The Power of Press Releases
B2B marketing is multi-faceted in this omni-channel world, and I work with clients to develop and deploy marketing strategies in this environment. Defining a marketing strategy for products and services includes identifying potential target markets, prospects and buyers. Often marketing strategy includes refreshing or updating website design and content to enable inbound marketing.
While many companies support their sales and client services teams with a variety of marketing content and resources, they frequently neglect to include public relations in the mix. In developing an effective sales and marketing strategy, I educate service providers on the benefits of have a public relations plan and why and how they should issue press releases.
In the B2B world, public relations is often overlooked for small and medium-size businesses, yet regularly issuing newsworthy press releases is a clear marketing opportunity to support brand awareness, lead generation and provide an effective basis for content creation.
Why Print Service Providers Should Use Press Releases
Public relations or media relations is the process of informing media influencers to create awareness about your company and the benefits of the services and solutions you provide. The goal is to generate interest that leads to media coverage in publications, journals and online sources. If you provide newsworthy information to the journalists’ writers and bloggers, you raise awareness and educate them about business issues important to your customers and their readers. Good press releases can be re-purposed across social media and in blogs to further the marketing strategy.
How to Create a Press Release Strategy
Creating a media list for distribution is the first step. You want to consider publications, journalists, media influencers and websites that have reach and readership of people who can buy your services or who are leading publications and news sources in the vertical markets important to your business. Consider regional and national business publications and trade publication sources where potential buyers get their news.
Building a media list can be done with dedicated time and research work by a marketing resource who has some knowledge of your industry and is curious learner. There are PR experts with years of experience who can cultivate a customized media list for you that includes the right trade publications and market media exposure, in addition to regional and local publications. There are several wire services with varying fee structures that also distribute press releases. For many B2B service providers, hiring a PR specialist on a project basis is the best way to develop a public relations strategy and shortens the time needed to cultivate a solid media distribution list to issue press releases. Managing and updating the media list is important part of public relations strategy to expand market share and exposure.
Consider These Guidelines in Press Release Messaging
Public relations isn’t sales or selling. It’s informing journalists and media influencers about newsworthy information from your company. So that begs the question, what is newsworthy? In this sound-bite world, newsworthy means providing information about solutions and the impact of your services on your customers.
Using keywords that are relevant to your potential buyers and the industries you serve is important in writing press releases. Strategies for writing good press releases include providing objective insight, not promotional information. Storytelling is also effective to spotlight companies and people that have benefitted from your services.
Press releases can support your marketing strategy by covering relevant events both large and small. Consider issuing press releases before and after your company events like open houses and webinars. Speaking at and sponsoring industry or charity events, issuing research or white papers and signing new accounts are all worthy of press releases. Issuing only one or two press releases a year is not enough. To build a dialog and create credibility with media influencers, you will need to have a minimum of four [MF1] [LR2] press release a year. Regularity in issuing press releases supports your marketing mission to increase awareness and becoming recognized as a thought leader providing valuable services and solutions.
Press Releases Give You a Reason to Engage
A public relations strategy that includes press releases will demonstrate real return on marketing investment when they are thoughtfully researched, written and executed. Press coverage about your company can be a reason for engagement with decision-makers and may lead to other marketing opportunities like interviews and speaking engagements. A great resource on marketing and public relations is The Smartass Marketer’s Handbook, by Carro Susan Ford.