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B2B PR: Separating the Hype from the Hope

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Today we bring you a guest post on business to business PR from staff writer Beth Principi of Emerging Insider Communications, a niche-oriented agency focused on emerging media and technologies.

As of 2011 there were 5.93 million businesses in the United States, of which 3.15 million—53% of all businesses—engaged in at least some business-to-business activity.

And while that number has only grown since 2011, so has the competition in the space. Even though the marketplace is vast, companies know exactly what they are looking for, quickly narrowing down the competition. The B2B companies that provide those desired services not only need to assure clients that their product is flawless–they also need some sort of public relations plan in place to properly differentiate themselves from the pack.

While I like to think that public relations is a well-oiled machine that produces results, it’s also important for companies to manage expectations for brand exposure. This can be done by following three basic rules:

1. Remember who you are, and who your audience is:

It’s important to remember that you are not a business-to-consumer company. Let me repeat, you are not a business-to-consumer company!

Why is this important? While business-to-consumer brands strive to appear on CNN and other mass market media outlets, this doesn’t make as much sense for B2B companies.

That’s a glamour marketing desire for B2B companies, who would garner much better results from trade or niche publications. These publications often have an audience that is more in tune with a B2B company’s marketing plan and brand. Any desire to go with a big-name publication or outlet needs to be analyzed, as while it may have the potential to give you an ego boost, it doesn’t always provide a marketing boost.

That will come from publications with hyper-focused audiences. Ask yourself: who is watching, reading or listening? Will a placement in a well-known–yet untargeted–magazine drive traffic, mindshare or branding?

2 Remember who the media is:

Why wouldn’t a big-time publication or major network benefit a B2B company?

B2C companies have to just sell their product. B2B companies, however, have a completely different audience with completely different needs.

For B2B companies, the goal isn’t to promote a simple product but to showcase an organization with a team that is reliable, innovative and knowledgeable in the space–a team that other companies will want to choose as a long-term partner rather than a short-term fixer.

3 Media placement goes beyond “media placement”

There is one more piece to the puzzle.

Media placements don’t just happen, and your company first needs to develop a clear corporate story while aligning its internal positioning and its owned media assets. Otherwise, the message will shift and risk confusing the audience.

This may all sound disappointing or disheartening at first for B2B companies, but once we take the “glamour” away from public relations, we’re left with what works.

For B2B companies, that means ignoring the hype and only paying attention to the results. B2B PR may not be flashy, but when done correctly it delivers direct results.

And results are the most glamorous part of business.

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