How to Execute a Successful B2B PR Strategy | GGC
A solid public relations, strategy should be at the core of every B2B sales and marketing plan. Selling to a business is different than B2C marketing – you have to showcase your technical depth and prove your expertise to your target audiences.
Getting an article or press release placed in a trusted publication puts your company in the best light possible: as an expert in your field. Being a thought leader drives business because engineers and decision-makers will look to your company for help optimizing their designs or operations. Industry magazines are also a great way to connect to new audiences who would be difficult or expensive to reach by any other means.
However, you cannot just send a few quick emails to the editor of a publication and expect them to run your article. There’s a certain amount of tact that you have to have in your approach; otherwise, you’ll just end up ruining a potentially business-changing opportunity.
How Do I Get My Story Placed?
It does not matter if you are looking to place an article, press release, or some other sort of report–getting a story placed is all about how you approach the editor of the publication. Simply put, in order to succeed in your PR efforts, you need to develop good relationships with editors.
While many editors are hungry for content, they need pieces that support the goals of their publication. Your standard marketing fluff piece will not do. If you send them a blatantly promotional piece, you can expect them to reject it… if they even send you a reply at all.
Building relationships with editors is not so different from marketing to your customers. You want to solve their problems and provide a unique benefit that nobody else can (or, more likely, just something that they have not seen before). Focusing on helping the editor achieve their goals will go a long way to not only getting your current article placed, but also creating a long-lasting relationship where the editor will come to you looking for content.
The 7 Things that Editors Hate
If you want to build a good relationship with editors, you will want to avoid the typical mistakes that many B2B marketers make when reaching out. Here are seven common issues that drive editors nuts:1. Sending submissions and pitches to everyone at once
Magazines want exclusives. Editors do not want to see an article that they run placed on a rival publication’s website.2. Sending only a single email, or incessantly following up
Editors are human. They might miss a single email, but you also should not bombard them every day asking for an update. That is a good way to get blocked.3. Overstretching the truth or lying on due dates
Editors are held to very rigid timelines in order to get their publication’s materials out on time. If something is going to be late, let them know. Often there is a workaround, but only if you have good communication.4. Waiting until after print or a publication goes out to have an edit
While editors will certainly look through a piece themselves, the last thing you want to do is wait until the ink has dried to notice a typo.5. Significant promotion or exaggerating your company’s solution
Even if you think your product or service is the best thing since sliced bread, you will want to tone it down a notch when doing effective PR campaigns. Acting like your product is the “best thing ever” or the only viable solution is a good way to get an editor not to want your story, especially without hard data supporting your key messages.6. Using fluff words instead of facts and data
Speaking of data, you should absolutely include it in your article. You will also want to avoid marketing lingo like the terms solutions, challenges, and needs.7. Only having press conferences instead of having one-on-ones with editors
If your only idea of a public relations strategy is holding press conferences, then you are probably missing out on some great opportunities. Editors will be shy of asking questions at a press conference because they do not want other publications to get the scoop.
How to Create a Winning B2B PR Story
So now that you know what editors do not want, what is it that they are looking for? Editors want a non-promotional piece that follows a problem-solution formula. Everything you send an editor should teach the end reader how to do their job better.
The go-to process for getting a story placed will look something like this:
- Pitch an idea to the editor
- Work with the editor to secure the topic
- Create an outline of what the article should address
- Work with the editor to tweak the outline
- Write the story
- Tweak until ready
That is a just general overview – what are all the little things that happen in between those steps? Here is a bulletproof workflow that you can use to make your next story successful:
Know Your Editors
Having a good understanding of your editors and pitching to their strengths/industries is critical. Start by sending an email to prepare them, then follow up with a call over the next couple of days.
Provide New Information
Editors do not want the same story that they have heard a thousand times. Your story should have technical depth and provide the reader a new way of looking at their operations. This is the time to consult with your engineers and technical experts to flesh everything out.
Capitalize on Images
Editors want attractive, high-quality images to go along with a story. Make sure to have a good caption for each image in a complete sentence and explains the picture or diagram. For the publications that allow it, captions are where you can be a little promotional and mention the name of your company and products.
Answer the Obvious Questions
A big mistake that many marketing professionals make is to set up a story that seems to the reader as though they will learn something, but then it quickly pushes a product. You cannot be overly promotional. Editors will want to make sure that their readers feel as though they learned something, not that they were sold to. However, usually you can mention your company/product once or twice throughout the story by using “such as” phrases.
Explain all Acronyms
While you should assume that your readers have a general understanding of the topic you are writing about, you should still explain all acronyms the first time you use them. Do not assume every reader knows all your jargon.
Proof Your Article Thoroughly
Do not just quickly proof an article once and call it a day. Make sure that you get multiple eyes on a story before finalizing it. This includes both grammar checks and having your experts approve the information. See our blog post about proofreading.
Set Hard Deadlines and Keep Communication Open
Hiccups are more common than any of us would like to admit. However, you need to inform your editor as soon as anything occurs that would threaten your ability to meet a deadline. As long as you have good communication, editors will generally be understanding and help you to find a way to make it work either short term or long term.