Creating a comprehensive plan is key to any effective Public Relations (PR) campaign. Whether it’s the launch of a new product or increasing brand awareness, developing a strategy and setting clear objectives will enable you to get the most out of PR and achieve optimal results in a B2B arena. However, communications planning also requires a level of flexibility, as timings and opportunities often change. Here, we’ve detailed our top tips for devising a successful programme:
1) Evaluate your past results
Before you can plan PR activity, you need to review your past activity. If your company executed a campaign last year, look at the findings and whether you met your objectives – this will enable you to determine what worked well and what didn’t. For instance, you could start by looking at which journalists and publications covered your stories, as well as analysing the potential audience your news reached. In addition, it is also important to look at which types of pitches were effective and which stories attracted the most media attention. This will enable you to gain deeper understanding of your target publications and how you can help them.
2) Establish your strategy
Firstly, you need to identify your outcomes and set measurable targets. Secondly, you should develop key messages which you’d like to be portrayed to the media. Ideally, these will reflect your business objectives and be used throughout your communications activity. Next, you can begin to create the campaign plan by identifying potential media opportunities. To do so, you need to ask yourself: would this be of interest to a journalist or stakeholder? These stories could be anything from new product launches and high-profile appointments to exhibition attendance. It is also key to think about timings of these announcements. For instance, launching a product to the B2B market in Europe during the summer holiday months may not get as much attraction as it would at other times of the year.
3) Identify your tactics
Once you’ve highlighted the key objectives for the campaign, you can begin to detail how you will meet your goals, using different tools and channels. Below is a list of example tactics for achieving optimal results:
- Media relations: Building strong relationships with key press contacts is the foundation to any effective PR strategy. This will enable you to successfully pitch news stories, as well as reach more of a two-way conversation with the press. For more information on B2B media relations, read our blog on our top tips for getting noticed.
- Publication calendars: Explore what editors are planning to cover throughout the year to see how this can fit with your communications’ objectives.
- Press releases: Create a calendar of the different news stories which you plan to announce so you have a steady stream of news throughout the year.
- By-lined features/case studies: In addition to news releases, other editorial pieces enable you to remain present in the media, communicating key messages, and offering thoughtful commentary issues important to industry audiences.
- Expert opinions: These can be a great opportunity to provide commentary to the media and position your company or spokesperson as a thought leader. For instance, the media will look for commentary around key events within the industry to get different angles and opinions.
- Blogs: Regular blogging on either your own company website or via a third-party platform enables you to grow your online visibility and potentially increase lead generation.
- Social media: Choosing the correct social media platforms for your business can be extremely effective for your PR strategy, as you can reach your customers directly, and encourage engagement with audiences.
- Owned content: Content can be repurposed for achieving PR results. For instance, as whitepapers contain a lot of in-depth and interesting information, they can be cut down and pitched to editors as standalone articles, or as a series of blogs.
PR can be an extremely powerful and cost-effective tool in educating target audiences of your business’ latest news and offerings, as well as increasing brand engagement and loyalty through a consistent company voice. At BDB, we have extensive experience in creating and devising a wide range of PR programmes for B2B sectors. If you’d like to know more about how we can help with your next PR strategy, contact us on [email protected] or +44 (0)161 915 4700.