The good old days of writing and distributing press releases to industry groups are gone. They are so far gone that it’s too late to even kiss them good bye. With the advent of the digital landscape, traditional public relations has morphed swiftly with customers moving at the speed of technology, while businesses have largely been trying to figure out the new normal in media. The social media bandwagon continues to confound companies with no bold evidence of replicable campaigns and only sparkles of real anecdotal evidence of meaningful success that’s cherry-picked and touted by the press, which drives a false a viscous cycle of false realities for B2B PR.
Let’s step back a bit and think about the purpose of PR and the new rules and eco-systems:
1. The purpose of PR in the most traditional sense is to reach the public with relevant and meaningful stories about your goods and services. The same purpose holds for PR across the board, B2C or B2B. Ultimately, the objectives of any PR campaign is to win hearts and minds in order for businesses to exert their brand at any given moment. So it’s about advancing and guarding the brand as well.
2. Traditional media is less influential today, but will not go away any time soon. And in certain pockets like specialty markets it may still rule. Social media is proving itself too expensive and unreliable, and the digital mobile environment is profoundly impacting the business customer, and its influence will grow exponentially in the years to come.
Companies who understand the above realities also understand that the new role of PR is absolutely..hands down…more clouded today than ever before and best deployed within integrated plans. Integrated planning is exactly what separates successful PR from dropping PR bombs. You think your company deserves time on CNBC or an industry conference should select your firm’s speaker? Fine, what next? Successful PR is not about the placement anymore, because it’s a momentary win (it could be meaningful of course, but it’s momentary). Successful PR is about the bounce from the placement. What else will you do with it? How will you monetize it? So your company’s Facebook and Linkedin pages are flat and your frantic for more likes…but what does that even mean? It’s still about relevancy; it’s still about engagement on and offline. What about industry reputation management and that advertising campaign in your trade magazine? How will your company derive more value from those channels? What about sales? How can you leverage PR in sales and vice versa? And those press releases? Are you writing them for the outlet or for major search outlets or both and aside from the traditional distribution channels like PRNewswire, BusinessWire and alike, how else are you reaching a greater if not a more niche audience? And what is the role of PR within the big data in your company?
Integrated PR requires planning to deliver value, especially in this environment. Heck, it may even feel like marketing…but what is PR other than a marketing channel, a way to sell ideas or products? The tactics will take care of themselves, but execution is critical as you can imagine. The lines will continue to blur for B2B PR…The good news is that businesses are made of up of people and good PR will influence business if you can influence its people.