Many B2B tech marketers think that public relations exist in its own dimension of time and space, like some parallel marketing universe. It helps with brand awareness and reputation management but little else. But they often fail to see the value of PR in terms of how it can help accomplish marketing objectives.
Yet many PR firms are more than willing to partner with B2B marketers as they look to define and meet their organizational Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
Here are some ways you should immediately consider partnering with your B2B tech PR firm to help you drive demand in the form of awareness, website traffic, and qualified leads:
Avoid operating in silos
In most SMB tech companies, a PR firm can and should be an extension of your marketing team. The best approach is to keep your PR firm in the loop on the latest marketing guidance. It’s not uncommon to invite a liaison from the PR firm — for example a senior account manager — to attend key marketing meetings in order to learn about upcoming initiatives and even offer real-time messaging guidance. After all, the degree to which a new initiative is lauded by influential media can have an oversized impact on sales enablement compared to other marketing programs.
Socialize PR announcements
When a B2B tech company makes an important enough announcement that it turns it into a media placement opportunity, it should follow through by having its executives and key stakeholders share the news on their respective social media networks. Failing to do that misses a golden opportunity to greatly amplify the reach and influence of its news. For example, a company may have a few thousand followers on LinkedIn but with its executives and even board members sharing an announcement the reach grows much more. Add to that employees of the company and the reach can grow by an order of magnitude.
Build a robust press room
Press rooms are often overlooked as a way to help drive awareness and interest in a tech company’s offerings. The fact is the press room isn’t just about press releases anymore. You can add all manner of visuals (pictures, video, and infographics), audio (podcasts and recorded commentary) and text (case studies, testimonials, and product literature) in order to inform a broader audience that could include media, customers and prospects, influencers, and business analysts. A press room is easy to build and can include links to other corporate web pages to improve SEO and drive inbound marketing leads.
Leverage owned media
Speaking of inbound leads, using the company blog as part of a PR campaign helps not only raise awareness but also provides a launchpad for top-of-funnel leads to learn more about a new offering. Rather than simply cut and paste a press release, put some time into developing a narrative to the blog post in order to draw in your audience and build some additional curiosity. Provide an easy call-to-action so the reader can learn more and even ask for a demo. Just because a visitor may be top-of-funnel doesn’t mean they won’t want to jump ahead to see how the offering can benefit them.
Include in a newsletter
Ah, the newsletter, that old clunky communication throwback to pre-digital direct mail marketing. Oddly enough, it’s become an important communication asset of a demand generation strategy. Newsletters allow a company to educate and inform its audience about new products and offerings, user tips for better customer experience, and upcoming company events. Wise use of the newsletter would be to include any media mentions secured by a PR agency — like a particularly favorable product review — to drive more activity to the top and bottom of the funnel.
A B2B tech PR firm can help its clients by finding and booking speaking and panel opportunities for key executives and employees. How does this help with demand gen? The professionals attending a conference may have influence over the buyer’s journey at their respective organizations. Regardless of whether the audience is made up of executives or executive admins, a speaking opportunity has huge potential to drive awareness and future demand.
Trade show support
Many B2B tech companies regularly attend industry conferences and trade shows to meet new prospects and visit with existing customers. For those B2B companies that also use a trade show to announce a major new product, then a PR firm can design and execute a trade show media campaign that can act as a force multiplier. Swyft’s own experience bears this out. After netting them the most media coverage of any competitor, one of our clients reported a doubling of booth attendance and new product orders by the end of an annual security show in Dubai.
Many B2B tech PR firms build a contribute content track into their PR services. Given the competition for share of ink, and diminished media revenue, contributed content has become a win-win for companies and media alike. The media love it because they get a continuous stream of good content that keeps their websites fresh and full of relevant content. Even better, they don’t have to pay a dime for content production. B2B tech companies love it because it gives their key employees a chance to show off their industry expertise and reach a much wider audience. News outlets like Forbes have the Forbes Tech Council and CIO has the IDG Contributor Network, both of which provide incredible branding opportunities for companies. Translation: more reach, more awareness, more click-throughs, and more demand.
Wire releases work
Swyft is not a wholesale advocate of using a newswire service for every announcement. But for new product launches and other major announcements, it’s a great way to expand the reach of an announcement. Most PR firms have ongoing relationships with wire service like Business Wire and Marketwired (Swyft uses Business Wire) and can coordinate the distribution of the wire release by choosing the right industry channel and geography. Wire services have syndication agreements with major media sites like Forbes and Yahoo Finance and stay as active pages on their sites. In fact, it’s not uncommon for PR firms to receive sales inquiries from interested prospects that learn about a product from the wire release. It’s further proof of the power of PR to positively affect demand gen.