In today’s ever consolidating and shrinking editorial environment, individuals and companies with something important to communicate are wise to avoid relying solely on third-party editorial channels to communicate their messages. The days of simply briefing analysts and reporters and then awaiting their stories and reports are history.
Now, I am a huge advocate for the value media and analyst influencers bring to the dialogue and the marketplace. I enjoy building these relationships and nurturing them over time with great stories about how our B2B tech clients are advancing in their industries and engendering customer success.
But with the ability to go direct with their messages, companies of all types, whether B2B or B2C, need to harness new communications vehicles to reach their target audiences and influencers in increasingly value-add ways. And this makes it an incredibly exciting time for communications professionals and marketers to be innovative!
As Wendy Marx described in her recent Fast Company article, “the role of public relations has morphed into a bigger job…brands must widen the net and maintain an always-on presence. This means using a combination of third-party validation, along with branded content and social.”
At McBru, we are firm believers in taking an integrated communications and marketing approach for our B2B technology clients. Here are some tips and best practices to help ensure that you have the right blend of social media, outreach to third-party influencers, and content marketing in your integrated communications plan.
- Complement your PR efforts with a strategic social media influence, engagement and amplification plan, and back the campaign with high quality (aka, engaging and informative) content. B2B audiences want to be educated and informed, not marketed to.
- Go beyond the speeds and feeds of the news to uncover what’s in it for the customer; how can the customer win with your solution? This will help your message stand out and be better received. “Me Messages” are just not as interesting.
- How does your message translate to visual aids and supporting content pieces that help your message travel online? This might be a brief and descriptive video, an infographic loaded with rich customer-centric data, or an image slide show that illustrates the many customer implementations of the solution.
- How are you reaching those media influencers? The traditional methods still make sense – a short, sweet and very tailored email and perhaps a phone call (if you have a good rapport) – but we also believe in the power of social media to reach media and non-media influencers alike. @mentions are an easy way to get attention for your message and content. If an influencer is following your company, an @mention is a useful tactic. However, be careful not to go overboard; like traditional PR, be targeted, tailored and considerate.
- How is your message appearing on your company’s website and corporate blog, and are you taking advantage of paid advertising placements? All of these touches ensure a holistic and synergistic way to communicate with your audiences.
- Don’t forget the call to action! With so many messages, what’s your audience meant to do with the information? Make it plainly known and insanely simple. As we know, even in 140 characters, attention spans are shortening and the competition for your audience’s time is increasing. Make your message stand out in the right ways, in the right places.