Katy asks, “I recently started at a startup and am responsible for all marketing. I’ve been doing digital marketing for a long time, but one of my weaknesses is PR. I would appreciate any advice on how to approach B2B PR.”
PR is a sales job, without the commissions. It’s one of the most difficult jobs you’ll ever hold – all the pain of sales, none of the reward. Like sales, it’s all about building a book of relationships with publications and influencers in your industry’s vertical, and giving more than you take.
- Get organized with a sales CRM. Use Hubspot’s free sales CRM – a “deal” is a pitch. Contacts are your publication relationships. Treat it like sales – and track your closing rate.
- Get organized with your company. What do you have that is legitimately newsworthy? No one gives a hoot about your press release, newest product, executive hire, or other BS. Influencers and publications want news that attracts eyeballs. Remember how reporters and influencers get paid – with traffic that drives their ad business.
- Set realistic expectations. Know the difference between short and long lead pitches and treat them as such.
- Do your homework. As part of relationship building, know clearly who the top 10 people in your vertical are and what their angles are.
- Never send a bulk pitch. Ever.
- Give before you get. Follow the Gini Dietrich rule. 10 days, 10 touches, giving only, not asking for anything.
- Make your own company a publication of record. No pitch is easier than to your own site – but make it an industry authority.
- Build a community, like a Slack channel, LinkedIn group, etc. Like being a publication of record, owning the relationship with the audience directly is always better.
- Unless you are required to by law, don’t bother with press releases. Waste of money.
- Top tier publications matter very little (WSJ, NYT). Trade publications matter a lot (Industrial Concrete Magazine).
- Measure the impact of your PR efforts, not the volume of activity. Focus on things like traffic, branded organic search, and prospect generation.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, Katie asks, I recently started at a startup and I’m responsible for all marketing.
I’ve been doing digital marketing for a long time, but one of my weaknesses PR out appreciate any advice on how to approach b2b public relations.
Okay, so I spent five plus years at a PR firm and picked up a lot of interesting experiences during that time.
Pr is a sales job.
It is actually the worst sales job in the world because you are following all the processes of sales, the pitching the outreach, the relationship building, but none of the rewards because there’s no Commission’s right instead of selling your product to someone, you’re selling a story to an influencer or a publication of some kind.
So when you pivot your thinking to realizing it is a sales job.
Then you treat it like a sales job, right? You build relationships you focus on on that Relationships between you and other people in your industry is vertical, and you give more than you take.
So let’s look at like 10 tips on this stuff, right? Number one, get organized with a sales CRM, use hub spots, free CRM, use any of the free CRMs that are out there.
Remember, PR is a sales job.
So you need to treat it like sales.
Every time you pitch a reporter that’s like a deal, right? You’re trying to win, close the pitch, and get them to publish your story, your company’s story.
So in your CRM, treat it like a deal, right, your contacts or your relationships with publications and influencers and track that stuff so that you don’t lose track of things and that you know what closes and what doesn’t and who closes and who doesn’t? Don’t rely on on anecdotes and memory, treat it like sales.
use software to make your processes better to get organized.
With your company, what do you have that is legitimately newsworthy that other people will care about? Remember publications of any kind, whether it’s an individual, a blogger, newspaper, magazine, whatever.
They want stories that attract eyeballs because they have to pay their bills and they pay their bills with traffic that gets them to sell ads.
So what do you have that will help that company sell ads to its customers? Right? What will you What do you have that is so newsworthy? That they will get traffic to their website? No one gives a crap about your press release your newest product announcement, your executive hire all the BS that PR people typically do.
poor ones do.
People want traffic, they want traffic to sell ads.
So what do you have that is newsworthy enough, that won’t get you that traffic, add another publication Number three, set realistic expectations.
Pr is not like advertising and advertising, you swipe the credit card and your ads are running PR takes a long time.
The best PR professionals are those that have a lot of gray hair because they have, you know, decade long relationships with specific outlets with specific individuals.
They can pick up the phone say, hey, I’ve got this thing I know it’s worth your time.
At the very least you also have to know the difference between short and long lead pitches long lead pitches are things like magazines where they’re planning out one or two quarters in advance and you can work to get your story into in you know that issue six months from now, short leads are things like digital publications where they are looking for stories sooner than that.
And you have to set expectations with your company that depending on what your focus is, it may take months to see any results from public relations.
Next Do your homework.
As part of relationship building.
Be sure you know who the top 10 people are in your industries vertical and what their angles are.
They have a specific point of view, or a specific subject matter expertise that they want to focus on.
If you send them a generic pitch, you’re going to get tossed in the trash, right? You have to send something that is on target for what they want to talk about.
So read their stuff, dig in, scan their articles, watch their social feeds, learn what they care about, and what gets them results.
Use great social media monitoring tools like Talkwalker to identify like this is a this is what this influencer or this publication is published and these are the performance metrics on it and look at the top 10 things that got them traffic, focus on that.
never send the ball pitch ever.
Just don’t do it.
You should never be having sending a pitch to more than one person.
Give before you get our advisor and PR professional extraordinaire.
Gini Dietrich has called the 10 by 10 rule 10 days 10 touches, giving only so you follow a reporter you share their stories, you comment to them, you apply, you promote them 10 days, one touch a day for 10 days, never asking for anything, all you want to do is make sure that you are lodged in their brain as a name they recognize, so that when you do ask for something later on you, you have that share of mind.
And it may not it may take longer than 10 days, it may take 30 or 50 or 70 days for them to respond to you genuinely and say Hey, thanks for sharing my stuff, but at the very least you need to be present of mind in your, your contacts before you can ask for anything.
Make your company a publication of record.
If your company doesn’t already have a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel a social media accounts, etc.
Invest in those no pitches easier than one do your own site right.
As long as you’re an Industry authority, you can leverage that audience when I ran, blogs and podcasts and stuff for all the companies I’ve worked for in the last 15 years.
Becoming an industry authority means then you don’t have to get approval, you don’t have to wait for anybody you can publish.
And as long as the news is worthy is quality, people will pay attention.
And it’s so much easier than pitching third party publications.
That is a whole strategy unto itself, but it is worth doing because in the end, you have that relationship with the audience directly.
You don’t have to wait for an intermediary unless you’re required to by law, such as the SEC regulation fd.
Do not bother with press releases.
They are a waste of money.
Because most people do them so badly.
And they get one click and it’s usually you when it comes to B2B specifically, top tier publications matter, very little Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, it’s not the place for you and you won’t get the results or are disproportionately Worse than the effort you put into trade publications.
And individual influences matter a lot.
So individual people that you can reach out to about, and they, they have their own audience, they have a podcast, they have a YouTube channel, they have a LinkedIn group that they run, they have a Slack channel, trade publication, industrial concrete magazine, if you’re in the industrial concrete space, guess what that is the place for you to be focus on the niches in b2b pr works so much better.
And build your own audience to build your own community you’ll build a slack group build a LinkedIn group something like that where you have access to the audience directly it’s kind of part of building you know, your your publication record, but if you build your audience, then again, you don’t have to wait for an intermediary to do it for you get the credibility of them doing it your name with in like network World Magazine.
But in turn performance that actually matters.
And finally, measure what you do not measure how much you’ve done but measure the outcomes of what you’ve done.
Did you drive traffic? Did you get links for SEO? Did you get mentions on social media that drove traffic to the website? Did you see branded organic search, increase? measure the impact of your PR and what it did for the business and if it’s not having the impact you want? consider doing something else.
So that was a lot lot to throw at you.
But that is b2b public relations.
In a nutshell, do those things, and you will be more successful than less.
If you have follow up questions, leave them in the comments box below.
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