Something big’s happened at your company. You’ve landed a significant contract and smashed your quarterly targets.
You’re fit to burst, but who do you tell? Chloe, in accounts, is already rolling her eyes every time you bring it up. (And you have been bringing it up…)
Here’s the solution. A B2B PR campaign with a strong focus on creative, engaging content that attracts prospects and reaches out to the media.
It’s simply the best way to share your company’s news with the world. B2B PR and content work so well together; content acts as your voice and public relations is the megaphone that spreads the message.
You may think you’ve already got a B2B public relations strategy. You send press releases to local papers and industry publications. You even had a story featured on an industry website many moons ago.
That must have felt great when it happened. But what if you could have that feeling all the time?
What if there was always a journalist there to listen? What if they regularly wrote articles about your achievements? What if they wrote lengthy features about the data you were sharing?
What if that publicity consistently led to new business?
A great B2B content-led PR strategy does all that and more. Here’s how to do it:
START FROM A POSITION OF CONFIDENCE. GET OUT THERE AND TELL YOUR STORY.
Let’s start from the beginning. First, you need to be brave.
Before you build your B2B PR strategy, you need to start with the basics. Craft on-page content at the core of your website that tells everyone who you are and what you do.
That can be tougher than you think. Everybody has an ‘about’ page, but is it telling your company’s story and why they should choose you over everybody else?
It’s essential to tell the story of your brand, but you also need to highlight why you’re doing what you’re doing. What your unique selling points are, and how are you different from everybody else?
Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle’ is a great reference point whenever you create content for an audience. Simon explains the circle’s purpose on his website. Here’s a great visualisation of it from Smart Insights:
A lot of businesses know what they do and how they do it. Sometimes they lose focus though and lose sight of why they’re doing it.
As Simon says, once you figure out why you’re doing something, you can expand to the outer layers of the circle, and explain in greater detail where the ‘what’ and ‘how’ fit into your strategy.
That can be expanded on in your on-site content to let everybody know – from prospects to journalists – what you stand for. A journalist who’s never heard of you will take a greater interest in you if they’re wowed by your story and company ethos.
One of our favourite B2C examples of the Golden Circle can be found on the Dr Martens’ website. You’re left in no doubt about the company’s culture, when they started, who wears their boots and why they do so. It’s incredibly strong base-level content.
GREAT CONTENT IS A SIGN OF THOUGHT LEADERSHIP AND BUILDS TRUST
Point Visible shows that 88% of B2B content marketers agree that creating content makes their audience view their company as a credible and trusted resource.
Once you’ve figured out your ‘why’, you need to create content consistently that shows knowledge of your industry and solves people’s problems.
Your content needs to show real leadership and different perspectives and be easy-to-digest to keep people coming back for more. Listen to your audience’s problems, think, research and produce content that gets to the heart of their pain points.
Degreed is the B2B definition of producing thought-leadership content to solve people’s problems. The EdTech specialists could use their website just to sell their service like any other company.
Instead, they collect industry data and create thought-leadership content to turn their website into a valuable resource. Degreed informs on educational trends such as the digitization of learning alongside guides and reports.
That content is supported by case studies showing how B2B companies have signed up with Degreed to solve trade-related issues. That’s great for attracting prospects, building trust and generating leads.
Think about the media angle, too. Unique research and insight that is pre-pitched to the media is invaluable in driving media coverage. Degreed has earned column inches from high-profile news sites and industry blogs because of its robust approach.
If you’re unsure where to start, Backlinko has a fantastic guide outlining how to create a blog post from scratch that covers how to choose topics to content promotion.
Once you’re in a rhythm, you can expand out from blogs. Use key data and trends to create eBooks, whitepapers, videos and other resources that your target audience will find useful.
That will, in turn, help…
IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE'S SEO RANKINGS AND GENERATE BETTER BACKLINKS
People use search engines because they’re looking for answers to their problems.
If you create content with value that gets straight to the heart of your prospect’s problems, they’ll love you forever. But how does that help attract better-quality backlinks to your site and improve your SEO efforts?
Well, scroll up to see how. We’ve linked to Simon Sinek, DR. Martens and Degreed. They’re fantastic, unique, powerful voices that act as a great point of reference. That’s how great content helps SEO; people find immense value in it, want to share it and link to it.
It’s even better if a news organisation picks up on the things you’re writing about and creates an article around you, linking back to your website. A backlink from a trusted publication can be worth more than 1,000 spammy backlinks (that could also damage how Google ranks you).
Optimising your content with keywords (without disrupting the flow or lessening its value) combined with strong backlinks will give you greater search visibility, especially if you create high-value content regularly.
And, while you should always have your readership at the forefront of your mind when creating content, you can’t discount the way Google indexes and ranks content through its ever-changing algorithms.
Quality backlinks, relevance, importance and more are just some of the ranking signals Google uses to rank content. Getting into Google News, too, can help spread your content amongst journalists and other industry influencers.
Moz has some excellent guides for beginners explaining the history and impact of Google’s algorithm updates. The sheer amount of topic clusters in its content marketing section alone are an indicator of just how complex it can be to get the balance right.
As Moz points out, too, you might be in trouble if your content looks like this:
Google survives and is the world’s most used search engine because it works to deliver the answer to a search query as quickly and in the most appropriate way as possible. That’s why it wants clear, concise and valuable content as the top result every time.
Good news; so do your prospects. Pieces of B2B content that solve problems with authority aren’t just going to be looked at favourably by search engines, but the people who you want to attract, too.
SHARE THAT CONTENT WITH THE PEOPLE IT WAS MADE FOR ON SOCIAL MEDIA
So, you’re creating fantastic content regularly that people can’t find anywhere else, and it sees some love from Google.
That’s not enough. It may be engaging to read and attracts strong backlinks, but it needs to work for you on social media, too.
Brilliant content encourages sharing. You need to be part of the conversation your content is creating, whether that’s sparking a discussion with it on Twitter or sharing it with a journalist from B2B publication on LinkedIn.
That latter point shows how great content can boost a B2B PR strategy. Hootsuite recently highlighted that LinkedIn has some great engagement figures.
91% of executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant content and 80% of B2B leads generated on social media come from there.
But, as you probably know, it’s never wise to spam anyone – let alone a writer for an industry publication – with self-serving content on social media.
The Bullseye Framework is an excellent three-ring method to help you find the people that will love your content on social media, whether journalists or prospects.
Created by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, it’s like the Golden Circle and is built on the idea that poor distribution – not product – is the number one cause of failure. It’s a great way to optimise a social media strategy.
The outer ring focuses on what’s possible; brainstorming what success to you would look like on each social channel and creating ideas for them.
The middle ring refines that and focuses on what’s probable; running cheap traction tests on the most exciting strategies, you’ve thought of and see if they work.
When you get to the inner ring, you should have a much greater idea of what’s working socially. You should have a set of promising results on a few core channels to build a strong social media audience that loves what you create.
B2B PR HAS EVOLVED TO HAVE CREATIVE CONTENT AT ITS CORE
Traditional B2B PR tactics have changed thanks to the internet.
Public relations agencies worldwide are themselves moving from the traditional model to becoming more content-focused, as highlighted in this excellent Forbes article by Nelson Granados.
There’s a great article over at Spin Sucks about how PR professionals have had to evolve to accept their job is about more than just advertising. It’s now about generating leads, nurturing them and converting them.
To evolve to do that in a better way, a lot of them have adopted the PESO model, which merges the four media types: paid media, earned media, shared media and owned media.
The PESO model helps them to create and share content for themselves and clients across different media channels in measurable ways.
When done correctly, PESO boosts authority, creates strong partnerships with influencers and journalists, provides incentives to readers, amplifies a message and more.
B2B PR firms aren’t solely focused on networking with journalists anymore. They’re creating video content; building and managing LinkedIn and Facebook pages; creating gifs to attract eyeballs on Facebook and Twitter.
They’re driving targeted leads to sales funnels; they’re emailing interested prospects; they’re boosting sales, all with creative content. They’re also attracting influencers, building partnerships with journalists, and attracting publicity with amazing creative campaigns.
Those techniques are part of a broader trend that many have been adopting over the past decade: inbound marketing. Inbound is the natural enemy to outbound marketing.
So, what’s the difference between the two? You’ll know what outbound is and more than likely hate it; outbound is also known as interruptive marketing and is designed for demanding your attention.
For outbound read cold calling, flyers in your mail, cold emails arriving in your inbox, a stranger sliding into your DMs…
PR tactics such as press releases have also been labelled as an outbound, with Databox saying it’s one of the least effective outbound tactics of 2019.
Inbound is totally the opposite and focuses on discovery. Inbound isn’t intrusive like outbound can be.
Inbound marketing attracts people to your cause by engaging with them, entertaining them, informing them and more, so they build a strong, long-term emotional attachment with your company.
Incredible content and a robust search and social media presence are the best way to do that. Not just because it’s in-vogue or because trendy online companies are doing it, but because inbound gets real, measurable results.
Any modern B2B PR strategy needs to be rooted in a broader inbound marketing philosophy to grab the attention of journalists, prospects and anybody else you’re keen to work with.
Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2018 report makes for grim reading for outbound marketing. It’s at death’s door. The introduction of GDPR has restricted how marketers can reach out to people via outbound, and you could be (unintentionally) breaking the law by sticking with it.
This is true for your public relations approach, too. The way to build relationships with journalists has changed, but that can be a good thing. Everyone’s trying to get their attention. Their inboxes are swamped with press releases, and they’re tight on time.
You catch more flies with honey. Spike a B2B journalist’s curiosity with fantastic content. Reach out to them positively on social media. Provide them with impartial data-led content that helps them break stories in a non-intrusive inbound way.
HOW DOES ALL THIS HELP YOUR COMPANY ENGAGE B2B JOURNALISTS?
As companies have evolved online, so too have B2B journalists looking for a story. While they still pick up a phone and publish press releases, their time is now dedicated to other channels, too.
B2B journalists will scour the Twitter profiles of workers. They’ll have a look at what the company is posting on their blogs. They’ll be reaching out to and engaging with sources on LinkedIn and other platforms.
In short, they have the vast wastes of the internet to navigate, just to do their job. While the internet has created fantastic opportunities, it has also put severe pressure on newsrooms and journalists to keep audiences interested and attract new readers across many channels.
The Digital News Report 2019, compiled by the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford, shows just how much pressure journalists and publications are under, especially with the dangers of clickbait and misinformation.
So many people are craving journalists’ attention. That’s why unique, creative content as part of your B2B PR strategy helps you make your case:
Strong website content that shows why your company exists complemented by content that supports your core mission statement gives B2B journalists no doubt about who you are and how you want to make your mark on the industry.
Authoritative content that shows leadership uses key industry data to support arguments and provides information to cast light on trends and topics journalists may have missed is invaluable to them and will keep them engaged with your brand.
Visible content that appears in Google News and ranks highly for industry search terms will naturally keep you in front of journalists’ eyes as well as prospects. If you rank highly, it must be because you have something valuable to say and are trusted in the sector.
Social content creates conversations and gets you in front of journalists and prospects. If your content is creating a stir in the industry, they’ll naturally be drawn to report on it. You can also instantly get in front of those journalists on social media to build relationships.
Inbound content is laser-focused. Journalists have little time to waste and don’t want to sit reading boring press releases and fielding pitches on calls. A robust B2B content strategy with inbound PR at its heart gets clear messages across to the journalists you want to talk to most on the channels they’re most active.
Why not take a look at our guide, ‘How To Create A B2B PR Strategy That Sings’, to start on the path to creating a strategy yourself?