Every industry has its jargon and PR is no exception.
While it might make us sound smart, it doesn’t help if our prospective clients have no idea what we’re talking about. I thought it was high time we demystify those ‘deliverables’ by explaining what they are and more importantly, how they should be used.
Also known as a media release, the humble press release is a tried and tested PR tactic for getting your client’s news in front of the right people (read: journalists everywhere). Brief and to the point, these announcements always include the who, what, when, where and why of the story. They’ll also offer some background info, a couple of pictures and one or two quotes from your client.
Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? It is, except your competitors are all using the same approach, which means the journalist’s inbox isn’t quite as roomy as it was in the early days of PR. Nowadays, making the leap from inbox to page takes more than simply emailing a journo.
You’ve got to be smart about it, because the goal isn’t just to land in their inbox. In order to be one of the few that make it into the limelight you must make sure your release includes real news. By that, I mean a story that leaps out at journalists, one they know for sure will be of interest to their audience.
Before putting pen to paper always ask: “Is it newsworthy?” If the answer is “no”, put your pen down. If it’s “yes” go ahead and draft that media release.
PR is about more than sending out press releases. If you want your business to be seen, heard and noticed, then your spokespeople need to be visible too. Here’s where interviews come into play.
Scheduling face time (or a call, even) with journalists, analysts and other stakeholders is a big part of any B2B PR campaign. After all, these are the people most likely to be interested in your business, news stories or key messages.
The great thing about these interviews —aside from putting your experts in the spotlight— is that they put you on a journalist’s radar. This is the perfect opportunity to forge strong relationships with your top target media.
You’ll eventually reach that sweet spot where they’re not just receptive to pitches from you, you’ll be their go-to person to ask for comment when they’re writing about your industry. It’s not an overnight process – becoming a thought leader takes time and effort, but you’ll reap the rewards if you stay the distance.
Case studies allow your track record to speak for you. In this regard they’re invaluable. Having your customer expound on video about how your [fill in the blank] saved them millions is some of the best (if not the best) PR you can get.
These stories resonate with editors, for the simple reason that they have readers experiencing similar problems. This means they’re generally more inclined to publish case studies with the answers. Just make sure they’re not blatant sales pushes.
Case studies don’t always have to be PR-focused however, they also make for excellent marketing collateral. If you have happy customers who are willing to share their positive experience working with you, make the most of it.
Ask them if they’d be up for doing a video shoot, for example, and showcase the result on your website. If they’re camera shy invite them to offer feedback in writing and create an explainer video. Both of these can be an excellent way of attracting new business.
(Editor's Note: Psssst...Muck Rack just launched a brand new case study. Want to give it a read?)
A byliner is an article authored to you (or someone in your company) and published in a newspaper, magazine or on a blog. Not to be confused with promoted content, a byliner is not about pushing your product.
It’s about building your authority in your industry and positioning yourself as a thought leader by sharing your perspective on a topical business issue. It’s a chance to be outspoken without coming across as sales-y.
Is your business a success story? It doesn’t have to be another Facebook or Apple to make the headlines, you just need to make sure you let the media know. If your story is surprising, innovative or maybe just unorthodox in some way, journalists will probably want to write about it.
As advertorials go, these business profiles are about as close as you’re going to get. Making them a much sought after PR result. After all, we all love a good story, so why not make the most of yours?
With so much emphasis being placed on actually making news, there’s sometimes a tendency to forget about responding to it. This is equally important, not to mention beneficial, to your brand’s reputation.
Letters to publications or comments on blogs are both greats ways to show people that you’re at the heart of industry issues. A well written, thought provoking and prompt response always has an above average chance of being published. Being quick off the mark with your response means you have a chance of steering the debate. It also exposes your business to anyone who reads the article in future. Win/win.
If you’re in B2B PR, making these PR deliverables work for your clients should be second nature to you. If they’re not, then work at them until they are. If you’re the client in this equation you should be better equipped to, if not speak your agency’s lingo, then at least understand the gist of it.
Heather Baker is founder and CEO of TopLine Comms, a video, SEO and integrated marketing agency that places equal importance on client service, creativity and good coffee. She’s a PR pundit, obsessed with inbound marketing, and can spot an errant comma a mile off.
Photo: A young communicator via Shutterstock