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How B2B brands can use traditional PR to build sales

Companies often feel that a press release is only for when there is some heavy hitting news to share.

In fact, the most effective communications strategy for a B2B brand includes the delivery of a steady stream of stories to the target press at regular intervals. Not all these need to be ground-breaking. A variety of topics might provide suitable material - from milestones and new hires to product updates and developments. Often there is more newsworthy information ripe for publishing than internal teams sometimes realise.

So long as the story can be packaged up to be easily understood and compelling to the target audience, it’s probably worth crafting a press release for to build that desired momentum.

Building relationships with media

Regular press releases also help foster media relations.

When a brand starts out on their PR journey there may be limited, if any, awareness of it from the journalist’s perspective. This is compounded by stretched media teams with limited resources. A well written and appropriately targeted press release is a quick way to inform the media of a company’s existence. As they trickle in over the months, target media can begin to build a picture of the brand and understand its place in the market. When there are long gaps between press releases, this becomes more challenging.

A story that is well timed, appropriately packaged, and relevant to the publication’s audience can make a journalist’s life easier.

Generating leads and driving sales

Creating a digital footprint is vital for generating leads and driving sales. While there are several avenues open to brands now to foster this, traditional PR should be part of the mix. For B2Bs the focus should be in quality rather than quantity. A handful of coverage in key sector press where your buyers are likely to see it is far more useful to the brand and sales teams than a scattergun approach to just get the numbers.

Avoid press release distribution engines which generate a lot of syndicated coverage but don’t specifically tailor pitches to key media targets.

Once you’ve secured your piece of coverage in the relevant industry publication, repurpose it for the sales team. Having a link to send to prospects is a great way to get in touch and build relationships by providing something useful or interesting.

By delivering updates on smaller milestones, B2B brands can stay in front of prospects at regular intervals and drive momentum in their businesses. These regular touchpoints support the efforts of the sales teams. It is much easier to book a meeting or make a sale when you don’t have to explain who you are first.

Back to basics

Whilst PR competes with digital marketing for budget it still has plenty to offer brands and shouldn’t be overlooked as part of the communications mix. Done correctly and as part of a broader strategy, PR can provide B2B brands with a way of regularly getting in front of prospects, helping to keep them front and centre of any purchasing decisions. It can arm sales teams with tools to use to reach out directly to their leads and re-engage in conversations. And it can help foster good media relations by providing overstretched journalists well thought out and targeted material to use.

Every B2B brand should factor PR into their marketing strategy and leverage it to drive momentum to support sales.

Article written by Lucia Barbato, CEO of agency Ilex Content Strategies

To read how B2B PR can be creative see here.

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