The trend toward outsourcing marketing activities among B2B companies continues, with marketing budgets climbing higher for the third straight year. But how do you protect your marketing investment and ensure you get the greatest value possible?
The first step is finding the right life sciences marketing agency for your organization. Choosing the best partner isn’t easy, and there is a great deal at stake once the decision is made.
Here are the top 4 things to consider when you are shopping for a new marketing agency:
- Work with an agency experienced in your market space & sector.
Easily the most important tip on this list is working with an agency that has experience in your space – and preferably has actually worked with your customers. If the agency has operated in that space then they know how to develop solid value propositions and precisely target your customer base.
- Find one agency that can handle all of your marketing communications needs.
The key reason for finding an agency that can expertly create and manage every type of marketing communication you’ll need is simple: you don’t want your message diluted. You need your message to stay strong and not be filtered through too many different companies, all of whom are creating marketing assets.
When you have one agency handling just PR and another who does your digital advertising and yet another creating social media, your message can become very disjointed. If you’re working with four different agencies, managing them will require significant time & effort to keep everyone on point and knit everything together – time which could be better spent elsewhere. This also means that all four agencies probably won’t be able to do as good a job as they otherwise could due to that split in focus.
From an agency perspective…
It’s difficult to cleanly integrate all marketing assets when four companies are doing different pieces of the work.
How we integrate all the marketing communications to power your marketing is the key. When a customer uses someone for PR, someone else for layout and a third person for content creation, how do any of the agencies know what’s happening in all of those other buckets if the customer does not communicate it?
The person tasked with those communications is typically a Marketing Communication Specialist or a Director of Marketing, and neither have the time to clearly communicate all of the details to me. You’ll want to avoid inadvertent blind spots. That’s why it’s important to find an agency that can handle all of your marketing communications needs.
- Know how the agency measures results.
During your exploratory conversations with a new agency, you’ll need to have them explain how they measure results – and how they course-correct based on those results.
It’s not enough to just build an ad and say: “Look how great the ad is. We sent it out and it’s gotten an award.” Awards are wonderful, but if I were you I’d want to know how my marketing agency was measuring the ad’s performance and what they would do if it doesn’t work.
For example, at Brandwidth Solutions, we recently worked with one of our clients on digital ads. We did a side-by-side comparison of Google AdWords and Display ads. The AdWords per click cost was $2.80 and the Display Ad cost was $0.50 per click.
We ran the two ads and looked at the data for one week. For the AdWords ad, the client received 77 clicks. You’d say that was a really good result. With the Display ad, in 48 hours the client had 111 clicks – and they paid a lot less for those clicks.
So can we course-correct? Absolutely.
But without measuring these digital ad scenarios, I wouldn’t have the data to prove to the customer that the Display Ad was a better route to results.
Remember that testing is also key. You have to test things that you might think may not be as effective. You might be surprised by what you learn.
Sometimes you have to test for a longer timeframe than one month. We did a Google Display Ad for a client. One ad was designed using red and the other was designed using blue. During the test we rotated the ads. (We never keep the same one in place so that when a visitor returns to the page it looks different.)
The results were interesting. One month the blue ad did far better than the red one. The next month the red ad did markedly better than the blue ad. What this told us was that both ads are working and we didn’t need to change the color of the ad.
If I had only looked at one month’s data, I would have said we shouldn’t be using the red ad at all. But by testing longer and looking at all the data, we understood that both ads were working. And since they alternated we didn’t need to make any program changes.
So be sure to dig into how the agency measures results – and how they plan to correct course when the marketing activities aren’t delivering results.
- Understand how the agency will integrate all of your marketing needs.
The final tip I give people on choosing the right marketing agency is this: have the agency explain in detail how they will integrate all of your marketing tactics.
This can be difficult to do on paper. Clients will ask me, ‘Can you write down how you’re going to integrate all of our marketing activities?’ It’s hard to take these three dimensional activities and translate that onto a one dimensional surface. For us, it’s far easier to explain the integration in a conversation.
Having that integration conversation with an agency you’re considering gives you a chance to ask specific questions and work through marketing channels you may or may not choose to use. But one question you definitely want to ask is: How are you going to create an asset (such as a white paper), and what are you going to do with it once it is created?
If you’re comfortable with the relationship you’ve built with the agency through the exploratory process, you’ve found the right marketing agency for your organization.
Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.
When a company launches a product and it fails to attract much notice or move the revenue needle, the result is always predictable – and unhelpful. The internal response is something like this:
Sales: “Marketing didn’t do their jobs.”
Marketing: “Nope, Sales didn’t do their jobs.”
Sound familiar? It should, because the push-and-pull between the Sales Department and the Marketing Department is as old as the Sales and Marketing structure itself.
So what should be the response? Sales, Marketing and Management should all be asking the same questions:
- If we aren’t reaching our numbers, it can’t always be Marketing’s fault. So what aren’t we doing right?
- How did we market the product/service?
- How did we hand it off to Sales?
- Maybe the product isn’t right?
- Did we do enough due diligence when we were developing the product?
By working closely together throughout the entire sales & marketing process and asking & answering the same questions, your company could avoid contributing to the $1 trillion dollars per year lost due to the misalignment of these two departments.
Marketing & Sales: Different Perceptions
When newly-developed products are handed off from the product manager to marketing, marketing immediately looks at the product and wonders: “Why is this product better than the previous generation? How is this product different from everything else in the marketplace? What’s the value to the customer?”
Product Managers can be so entrenched in the product itself that they tend to focus on new or improved features/benefits as selling points rather than why the customer will buy. Marketing, on the other hand, wants to focus on end user value – the real reasons why the customer will choose this product over a competitor or even upgrade their existing system.
Features/ Benefits Don’t Always Translate Into Value Propositions
When a product is handed off to marketing with a list of features, marketing must determine if they can be translated into value propositions. Marketing has a story it needs to tell and if the customers haven’t been brought into the story until product launch-time, it is often too late to craft a customer-focused narrative. The key to this is thinking about the product from the customer’s perspective. Marketing must find the customer’s ultimate: “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” or WIIFM to develop that story.
Sales: We Want Leads!
The sales team, in order to meet their numbers, wants to get a hold of the product as quickly as possible. Their immediate reaction to the marketing team is to demand leads.
Marketing’s role typically begins six to nine months ahead of the sales cycle. To create an effective sales & marketing campaign, marketing needs to create collateral, including brochures, sell sheets, web pages, white papers, case studies, social media and more. These are the elements with which marketing builds the product story, being sure to weave in customers with their challenges and needs while delivering the WIIFM Value Proposition.
Too often, these elements – and the customer journey – are overlooked in the race to launch and start selling.
“We’re going to a trade show and we need the product ready for the show.”
With barely enough time to complete a key piece of marketing collateral, Marketing often pushes back at Sales when they ask why they haven’t been provided any leads. In many cases, Marketing has launched campaigns in advance of a trade show and provided leads to Sales, feeding them into the CRM – where the ball was dropped.
Creating a Sales & Marketing Relationship
For a product launch and subsequent lead generation and lead nurturing to be successful, there needs to be a solid working relationship between the Sales and Marketing departments – along with the realization that both teams have ongoing work to do and must nurture leads. Not everyone is ready to buy at the exact time you launch.
When marketing and sales work together to achieve the same goals, it’s not uncommon for companies to experience some stellar results:
Leads vs. Customers
Leads are often just that – leads, not customers. Marketing is constrained by how much information it can reasonably expect to collect from prospects – even more so now due to the EU’s GDPR requirements. It’s common to request a name, company name and email address to begin nurturing the relationship using the marketer’s toolbox of channels and tactics – requesting too much information up front discourages people from filling out forms. Limited information is preferable to no information.
Sales can’t just be closers – they have a critical role to play in lead nurturing too. With today’s tools (LinkedIn, Company websites, and the internet at large), leads can be filled out. There are many tools that can be used to find somebody’s phone number, or determine their email address format.
Here is an excellent example of the role Sales can play in lead nurturing:
If a lead comes in with only a first name, last name and company name, it’s quite easy to determine a particular company’s email format. It may be ‘first name.last name @company’ or ‘lastname.firstname,’ or ‘first initial.last name,’ etc. A company’s website might contain clues to the proper formula, as will LinkedIn. Sales can take the information Marketing has gathered and entered into the company CRM and to do a little research to begin the sales conversation with the prospect.
Teamwork: Collaborating to Improve Lead Gen
It’s very rare that Marketing can hand off a lead that is already a sale. In almost all cases, the lead requires nurturing and follow-up. Instead of finger-pointing between departments, Sales and Marketing should ideally work together to improve lead quality.
It’s not Marketing’s fault that there aren’t enough leads, and it’s not Sales’ fault that all the leads they were provided have been closed. In addition to collaboration being a more constructive approach, it’s also a way to ensure better leads.
The Sales-Marketing relationship becomes even more important in cases of long lead cycles. Some sales cycles have 12-18 month timelines. If you’re working in the contract pharma sector and you’re trying to lock down a contract with Big Pharma, it’s going to take 18 months to close.
Eighteen months is a long time, and both Departments will need to work closely together to ensure the lead is nurtured along the way. Sales can provide Marketing with valuable real-time feedback as to what works and what doesn’t. With that information, the two departments can work together to improve the quality of leads and further target marketing tactics.
The Importance of Customer Perception
People buy based on perception. If Marketing is helping raise customer perception about the company and the product, Sales has got to pick up their end to work the leads. Management can’t blame Marketing and they can’t blame Sales, they all need to work together and figure out a marketing and sales plan for success.
It’s never any one department’s fault that revenue isn’t generated – it could be a mutual problem. But when Sales and Marketing work together as a team to solve any issues, you’ll find that any challenges are solved far more elegantly than you might imagine.
Wheels create power and movement – and you definitely want to have movement in your marketing! So far, in recent blog posts we’ve talked about all of the sections of the Brandwidth Solutions marketing wheel except for one – social media.
Sometimes I hear, “Well, scientists don’t use social media.”
But that’s just not true.
Scientists & Social Media
Social media not only works in the B2B space but also in our science-based world. Our clients are talking to (and want to talk to) decision makers in pharma, healthcare, life science, and in the energy sector. They’re interacting with lab directors and managers, bench scientists, doctors, practice managers, I.T. administrators, C-level execs and others.
Scientists are just like the rest of the population.
They behave the same way we do when we’re searching for information. They all have smartphones, tablets and laptops, and they use them when they’re looking for the tools they need. They search the web for information – and they also search social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
That means they are looking at white papers, case studies, blog posts, conversations – all of which can be found online.
Social Media and Science-based Marketing
When I talk to potential customers about social media, I use this analogy because I think it helps science-based marketers understand how social media will fit in their marketing mix – and how it works.
Think about social media as a tree. You have the tree trunk, you have the branches and you have the leaves. For me, the tree trunk is the blog. That’s where all of your information resides – it’s your knowledge center. The branches are all of your social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and the leaves are your customers who over time, through engagement with your brand, convert into leads.
The Blog Content Feedback Loop
Using analytics, you get ongoing feedback on the content you create. The more people who read certain posts and certain types of posts – whether it’s channel choice or content type – the more likely you will be to post that kind of material and continue the conversation.
Many brands want to push the conversations they are interested in promoting, rather than learning what the customer wants to know. But the analytics rarely lie, and the implications are clear: don’t post things people won’t read or share.
Here’s how that social media tree fits into your marketing mix.
Say you’ve created all of your marketing collateral about your product or service – your whitepapers, your case studies, your sales sheets, etc. You’ve done a press release about the new product or service, you’ve attended a trade show, set-up your e-marketing, and started doing digital and print advertising.
The key to making it all work is telling your story cohesively across all the marketing channels your customer is using to learn about your company. You need to provide information through your blog and social media that ties in all of your other content marketing elements, from white papers to press releases to awards to what you’re sending out on e-marketing as you’re generating leads. (Another bonus of a blog? Continually updating your website can improve your organic SEO!)
If you miss a marketing channel (on the ‘branches’ we talked about earlier) your customers are using to gather information, you risk ceasing to exist – and you won’t be part of the conversation when your buyer gets ready to make a decision about the product or service you offer.
All of this information needs to link back to your website. That’s where your customers are going to go before they even talk to you – especially scientists, since they always research their questions before they talk to a sales rep. It’s just their way.
Social Media Works
In the science and healthcare worlds, the sales process isn’t 24 hours.
We’re not selling a pen – we’re selling a $300,000 bit of kit or a $600,000 that’s an enterprise software platform. In some cases (outsourced drug manufacturing, for example) you may be selling a long-term relationship.
Sales cycles can run 6 – 18 months, and that means you need to nurture your leads.
If you’ve got that long of a sales cycle, you want to remind potential customers that you’re still there. You don’t need to talk to them every day (that’s not good), but you’ve got to stay in front of them and nurture them with useful information. It might let them do their job better, educate them, or provide them key information to make better business decisions. But you need to give them a reason to keep your company in their sights before they make a decision.
This is where your blog and social media excels – long-term lead nurturing and ongoing brand awareness.
For one major analytical equipment firm, a number of competitors had seized the online & social space and were driving the conversation in key markets. Several competitors had established blogs which were attracting hundreds of repeat visitors each month in search of relevant content. We implemented a social media program designed to (among other things):
- Increase their visibility to analytical equipment decision makers in the life science industry
- Establish thought leadership
- Educate scientists and decision makers on new technologies
- Increase reach in the life science industry.
We integrated the social media program with their overall marketing program. Via in-depth research, we identified the key content topics of particular interest to prospects.
In the first year, we increased their online reach to 100,000+ prospects each month, grew LinkedIn referrals to website from 0 to 300+ a month, increased social media referrals to the website 40-fold, and saw blog visitors expand to 1,000 per month.
The company established a dominant presence in the online space in fairly short order – all due to the use of targeted, well-researched content that appealed to readers. Scientists like information, so the use of the blog as a content anchor turned out to be a key success factor – giving the company the ability to expand the discussion beyond the short-form content common to social media.
The goal of marketing is to help drive sales.
It doesn’t mean you don’t need a sales force – you do. But marketing should partner and integrate with the sales team to increase brand awareness, identify & convert leads and grow revenue. Given the role social media plays in our lives today, it is a key tool in furthering these objectives – especially when your competitors are already there.
One of the top questions clients ask us about digital marketing campaigns is how to turn leads into sales.
But what they really want is to understand how to knit together all of their marketing & digital tools and resources – the CRM, website, email marketing, social media accounts, PR, events, tradeshows and other marketing efforts – in order to maximize lead conversion. How do you make it all work?
Digital marketing – also referred to as eMarketing and online marketing – is typically campaign-driven. Effective e-campaign development includes clearly defining your target niche, your messaging, the content and its delivery.
Developing an e-campaign that nurtures a lead and initiates or continues the conversation with the prospect is part art and part science. Here are 4 Tips for an Effective Digital Marketing Campaign:
- Exhibiting at an Event? Get an Early Start
Brands spend a great deal of money exhibiting and attending shows, and efforts should focus on beginning the conversation long before the show or conference begins. Why? Because lead nurturing works best when it starts pre-show.
At many shows, exhibitors can purchase a list of registered attendees before the show. Too often, these are overlooked – or resources aren’t available to mine the lists. But they are a gold mine for digital campaigns.
Use the pre-show period to establish brand awareness and thought leadership. With eMarketing and automation platforms, these potential leads can be nurtured early, providing valuable data to the sales team tasked with touching these leads.
- Develop a Pipeline of Customer-Driven Content
Content makes the world – or, at least the internet – go round. The best sales content, of course, is something the prospect not only wants to read, but urgently needs to read. It grabs their attention and moves them further along the sales process.
The content chosen for an eMarketing campaign can vary widely. Its selection can depend on the channels being used (e.g., email marketing, print or digital advertising, social media) and the types of content favored by the target audience (e.g., video, case studies or white papers, newsletters, long-form).
The content pipeline should be as deep, rich and varied as possible. Too many campaigns fail when the have a limited amount of content to share or use the wrong type of content for the audience (e.g., a podcast instead of a video, or a newsletter instead of a case study).
- Feed & Track the Lead
Once upon a time, tracking a lead through the sales process – especially a B2B lead – was a hit or miss proposition. With CRMs such as Salesforce, Hubspot and others, those days are largely over. Marketing and sales teams can easily identify what people are clicking on and downloading, what they are reading, where they are spending their time, and how they are progressing through the sales funnel
With some client campaigns, we employ cloned landing pages or UTMs. These feature (or link to) the same content, but each boasts a unique web address used in a specific ad – print or digital – in order to track the effectiveness of ad buys, content, sources and more.
In digital advertising, social media and email marketing campaigns, it is important to make full use of tagged links (UTMs) to track where a lead arrived from, where they’re going, and what they’re doing.
- Analyze Results – and Act on Them
With today’s automation, not only will you be able to track the lead’s progress through your sales funnel, but you can also understand exactly what it is about your brand that has caught their interest – whether a brochure, case study, landing page, video testimonial or some other piece of content relevant to them.
More data lets you tweak the digital campaign to improve outcomes. And – just as important – it allows you to track ROI and determine the value of sales and marketing resources.
A well-thought-out digital marketing campaign coupled with a sales automation platform is one of the most effective tools for improving qualified B2B lead gen efforts.
Want to learn more about developing winning digital marketing campaigns? Contact Brandwidth Solutions today.
What Works? Print or Digital Advertising?
A lot of people talk about advertising, and about print versus digital. I frequently hear “Oh, digital is much better because I can show ROI.”
Well, here’s a news flash – if you do print advertising right – you can show ROI for print too. ‘How’ is actually pretty simple. We use a vanity URL that drives to a specific landing page on a company’s website, e-marketing platform or automated platform, so the customer can track all of the traffic and where it comes from.
But what have we found?
The data we’ve generated shows that when you only do digital ads and you don’t do print ads, you don’t get as many hits. When you run both print and digital advertising campaigns, you receive far more leads.
For science-based organizations, you do need to place some print advertising. You don’t have to do as much print as you used to, but you need to do some. The reason is: we (your audience) need to see messages six to eight times before it registers in our brains.
Imagine – if your customer is only seeing your ads digitally, then you are missing key opportunities elsewhere to deliver your ad message. Think about your customer – they’ll likely also be thumbing through a science magazine, or reading a trade publication (especially when that issue covers a topic specific to your market space).
The sweet spot for generating the most interest in a print ad is placing your ad right in the middle of a trade journal – with relevant copy that combines the editorial topics with what you do and what what you sell. When we work with clients to develop advertising campaigns and programs, we research editorial calendars to choose the most appropriate trade journals and where to place a customer’s ad.
What Advertising Doesn’t Work Well?
One ad. One time. Whether it’s digital or print, I don’t believe one-off ads work. (A one-off is when a company chooses to do only one ad and never does any other kind of advertisement in a publication or on a digital platform.)
I think it’s a mistake to run one ad and stop. What would your audience think? They see you once (maybe – since it takes six to eight times to register a message) and then even though they continue to engage with the channel where the ad appeared, they never see your company again. Did you discontinue your product or service? Did you go out of business? What happened to you? The likelihood of them becoming a customer pretty much disappears!
But, if we do agree to run an ad one time, we laser target it based on the editorial content running on the chosen platform. If that editorial content matches what you’re selling and what your market is, then that’s the place we want to be.
Digital Advertising – A Winner for Science Organizations
Digital ads are available virtually everywhere. The key to choosing the right digital spaces on which to advertise is traffic. For instance, does the identified trade publication receive enough traffic on their digital platform to justify the ad placement?
A quick word about traffic: you shouldn’t be simply looking for the highest level of traffic (say 100,000 viewers). You need to look at the quality of traffic – is it the right targeted niche audience? You don’t need 100,000 viewers if only 3,000 of those viewers are your target audience. If I can run ads on a website where all 3,000 of its viewers are my audience, well then – that is the best place for my customer’s ad.
Google Ads: AdWords and Display Ads
Which should you choose, Google AdWords (now Google Ads) or Google Display Ads?
What gives you the most “bang for the buck”? We’ve been working with clients, and in quite a few instances we’ve moved them away from Google AdWords and into Display Ads.
Let me explain why.
When you build a program for Google Ads, you have to build with key phrases. We used to say ‘key words,’ but since people ask search engines questions it’s not single words anymore … we now use key phrases. And when we build an Google Ads program, we also build it with negative phrases – meaning your ad is not shown to anyone who searches for one of the negative phrases.
Brandwidth Solutions had a client that did Vitamin D testing in patients. When we built their campaign, we created the negative phrase ‘milk vitamin D testing.’ The client’s audience was not people who wanted to test their milk for vitamin D, or measure the levels of vitamin D in their milk. Using a negative phrase allowed us to prevent ‘milk testers’ from seeing the Google Ad.
The reason we moved to Display Ads is because the costs per click in the Adwords auctions have risen too high to be a cost-effective advertising option. In some industries, prices have soared as high as $25 per click, and many marketing departments don’t have budgets for that level of spending.
Google Display Ads function somewhat similar to Google Ads in that you define key terms and phrases, and also create negative key terms and phrases. But, in this case, it’s for people who have already searched for your type of product. It’s all about relevancy.
When an individual who has searched for your product is playing solitaire, a display ad pops up for something in which they are interested. It might be an ad for a trade show, since they have searched for related products or services.
The cool thing about Display Ads? The cost per click is user selected. That means you can choose a fee as low as five cents per click. You should know that a per click cost that low will affect not only where your ad appears but also the time of day it appears. But with a display ad campaign you get clicks and impressions – but you only pay for clicks.
So, let me give you an example.
One software client had traditionally used Google AdWords. We expanded their program to encompass both Google Display Ads as well as their AdWords program. In a one-week period, they had 77 clicks for AdWords ads. In less than one-third that time – 48 hours – they experienced 111 clicks using a Google Display Ad. The Google Ad was priced at $2.83 per click, while the Google Display Ad was 50 cents. So, in less than 1/3 the time, they grew clicks by 30+% for about a quarter of the cost.
But there is a trick to Google Display Ads (and Google in general!) Google makes changes in their ad requirements and in the way those ads must be created all the time. You need to stay up to date with Google changes and the format they are looking for. Currently you need to build your ad in Google’s internal tool unless you have been approved to build them outside their platform in HTML5.
Making Your Advertising Work
For advertising to work – to produce leads and show real ROI – you need to do more than produce a pretty ad with good copy and a phone number.
You need to have a full system set up to support the ad and an automation process to gather those leads. It’s all part of the wheel that keeps your marketing moving forward.
When we develop ad campaigns for clients – whether digital or print or both – we make certain that the ad is linked to a customized landing page created specifically for that campaign which tells the potential customer what to do next.
We don’t just provide a link to the customer’s website. If you drop people on the homepage your website, you have created two problems which ensure that your ad campaign won’t return a good ROI:
- You haven’t finished your marketing message; and
- You haven’t told your potential customer what you want them to do next.
You want your ad campaign to generate leads. That customized landing page is the mechanism by which you do that. In the best case scenario, we’ll develop a landing page that allows your potential customer to download a white paper. This gives your potential client valuable information they are clearly interested in AND it gives you a name and contact information for your sales team to use for follow up.
One quick thought, ask for a name, company name and email address. Don’t ask for 20 different pieces of information – no new lead will give you that much information. You’ll lose them.
Ask yourself: “Is my job to encourage them, so they keep looking at us? Or is my job only to get a few leads?” If you ask for lots of personal information, you won’t get very many leads.
Once you have those leads in your system, you’ve thanked them for registering and they have access to your white paper, you’ve completed your first step in nurturing that new lead.
Developing an ad campaign with a full marketing support system behind it is the best way to ensure that your advertising works and returns an ROI you can justify.
Have you ever wonder how your competitors get those great article opportunities? Or why they are always mentioned in the press about their product/ service? It’s because somewhere they discovered the use of public relations.
Are you your industry’s best-kept secret? Or are you trying to break into a new market? Do you want to share your company’s expertise with industry journals?
What is PR?
Wikipedia defines public relations as:
pub·lic re·la·tions ˈpəblik rəˈlāSHənz/
Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public. Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. This differentiates it from advertising as a form of marketing communications. Public relations is the idea of creating coverage for clients for free, rather than marketing or advertising. An example of good public relations would be generating an article featuring a client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article.
There are a few important threads in this definition:
- Managing the spread of information
- Exposure to audiences
- Different from paid advertising
Public relations comes in two main formats – press releases and article opportunities. There is an art to press releases and we have discussed them in these three previous blog posts:
- Why Editors Don’t Read Your Press Releases
- 4 Key Essentials of a Press Release That Gets You Noticed
- Why You Shouldn’t Talk About Your Product or Service
Why Use Public Relations
The purpose of public relations is to inform your audience that you do something. The goal is to develop a PR strategy that keeps your news flow consistent and provides information on what your customers need to know (which would be how your product or service solves their challenges.)
What Should Your PR Program Contain?
Your public relations platform should include press releases and articles- thought leadership articles. Most importantly, it should also have articles from your customers about how your product or service enabled them to do their job or solved a task they couldn’t solve without you.
Press releases need to inform publication editors not only about your company but how your company enables their readership. It can’t just be about your latest new widget – it has to tell them why this widget helps their readers. They can’t translate information to their audience if you don’t help them.
Thought leadership articles prove to readers that you understand what they do and how they do it. Articles like these show potential customers that you have experience in their industry and can help them get their job done. A great example of a valuable article is one that features a client. By having your customer tell their story you validate your understanding of your customers’ needs.
Public relations is the second stop on your journey to mastering the MarCom wheel. Learn to raise your profile as a thought leader here.