputation

Byline articles and inclusion in media expert lists are excellent ways to signal thought leadership.

Many media outlets accept byline articles on hot topics and will publish “as is” if the content is relevant, non-promotional and useful to the public. Getting on media expert lists keeps you up to date with journalists who may need an expert to assess a situation or provide a quick quote. Published articles amplify your company’s expertise and provide real-world examples of how your product or services do 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 perseverance.

It can take several months to build the right media relationships and secure placements. However, if a journalist or media company relies on your company to deliver quality, thought-provoking content that isn’t overly promotional, placements will increase.

Our company has worked with a captive insurance company over three years, due to 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 an investment of time for optimal results.

To increase the impact of PR placements and further leverage the power of third-party media placements to generate leads, we recommend that companies repurpose messaging in at least six ways:

  • Share on social media channels: Link to the article, quote or mention via social media platforms. Always acknowledge the media outlet with a comment like “Honored to be featured in XYZ Publication.”

  • Boost on LinkedIn: Since there’s a good chance that important prospects are on LinkedIn, we recommend spending budget on increasing the post shared by the company.

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

  • Make use of the placement in an eblast or newsletter, and don’t forget to include existing customers in the communication.

  • Thought leadership pieces can often be expanded and turned into white papers for use on websites and email marketing campaigns. Oftentimes, white papers are located behind a lead generation contact form that must be filled in to access the entire article, further expanding the potential for lead generation.

  • Convert print placements into multimedia. Create engaging slideshows or create a short video that discusses the topic of the article. Share everywhere.

Related: 4 Tools to Perfect Your B2B Sales Funnel

5. PR is measurable

Attribution has traditionally been a challenge for PR professionals. We are always looking for ways to track PR efforts to drive lead generation and sales and prove value to the C-suite.

Fortunately, we now have countless attribution models and statistics and analytics are more advanced than ever. It is best practice to establish expectations for measuring success before launching PR campaigns. Benchmarks and measurement dashboards are created to be tracked month by month and year by year.

Examples of measurements are:

  • 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 outdated measurement and not considered reliable.)

  • Correlating peaks in website traffic with media placement and analyzing cumulative increases to the website

  • Track backlinks to the website and assess the impact PR has on SEO rankings

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

  • Track incoming leads and completed online lead generation forms

  • Measuring the quantity and quality of media placements over time

In short, savvy business leaders understand and appreciate the potential of PR to influence credibility and trust, demonstrate thought leadership and leverage emerging sales funnels. From startups to established companies, B2B PR is a strategic path to success.

Related: 6 Fatal B2B Sales Mistakes You Should Avoid