The unpredictability of PR especially for demand generation has pushed it down the B2B marketer’s priority list. But the threat of a recession and related budget trimming has revived interest in this potentially high-return, low-cost tactic. As such, we covered the topic in a month’s worth of Huddles and the takeaways were inspired. Here are six of them.
News Not Noise
The old adage for PR is that you either have news, or you make it. One Huddler shared that their company and the rest of marketing broadly have purposefully done things that have been very newsworthy. Here’s an example they shared: “We have a sponsorship of a Formula One team and periodically donate that sponsorship to a nonprofit, putting their logo on the car instead of ours. That has been very successful in generating a lot of coverage.” Via these sponsorships, the brand has tracked a notable awareness lift.
Your PR firm can be a valuable asset in establishing relationships with key members of the press. As one Huddler noted: “Our firm has spent the last 15 years developing their own relationships with everyone in our industry, especially the trade pubs and the conference organizers.” When looking for a PR firm, evaluate all the ways they can help, from getting interviews, thought leadership placements, and even helping you get awards
Another theme throughout Huddles was the critical importance of building relationships with key media outlets (either directly or with a PR partner). “Our execs have been establishing relationships with the two biggest publications in our category and we have gotten to know the editors,” shared one Huddler. This has helped said execs establish themselves as real thought leaders in their industry, to the point that they’re now called upon to weigh in on topical issues. It also resulted in 3 articles per publication, which they’ve repurposed on their website, in sales efforts, and on social media.
Capitalizing on CABs
If you have customers reluctant to do press (often the case in cybersecurity and healthcare), turn to your customer advisory board (CAB). “With our CAB, we’re building deep relationships and eventually building expectations around doing press.” It’ll take time, but once you build that trust and cement a strong relationship from a strategic standpoint, that opens the door to speaking on the record.
When contemplating PR initiatives, don’t forget that higher awareness will correlate with greater organic click-throughs and potentially lower SEM costs. As one Huddler learned from a Google rep, Google’s algorithm is preferencing brands with organic brand awareness from a quality score standpoint. They shared: “Google is looking at various signals of brand popularity in their ranking algorithm for SEO and even small improvements can make an exponential difference”
If you’re having trouble getting internal buy-in for brand tracking studies, bring the data. One Huddler did this by documenting a recent new customer’s long and winding purchase journey—21 months of nurturing before finally closing the deal. They shared: “We showed the topics of all of the emails that they opened, the things they downloaded, the visits at trade shows, showing the progression to the point where they were actually in a position to buy.” By tracking the customer’s journey, the Huddler was able to demonstrate the importance of awareness, ultimately getting an okay from the board to spend more.
In April Huddles, we’ll share tactics for managing up and sideways, a balancing act all CMOs must conquer. We’ll also have a Bonus Huddle on career management with Erica Seidel, Founder & Executive Recruiter at The Connective Good. If you’d like to attend or are missing an invite, hit us up at support @ cmohuddles (dot) com.