Earned media coverage, which is non-paid promotional opportunities for a brand, company, internal thought leader or expert, that is secured via public relations (PR) is more important than it’s ever been for B2B businesses. In fact, if PR is not part of your overall B2B marketing and sales strategy, you are doing yourself a great disservice. According to the 2019 Global Comms Report by Cision and PR Week, earned media coverage garnered by PR grew its slice of the media-budget spend pie in 2019. Its portion was almost on par with paid media. Of the 527 global respondents for the report, on average 34 per cent of the overall media budget goes to earned media coverage that PR professionals secure, just slightly under the 35 per cent given to paid media. Owned media, such a company’s website, blog or social channels were allotted the remaining 31 per cent.
Why public relations (PR) should be a component of your overall business goals?
The goal of B2B marketing is to create demand for the products and services they sell. The goal of sales, in a simplified explanation, is to generate leads with the help of marketing and to sell more and close deals. The goal of PR, in the overall marketing and sales landscape, is to create awareness and trust in a company, its brand, people and products and services. The line between these three functions is starting to blur, especially in this era where trust is the most important thing customers want from the companies they buy from. USC Annenberg’s 2019 Global Communications Report, states that 51 per cent of PR communicators expect more integration with marketing over the next 5 years.
In B2B interactions trust is intrinsic as the relationship between businesses is more like a long-term partnership that feeds the ongoing success of B2B buyers. In today’s climate of worry and scepticism, B2B buyers like to start with self-education in the early stages of the buying process. A 2020 survey by The CMO reveals that more customers place emphasis on trusting and helpful relationships with vendors when it pertains to business, outpacing other key factors like innovation, product quality and low price.
This is where there is huge opportunity for PR.
Winning trust and achieving credibility does not come from paid advertising or print and digital display placement. It comes from close relationships, a bond, that sales professionals have built and from proven public relations tactics that aim to achieve credibility and win trust for your company’s products and services. Buyers are more likely to trust third party media sources than traditional marketing and advertising.
How PR fits into the big picture?
PR lays the groundwork to build credibility and trust, enabling higher conversions and more satisfied buyers. In your efforts to build trust, there are various types of earned media that a PR professional can secure to help establish your company as an expert/authority in your market, making you a thought leader that industry media, eventually, seek out for additional interview and speaking engagements and content writing opportunities. It is this type of earned content that is often liked, shared and re-distributed by your business customers and potential customers as well as your employees and industry influencers.
Example of PR opportunities that build trust may include:
- Secured media interviews and media coverage
- Bylined articles and opinion pieces or blogs in third party channels
- Executive or company awards given by external sources
- Association or industry analyst briefings or reports
- Social media mentions
- Podcasts, webinars, video interviews, vlogs
- Speaking or writing engagements with major outlets
- Referrals and testimonials in third party outlets or publications
A good PR team or expert will help you build credibility with your target audiences. Every company can benefit from PR, no matter the industry or B2B business. Ranging from surveillance, health, manufacturing, transportation & logistics, home renovation & building products, professional services, not-for-profit, government, technology and education, you should be looking to build good rapport for your business with your business buyers through earned media coverage.
By gaining these opportunities through PR to differentiate yourself and share your knowledge and expertise, you’ll amplify your message, build authority among your target audiences, cement your credibility and brand, get higher sales conversions and have more satisfied clients. Most importantly, and what lends itself to a long and prosperous B2B partnership, trust has been established between both parties.