Whether you are a small business owner, a startup, or a well-established company it is important to regularly evaluate what is working and what needs improvement. From a marketing and communications standpoint, this is particularly time-sensitive because what worked just two years ago may now be a muddled mess. Trade shows, advertising, and email campaigns are either DOA or on life-support. So, how do you break through the clutter of today’s fast-paced, low attention span, oversaturated marketplace? The key is content, content, content. This is where PR can make a huge and immediate impact. So, we are sharing four public relations tips that you can start incorporating into your marketing-communications strategy right away to see massive results.
These public relations tips, which we will dig into below, include developing content that not only tells a great story but delivers real value. It also requires distributing that content to a very targeted set of people who are likely to need your products or services.
By taking these four steps to improve your public relations strategy you will increase your visibility and credibility, shorten your sales cycles, build stronger relationships with both current and future customers, and ultimately grow your business.
Public Relations Tips – 1. Tell an unforgettable story
Let’s start off these public relations tips with great storytelling. According to a recent report from the University of Southern California, digital storytelling tops the list of emerging communications trends that will continue to gain momentum over the next 5 years. Add to this that people are more than 20-times more likely to remember a fact when it has been included in a story, and it seems like this is a perfect approach for today’s marketplace.
Telling great stories seems easy, but even Hollywood can blow hundreds of millions of dollars by telling stories poorly. The art of storytelling lies in the ability to create emotional connections with your audience. For B2B companies that may sell bolts and screws, or something similar, that may seem impossible. However, this is easily overcome by creating a problem-solution approach, where your customers explain how you were able to help them tackle a major pain point. Since others are likely to have the same issue, there is an immediate connection with your audience.
The next goal for your PR stories is to draw the reader in by being clear, conversational, and relatable. This can be achieved through educational, insightful, and even disruptive content.
For example, we have a client that revolutionized the components used in millimeter-wave systems. However, people are often reluctant to try something new. So, the articles we create for them use engineers from places like NASA and JPL. They explain how these new components are completely changing the industry. Therefore, you are not saying how great your products are, they are saying it for you.
By delivering your messaging through a great story, you are already separating yourself from the 99.9% of companies that are unable or unwilling to do so.
Public Relations Tips – 2. Provide solutions to your customer’s problems
Great storytelling is just one part of the equation. The next PR tip is to give away valuable information for free. People are tired of being promised a solution only to get the same old hype, clichés, and empty superlatives. They do not want your content to tease them for more information. They want the answers, and they want them now.
Today, up to 90% of the buying cycle is completed before you ever hear from a prospect. So, one of the biggest mistakes we see companies make is holding back from publishing their “secrets” in fear that the competition will steal those ideas. Believe me, your competition already knows what you are doing, and how you are positioning yourself. By holding back from publicizing your differentiators, your value proposition, and all the things that make you unique, you are only hurting yourself. Face it, if your potential customers cannot find that information online, then it might as well not even exist.
Taking this one step further, avoid focusing on your own product features. Instead, zoom in on how those products benefit your customers. For example, can you cut their operating costs, reduce downtime, or decrease waste? Can they count on you to increase productivity, safety, or throughput? Don’t just say we can do it. Explain to them exactly how you are going to make it happen.
Public Relations Tips – 3. Take a rifle approach
This is where digital PR is helping companies by presenting your case directly to potential customers. The best way to do that is through feature articles published in targeted trade publications. This type of solution-based content can deliver leads that are already pre-sold. This gets you one step closer to closing the deal.
However, the traditional PR approach still used by most agencies today relies on the wire to disseminate your news. With this approach, any publication – regardless of whether it is targeted to your audience – could pick up the story and run it. PR agencies are quick to call this a huge success. Yet, how is selling something like tractors to plumbers really helping anyone?
Instead of this “shotgun” approach to your PR, we utilize a highly-targeted, rifle approach. This way you secure published articles in only a select set of the most important publications for your business; in media outlets that your target audience reads regularly.
For example, 97% of engineers say they make buying decisions based on what they read in trade publications. Therefore, writing and pitching articles that regularly appear in some of the top trade publications in your industry is a much more effective approach than an article that appears one time in Forbes or Wall Street Journal. Not to mention, these articles remain online and appear on search engines for years, even decades.
PR Tips – 4. Grow a following
Now here is the fun part. When all these articles start to publish you can further leverage that through your digital channels. This helps achieve some of PR’s main objectives: improving your visibility, creating a positive brand reputation, building relationships, boosting brand trust, and establishing credibility.
Today, everyone is on social media, and for business professionals, it is almost exclusively through LinkedIn. Now with your published content, you have something that your target audience is craving to consume. You can deliver that in a number of ways including directing them to a link of the published story, breaking up the content into weekly posts, and using the testimonials to further your credibility. This may start a conversation that develops a relationship that turns into a deal. That is how business is won.
For companies that sell to government buyers, your LinkedIn page is now the first place they visit to vet your organization. This is quickly becoming the norm across all sectors.
It is not just your social media that is critical to your success. Your other digital channels present numerous opportunities to get information to prospects and eliminate the need to “sell” them. Everything from your blog to “how-to” videos, will create a seamless experience for your potential customers.
In addition to creating awareness and trust, a strong online presence can also help generate leads, build authentic relationships, improve website traffic and SEO, and establish your company as an industry expert.
Now is the time to improve your PR strategy
Refining your marketing-communications efforts by utilizing these public relations tips will help strengthen your relationships with both current and potential customers. Continually looking for ways to improve your PR efforts will lead to an improved pipeline of prospects, further increasing sales, and ultimately revenues.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
For more information set up a meeting with our founder and CEO to discuss how to improve your public relations. https://meetings.hubspot.com/greg258