Many of our B2B PR programs focus heavily on media relations. Our clients are changing their customer’s lives, but often have a tough time translating their successes to media coverage. That’s where we come in.
A well-rounded B2B communications program has a steady flow of media coverage, even in between news cycles, across business and trade outlets. Here are some ways we achieve that:
For business press, think verticals
One of the most common requests we get from B2B tech clients is an increase in business press coverage. Unless you’re Facebook, Google or Apple, landing a hit in The Wall Street Journal or New York Times is no easy feat—but that’s not to say it can’t be done. If a client doesn’t have the luxury of a customer willing to speak on their behalf, a good place to start is focusing on vertical beats instead of the usual tech reporters. Think retail, finance, manufacturing, automotive and so on. Chances are, a B2B brand impacts many industries outside of the tech world and have an opportunity to get involved in conversations that are most important to their target audiences.
For example, our team had a client in the big data space that couldn’t break into coverage with the most obvious suspects—tech reporters that focused solely on data-related stories—due to a lack of customer testimonials and other assets. Knowing that financial institutions made up a significant chunk of their customer base, we began pitching reporters that wrote about the finance industry, introducing them to the idea that advanced analytics can help mitigate risk and non-compliance. We ended up landing two commentary opportunities in the WSJ within a two-month period.
Don’t forget the trades
In the quest for business press, trade outlets can sometimes take the back burner. However, it’s important to keep a consistent level of coverage in the trades, not only because business press tends to take longer to secure, but because trades can often drive more qualified eyeballs and leads. Consider a program, for example, where our team landed a picture-perfect, on-message USA Today feature for a client, which was great for building awareness with a broader business audience, but didn’t actually drive a ton of traffic to their website. Instead, Google Analytics showed us that the article sending the most referral traffic that month was from a seemingly small trade (32,000 unique monthly visitors), but with a very relevant audience.
Set realistic goals for product news
Unless a B2B product is revolutionary, chances are that a product announcement won’t get picked up in a top tier outlet as a standalone feature, at least without careful planning and additional assets. That’s why it’s important to set realistic goals and expectations for product launches. Stakeholders may be fine with some quick hits in trade outlets and if that’s the case, pitch away. Most of the time, however, they have higher expectations and would like to see the news appear in top tier business or tech outlets, such as TechCrunch or VentureBeat. It can be done, but it’ll take extra time and strategy.
There’s a number of avenues to take these media tips, such as attempting to land a top tier hit for product news. One of the most common strategies is offering the news exclusively to the right target. Clients often worry that an exclusive will hinder their ability to get broader coverage on launch day, but that’s not often the case—trades will usually cover the news whether they are pre-pitched or not. But keep in mind that an exclusive is not a guaranteed solution. Another important aspect to landing top tier press is understanding the broader industry challenge the product solves and shaping that story into your pitch. Bonus points if there’s a customer willing to speak to those pain points. With or without a customer, consider using data to supplement the announcement, whether it’s from a commissioned survey or internal stats from beta testing.
These three tips are just the start to a successful media relations program. Staying on the pulse of industry trends and ensuring you’re building narratives that are timely and relevant – beyond the four walls of a company – is key to success. Read the news, figure out how a company fits into the broader conversation and be smart with your pitches. The coverage will come.
Keep in Touch
Want fresh perspective on communications trends & strategy? Sign up for the SHIFT/ahead newsletter.