Public relations, often to its misfortune, is confused with
advertising. Yet, the two–while cousins–are as different as say the proverbial
country mouse is from its city relative. Public relations, at least in the B2B
world, is all about credibility, education, thought leadership. And, yes, it’s
about self-promotion, but done in a way that bolsters credibility.
#1 DON’T: Announcing to the world, for example, that you are introducing a new product that
will revolutionize the industry is often meaningless from a PR perspective (unless of
course you’re in the Steve Jobs class or have invented something akin to a cure to cancer)–not to mention not very believable. Instead, you would be much better served to talk about what’s meaningful to
your customers. What do they care about?
What solution are they looking for that hasn’t yet been solved? That makes
what you’re doing real and accessible. And useful.
But wait a sec.
#2 DON’T: The fact is that B2B companies in our experience can over-emphasize products to the exclusion of expertise. Products are best promoted in
product sheets, advertising and demos, and garnished with awards.
#3 DON’T: Remember this. Especially if you’re in the vast territory of
B2B small- and mid-size companies, the media and bloggers couldn’t give a whiff
about the next iteration of your product epecially if it’s a few esoteric tweaks. That’s about as exciting as saying
you invented air. It’s meaningless except to you.
What customers and prospects want to know is what your
product will do for them. Will it make their life easier? Will it save
them money? Make them more money? Can you help them solve pressing problems, make them smarter?
To that end, here are 5 things besides product releases that you can do that will help
make you more endearing to your customers and ultimately the media: Blog about
your particular expertise and only in passing mention your new product. At the end of your post issue a call to action to your
product. Be sure to include links to social media.Issue a white paper about an industry problem your product helps address. Don’t make it all about your product but about the industry challenges. Make it easy to share in social
media.Poll customers about an issue your product helps resolve and publish the results
of your poll in social media.Create a brief video illustrating challenges your product helps address (talk about the issues, not your product) and
link to your white paper at the video’s end. Post on your site and on YoutTube.Issue a fun facts sheet about industry challenges that your product helps address and include some
major whoppers.Focus on the challenges, not your product.
A Poster Child for B2B Public Relations
In the B2B space, one company doing a bang-up job is Deloitte.
Granted they are a big company, but certainly smaller folks can learn from them.
Look for example at their analytics page. It is a showcase for what B2B
companies should aim to do online. It has everything from videos, to debate to
engagement to white papers to a three-minute ebook. It also makes it easy to
share everything in social media and engage with the company on LinkedIn,
Facebook, Twitter and its website. Hats off to you, Deloitte.
What are your favorite poster children for B2B PR? I’d love
to hear your thoughts.Wendy Marx, B2B PR specialist, Marx Communications[Image: Flickr user Maurese Polizio]