In B2B PR, influence is about trust. To build and gain trust from industry experts, stakeholders, and subsequently potential customers there are a number of different marketing tactics you can use:
1. Speaking opportunities
Speaking at conferences and events should be a key part of almost every organisation’s PR strategy. Not only do these events present a good opportunity for networking with influencers and customers alike, they enable the audience to put a face to a name, or a face to a company. People connect with and buy from people they know and trust: whilst a press release or website content can go some way in promoting your company, an individual can demonstrate those attributes whilst also bringing some personality to the table.
After the speaking event, ensure you follow up with any industry experts, journalists, bloggers, and potential customers that you met along the way. This will allow you to continue building valuable relationships so that your business comes to mind when a need for your services arises.
2. Social media
Unsurprisingly, social media is a goldmine for finding influencers, and there are plenty of tools available that can help businesses to identify influencers in their niche, examples include Buzzsumo, PeerIndex, and Followerwonk. Once you’ve discovered their profiles, initiating an introduction can seem a little daunting, but you can alleviate some of this pressure through dialing down the formality and simply saying ‘hi’ on social media.
Liking, retweeting and sharing your influencers’ content will only go so far - remember that they are human too - genuine communication will help you appear as the credible, trustworthy peer you are, making you more likely to curate long term connections. Using a personal profile to interact with influencers, rather than a corporate profile, will position you as more friendly and accessible, and demonstrate that you aren’t just out for economic gain.
3. Case studies and reviews
Using case studies is an effective way of showcasing how your products or services translate into measurable business benefits. Regardless of brand or industry, a compelling case study should follow a basic formula; outlining that problem + solution = result. To assist with fleshing this out, it might be wise to ask your client about their experience with your company. Share these details of successful partnerships and collaborative projects with your industry leaders and influencers so they know that you really do mean business.
In the same vein as a case study, B2B customer reviews will make it clear to influencers and other businesses that your brand offers a slick and trustworthy service and is good at what it does. Reviews are particularly valuable by coming straight from the horse's mouth (unlike case studies which may come across as a little self indulgent) - word of mouth communication really is the most valuable tool in the PR kit.
PR is a discipline that is fuelled by research. Quality research is not only the bread and butter of a good story, a press release, and a memorable message but it also enables businesses to position themselves as thought leaders in their industry. From an influencer’s point of view, a story based on a foundation of solid research adds a tonne of credibility.
The insightful results of your survey will also allow you to work out the key communications that resonate best for different segments of the market. Armed with this unique data, you will be able to create a variety of content, such as white papers, blog posts, infographics, and videos which can help you reach even more of those influencers. If there’s a particular publication or expert you’d like to reach, consider offering them an exclusive pitch of your findings, backed by information as to how this may benefit them as well as the end user.
5. Content collaboration
Collaborating on content with industry influencers will present you as an expert in your field, which will bode well for any future perceptions of your brand, for both potential customers and also other influencers.
Why not ask bloggers and influencers if they’d be willing to contribute a quote or write an article for your site? Having them collaborate in this way will make it possible for you to reach their audience as well, who are naturally going to associate credibility with your brand too. Of course it takes a lot of ground work to reach this degree of association with one another, and these things always work both ways, so offer to share your two pennies’ worth, too.
It’s a marathon not a sprint
Engaging and collaborating with your internal and industry experts in these ways can help your business to become more influential in itself – it takes a lot of time and effort but the end result is a highly valuable step toward achieving your wider business goals.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by b2b pr specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing and B2B content marketing agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact her via email on [email protected].
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