PR Content: Impacting Every Stage Of The B2B Decision-Making Process

PR Content

The B2B buyer journey is typically neither quick nor easy. Decision makers painstakingly weigh their options. Considerations such as cost, quality, and long-term impact on business goals must be analyzed. Buy-in from numerous parties and departments is often required. At each stage, prospects have different wants and needs. Addressing them effectively can make or break a deal. That is why B2Bs are increasingly crafting PR content that guides prospects through each stage of the purchasing process.

From top-of-the-funnel awareness through mid-funnel education and finally to the trust and credibility needed to close a deal, PR content plays a vital role in reaching and engaging your target audience. PR content is not self-promotional hype, but instead, it’s insightful, educational, and even industry-disrupting information. It empowers your audience to better understand both their pain points and the range of possible solutions (obviously highlighting your company and its differentiators as the ideal choice).

The key to this type of content lies in its distribution. PR content is published in numerous industry trade publications. Therefore, it is widely available to your target audience via print and online editions. When a prospect is doing research into possible solutions, they discover these articles and learn more about your offering. Additionally, because this type of content comes from a trusted 3rd-party its value and authoritativeness increase in the mind of the prospect. Unlike most forms of marketing, PR content is not your company saying how great it is. Instead, it is a credible, independent party touting your credentials. 

Stage 1: Raising industry awareness with PR content

The first goal of any marketing campaign is to increase awareness of your company, brand, and offering. Therefore, it is fundamentally important to understand how the buyer progresses through the modern purchasing decision. In the initial stage, potential B2B buyers are scouting for solutions to their pain points, often amidst a sea of competitors. Therefore, leveraging strategic PR content becomes the guiding light, illuminating your brand’s expertise and relevance within the industry.

The most important aspect of a B2B PR content strategy is that your messaging reaches as many potential customers as possible. That way you can begin bringing leads into your sales funnel.

This may include going to multiple verticals or hitting one vertical at many different places. For example, there are less than 10 HVAC publications in North America, so that may seem like a limited avenue. However, there are a number of publications that go out to verticals that may deal with HVAC equipment, including facility management, plant and factor maintenance, etc. By generating content in as many places as possible, you increase the likelihood of connecting with someone who is struggling with the type of challenges you solve.

Once you have the published article, you can then leverage that throughout all your digital channels; post it on your website, share it on social media, use it as gated content, create email campaigns, and share it with prospects. By doing this you create an entire marketing ecosystem that is all fed off the same source of educational and beneficial PR content.

Stage 2: Navigating consideration

As the B2B buyers progress in their journey, they enter the consideration stage, where they find themselves looking for answers and begin educating themselves on possible solutions. There are only a couple of potential sources for the buyer to gain that information: the first is from a potential vendor’s website – which is inherently biased – and the other is from an independent source like a trusted trade publication which increases the credibility factor exponentially.

Here, the type of PR content you develop is not the most important factor. The goal is to create something that helps the buyer make an informed decision. For example, thought leadership articles are invaluable assets in showcasing your brand’s expertise and insights. This approach utilizes the expertise of someone within the company talking about a coming trend or practice that is increasing efficiencies, cutting costs, reducing waste, safety, etc.

Other PR content ideas like case studies, customer testimonials, and success stories also serve as powerful validators, offering real-world examples of how solutions have addressed similar challenges and delivered measurable results. By showcasing these testimonials, brands instill confidence in prospective buyers, assuaging concerns and paving the way for informed decisions.

Through sharing innovative ideas, best practices, and forward-thinking perspectives, you not only demonstrate your industry knowledge but offer valuable solutions to your target audience’s challenges. These articles capture the attention of key stakeholders and establish your brand as a leader in your respective domain. Through well-researched and compelling content, you can initiate meaningful conversations and spark interest in your offerings.

Stage 3: Differentiation with PR content

In this stage, B2B buyers are on the verge of making a commitment, carefully weighing the pros and cons while scrutinizing for potential drawbacks or concerns. Differentiation is key to standing out and winning the trust of B2B buyers. Here is where PR content should clearly demonstrate the unique value proposition and competitive advantages of your brand, answering the question of why your brand is the best choice for their needs.

Furthermore, while B2B purchasing decisions are often driven by logic and practical considerations, emotional factors also play a significant role in the decision-making process. Leaning into PR content also helps brands build emotional connections with prospective buyers and appeal to their values and aspirations creating a sense of connection and resonance with buyers on a deeper level.

Stage 4: Sealing the deal

Trust is the currency of successful B2B relationships, and PR content serves as a catalyst for building trust and credibility. Through transparent and authentic communication, brands establish credibility and foster trust with prospective buyers, laying the foundation for long-lasting partnerships built on mutual respect and shared values.

As the potential deal comes to this make-or-break moment, targeted media placements provide the persuasive element necessary to tip the scales in your favor and seal the deal.

Your potential buyer is by now going to have been exposed to multiple touch points from your PR content. This allows you to both educate your audience and control a greater share of voice within your industry.

For example, maybe they read an article online about how one of your customers was facing a very similar challenge, and how you were able to solve that problem. At the same time, the prospect may have read a story in a print magazine about how your design engineer revolutionized the packaging for your latest RF component which reduces the footprint without losing any critical parameters or the product.

By showcasing real-world applications and tangible results, PR content addresses concerns and objections head-on, facilitating a seamless transition from consideration to conversion. Now the prospect, at an almost subconscious level, has established the trust and credibility required to pull the trigger and sign the deal.

Stage 5: Cultivating loyalty with PR content

The buyer’s journey goes beyond the sale, evolving into a continuous cycle of engagement and advocacy. Your PR content should transform satisfied customers into passionate advocates.

The more often the customer sees positive press articles about your company, the more likely they are to not only stay loyal but to become a source of more success stories. Now you have created a perpetual motion of communication between your customers and your potential customers.

Additionally, user-generated content, such as customer testimonials, serves as a powerful tool for amplifying brand advocacy and influence within the B2B community. Encouraging user-generated content further solidifies your brand’s position as a trusted partner, nurturing a community of advocates who champion your brand to their peers.

Embrace the power of post-purchase engagement, and watch as your brand becomes synonymous with excellence, trust, and enduring partnerships in the B2B marketplace.

Amidst the multitude of strategies available, integrating tailored PR content at every stage of the buyer’s journey remains at the top. From raising industry awareness to fostering post-purchase advocacy, PR content serves as the linchpin that connects B2B brands with their audience, guiding them through the intricate maze of the buyer journey with finesse and efficacy.

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