PR is one of the most powerful tools in the B2B marketing tool kit. It’s rated the second most effective tool for driving brand awareness in the MarketingProfs report “What Works in 2011 – B2B Marketing’, based on data from 416 B2B marketers.
You don’t need to hire a specialized PR firm in order to make PR work for your company. Often, PR tactics such as press releases can be written by marketing staff and published using websites such as Press Release Point, and supported by emails and followup calls to the editors of the relevant industry trade publications. For more complex initiatives though, such as a major event where you want media and special guests, bringing in a PR expert will enhance your results. Success though is not guaranteed; you have to choose your PR partner wisely.
Here are the four areas to cover when sourcing and screening PR reps and companies for your organization;
The fee: What does the fee include? Do not be scared to not only ask for dollar figures, but make sure to find out exactly what those dollar figures include. It’s important that you can compare fees on an apples to apples basis – which is often difficult when it comes to service agreements.
The service: Don’t pay for what you don’t need. Sure, PR tactics can seem flashy and fun, but if you don’t need, for example, a spot on the daily news, don’t agree to it. It’s easy to be drawn into the sexy appeal of PR promises, but make sure you focus on who your target market is and what ROI you’re going to get from your PR efforts.
The Representative: The biggest value you get from a PR firm or rep is their contacts. Make sure you choose a firm that has the contacts you need. Just like you do with any other vendor, check the background of the company and your representative to ensure they have the knowledge of your industry and relationships within it that you need.
Clarity: PR is simply communication with the outside world. If you don’t clearly communicate your message, your views and your expectations to the PR Company, they won’t be able to communicate with the outside world. Yes, they can help you sharpen your message and make sure it’s well-tuned to be appreciated target market, but if you can’t articulate your strategy and give them good direction, they won’t be highly effective for you.
Looking for the right marketing company to work with? Get a few tips in this free guide: