By professionals both inside and outside the PR industry, public relations is often likened to fishing. In the comparison, PR reps are “fishermen” (or fisherwomen) using their clients’ storylines to “hook” journalists’ interest. As every fishing enthusiast understands, one can take to the water on a beautiful day with a trusty rod and the perfect bait and still not reel anything in.
The metaphor has its merits, of course: Like a successful PR program, a successful fishing trip involves sound preparation, smart timing, and a bit of good luck. But the problematic rod-and-reel comparison is also a big reason PR often sees budget cuts when companies looks to lower their expenses. Who can afford to go “fishing” for media wins when revenue is running thin?
On the high seas of today’s digital B2B media sphere, PR professionals are not simply casting media lines and waiting for reporters to “bite.” Rather, they’re consistently, proactively baiting the industry waters to keep all interested fish – journalists, influencers, buyers, partners, and investors alike – hungry for their clients’ high-value news, perspective, and intel.
Even in times of belt-tightening, it’s important for senior executives to view PR as a long term investment in cultivating an appetite for information among their target audiences (not as a quick bet on a few quick media wins). Here are five ways PR supports any business’ long-term ROI.
Building a Brand: Among potential buyers or clients, a company’s reputation is everything – and without a strong digital presence spanning earned media coverage, thought leadership content, and social media, a B2B brand barely exists. Establishing a business’ identity, and its team’s expertise, is key to growing sales – and those efforts require consistent messaging and ongoing media relations engagement across all digital channels.
Engaging in a Dialogue: Stakeholders across nearly every B2B industry have strong opinions on how economic forces, market-moving developments, and technological shifts are impacting the audiences they serve. In today’s knowledge economy, it’s vital for a company to engage in its industry’s most important conversations – especially to share how their solutions address or solve important problems. PR is key to making sure organizations pinpoint their perspectives and listen to the input of the companies and individuals they serve
Staying Top-of-Mind: By keeping journalists (and other interested parties) aware of what one company is up to, PR ideally keeps those influencers less aware of what the competition is up to. Staying consistently engaged with the media is key to building true leadership in any industry, regardless of company or market size.
Driving Word of Mouth: PR is often viewed as a megaphone broadcasting a company’s message, but it’s more about spreading the word in support of earning a positive reputation and positive recommendations. As Guy Kawasaki has said, brands are built on what people say about them – not what brands say about themselves. PR (plus a great product) is the best way to get people talking.
Seizing Opportunity: By feeding the digital media sphere with a company’s branded blog items, earned media coverage, social media content, press releases, and other items, a comprehensive B2B PR program puts that company in the best position to pounce when the moment is right. Regulatory updates, industry mergers, and other sector-specific developments provide right-place-right-time opportunities for B2B companies to win clients or boost exposure, but only if they have a smart PR strategy supporting them when it’s time to cast a highly targeted line at a high-potential moment. To learn more about casting an ever-present PR net across your B2B industry, contact ThinkInk today.