PR is synonymous with building brand reputation.
Winning media coverage in the right publication is how your target audience’s engagement with your brand goes from 0 to 100. Understandably, it’s natural to associate PR with being a top-of-the-funnel marketing activity. This, my friends, is a very one-dimensional mindset.
PR is no longer a simple media relationship management tool. It’s what cultivates credibility in the eyes of those who matter – your business’ sales prospects. It’s this credibility that sets your product apart from your rivals. And it’s this credibility that converts these prospects into clients.
So, with the help of some savvy content marketing and website management, PR can grow your sales pipeline and become a source of revenue. To help you out, we’ve laid out three paths for how to increase B2B sales using PR below.
But before we get into all that, let me address the difference between B2B and B2C selling.
- How B2B and B2C Sales Are Different
- Step 1: Go Niche With Your Target Publications
- Step 2: Win Do-Follow Backlinks to Bring Quality Referral Traffic
- Step 3: Create Thought Leadership Content with a CTA in Mind
- Wrapping Up
How B2B Sales and B2C Sales Are Different
Selling B2B has some different requirements to B2C in terms of stakeholders, length of time and customer profile.
Firstly, B2B sales typically have multiple decision-makers on the prospect’s side. If there’s a large financial commitment either contractually or a one-time payment, you can bet there’s more than one person to convince. This means that you’re not allowed to think of the business you’re selling to as a single entity.
It’s a collection of individuals with different ideas, pain points and requirements to contend with. B2C, on the other hand, rarely involves more than the consumer who’ll be using the product. It’s a whole different ball game.
Likewise, the length of time until closing a sale is significantly longer for a B2B company. Given the multiple decision-makers and the bigger financial outlay, generally speaking, B2B selling is a far more complicated process, demanding several stages of persuasion that B2C doesn’t.
If you’re interested in delving deeper into these differences, check out our blog on the difference between the B2B and B2C buying processes.
Now that’s sorted, let’s get into ways PR can generate B2B sales for your company:
Step 1. Go Niche With Your Target Publications
You probably see the gold standard of PR as being featured in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.
Well, that really depends on what the PR campaign is for:
If it’s for reaching as many people with some loosely shared interests as possible – it’s party time. If it’s for targeting a specific demographic that has a vested interest in your product – why not go throw mud at a wall? You might as well be…
For increasing B2B sales, pitching to industry-specific verticals is always your best bet. Readers of these media outlets have more clearly aligned interests in terms of challenges to their respective businesses. And it’s those challenges that your business can promote a solution for. Likewise, these types of publications are love article pitches that solve a particular pain point of their readers.
The exposure from this media coverage builds brand awareness, while the referral traffic brings warmer prospects onto your website. Speaking of referral traffic:
Step 2. Win Do-Follow Backlinks to Bring Quality Referral Traffic
PR has an important role in your SEO. Whenever you earn some media attention, it often comes with a backlink to your website. These backlinks are central to the authority of your website and subsequently, your brand.
A backlink acts as an endorsement from one website to another. And the more of these that you’ve got from high authority sites, the better your own authority is.
So, why does website authority matter?
For one, it has a massive effect on where Google positions your website for search queries. If you’re seen as an authority in your industry, Google will place you higher up the ranking than your competitors.
Moreover, this increased authority means that your website content is more likely to be found by your target audience. With all of the resources you’ve invested in making content that ranks for valuable transactional keywords (if you don’t know what the heck I’m on about, no worries. Make sure you read our complete guide to content marketing and SEO), you need to maximize the number of clicks on those keywords. You know that these keywords, especially those that are long-tail, will bring bigger and better prospects into your sales pipeline. And these are what quality PR backlinks can do for you.
Crucially, you need these backlinks to be do-follow.
Because do-follow backlinks transfer SEO ‘juice’ (power) to your website, whereas no-follow links do not. It’s important to establish whether or not the backlink the publication will give is do-follow before pitching to them.
Step 3. Create Thought Leadership Content With A CTA In Mind
So, you’ve identified some specialized publications to pitch to, made sure the backlinks you’ve won are do-follow and are starting to see an uptick in sales.
However, it’s not quite time to put your feet up and watch that dollar bill roll on in. You’ve got some thinking to do about the content itself.
Now you’ve identified an industry pain point that your product or service could resolve. Amazing.
What’s there to stop your audience from taking your solution and trying to replicate it by themselves?
This is where you need to be crafty in the PR content that you’re providing. You’re walking a tightrope between proving that the solution to your prospect’s headache lies within your business, while not giving them all the ingredients to execute this solo.
In this respect, your article should give a solid overview of the steps they can take, yet lead prospects to a call to action (CTA) within your website. Ebooks, whitepapers, and other forms of gated content are perfect for bringing qualified leads into the sales funnels. They both bolster your credibility by providing prospects with insightful content and allow you to warm up further with email campaigns and promotions.
While you won’t be able to add CTAs to the article itself, you can mention this piece of gated content is found on your site without being too salesy.
PR is a means to an end, but what end?
We all associate brand building, securing funding, and company launching with needing PR, yet PR has evolved into something even more.
In an age of digital – and an ever-growing pool of saturated content – it’s vital that your B2B finds new streams of revenue. And through well-placed media coverage, B2B businesses like yours are beginning to see that PR is more than just a superficial component of digital communications. It’s a serious route to generating new business.