In B2B public relations, we’re always trying to find ways to drive business and trade media interest for clients. Yet as every PR person knows, there isn’t always a timely newshook for the story you want to tell. And not every business is a household name. When gaining media traction is challenging, how can PR pros generate media attention for the stories they want to tell? Here are a few shortcuts that can help B2B PR pros spiff up their pitches, think creatively, and drive media coverage.
Look globally for reactive news
U.S. headlines can be a gold mine for reactive news opportunities, where a company latches on to a breaking news story with a smart take or point of view and gets coverage for it. But with many companies doing business internationally it’s smart to look outside our own media market for openings. PR pros and comms teams should consider developments in relevant international regions as a way to expand thought leadership for company executives. Moreover, given how interconnected the business world is today, international news stories, trends, and policy changes often have ripple effects that impact the U.S. market. Just because a political or economic movement was rolled out in the EU doesn’t mean that it won’t impact your stateside business or client.
Broaden the narrative
When it comes to offering content and commentary, most companies focus on a certain aspect of their industry. Yet, the knowledge pool within their organization likely extends far beyond that one area. For example, a retail tech business may focus on price optimization technology, but it may have executives who can speak to broader trends within certain retail verticals or retail as whole — trends like multichannel retailing; micro-fulfillment; or artificial intelligence applications. By looking to leverage diverse knowledge, PR pros and internal comms teams can dramatically raise the thought leadership profile of an entire organization and also generate new ideas for content and pitching. The key is to choose a relevant area and bridge back to your core product or service.
Don’t fear the vertical
It’s always great to generate coverage within top-tier technology publications like TechCrunch or VentureBeat. These outlets, however, tend to stick closer to high-level announcements or end-user benefit stories versus the nitty-gritty aspects that potential buyers study before making a significant B2B purchase. So it pays to go to overlooked areas; one of those within tech media, at least in my view, is developer and IT media. Granted, the data integration capabilities of a digital transformation tool may not be at the top of most executives’ reading lists. However, if a client is producing breakthrough technology and results — and they likely are — developer and IT media publications can really resonate with CIOs and work wonders when it comes to product reputation. Vertical stories can be powerful sales tools, and higher-order tech media tend to follow the key sector publications. So don’t be afraid to build pitches and content around the nuts and bolts specs of a product’s technology — they may be way more interesting to media than you think.
Use data and assets — or create your own
Whether in business, technology, or professional services media, one hugely attractive asset that can really bring a story to life is data. Almost all businesses are sitting on data that can be used to position themselves as a key media resource for information, trends, and forecasting. And if there’s not enough current data, it’s easy to create fresh assets by investing in a proprietary survey. Beyond just the immediate media benefits, data insights can be parlayed into white papers, supporting points for awards submissions, and bylined pieces that work to raise executive and brand visibility as well.
Content, content, content
No one gets hits for every pitch they throw, and “no, thanks” is a common response in the PR world. But just because a journalist may not want a briefing with a company spokesperson doesn’t mean that a story or company point of view is weak. Instead, it actually opens up a whole new avenue to explore with a given pitch: bylined content. It’s true that bylines need to be “vendor- neutral” – that is, they can’t boast about a company’s product or service. The point of a good bylined article is to express a smart opinion on an issue of relevance to its customers, or offer solutions to an emerging problem or challenge. A deep-dive, long-form POV that a business spokesperson can offer is sometimes just as valuable — if not more so — than a quote or two in a broader media story.