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Making a commitment to B2B public relations

Evaluate your organizational readiness to go beyond the news release

Thinking about adding a public relations component to your B2B marketing efforts? Working with trade media, bloggers and industry influencers can be a great way to generate awareness and position your organization as an innovator or thought leader.

As you outline your PR plan, make sure your stakeholders understand that effective PR isn’t a one-time activity—it’s a long-term commitment.

There’s nothing wrong with issuing the occasional news release through a web distribution service, but that limited approach is a far cry from engaging a comprehensive media relations program.

Test your media readiness

Here are five considerations to evaluate your organizational readiness for B2B public relations:

1. Have you identified discreet goals and objectives?

Be clear on what PR will—and will not—accomplish. Use it to improve awareness, drive web traffic or support other channels; don’t expect it to generate leads and sales directly.

2. Do you have a story to tell?

To make news, your pitch needs to go beyond product and feature announcements. Be first with an innovation, relevant to a trend or topical to a current issue. Where possible, involve clients who can show results.

3. Are subject matter experts available?

Once you identify your story, you need company representatives willing to take speaking engagements, interview with the media and deliver your message. Get key staff on board and help them understand potential duties prior to kicking off a PR effort.

4. Is budget available for a minimum 12-month commitment?

There’s a reason it’s called public “relations.” The most critical part of a successful program is building longstanding and trusted relationships with the media in your market. Your PR effort needs a dedicated internal or external resource and time to develop opportunities.

5. Will you be able to react?

Sadly, far too many PR programs fail simply because when an opportunity arises, the company is unprepared to meet media deadlines. Inclusion in a story often hinges on a same-day turnaround for interviews, photos or responses. Educate your leadership and legal department and determine if you can meet these requirements.

No matter how excited you may be about the potential of B2B public relations, wait until you’re at “yes” before hiring a resource or spending budget on PR activities. Organizational support is mission-critical to an effective program.

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