June 4

B2B Public Relations: 7 tactics to pull more leads into the funnel

Lead Generation


If your organization’s marketing and public relations teams aren’t working hand in glove, you’re missing a key lead generation opportunity.

That’s the word from three experts in B2B PR and marketing:

  • Wendy Marx, president of Marx Communications, a B2B public relations firm; she blogs about B2B communications for Fast Company
  • Laura Sturaitis, Executive Vice President of Media Services and Product Strategy, Business Wire, a press release distribution company
  • Tom Becktold, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Business Wire

They agree that, more than ever before, prospects are engaging with B2B organizations through public relations efforts. They share seven opportunities to transform this engagement into leads:

1. Make it easy for everyone to embrace, understand and share your story

Journalists don’t have a monopoly on news

People are gathering information from all kinds of sources.

“There are so many avenues to spread your message, it totally frees up what you can do in public relations,” says Marx. “You can share news on your blog, your website, social media, YouTube; you’re no longer solely dependent on journalists to get the word out.”

Multimedia press releases spread news faster

Multimedia press releases use links, videos and images to tell the story, and they attract attention.  Sturaitis has found they attract three to five times more attention than the traditional news release. They allow audiences to engage with your organization and spread your message in the way they prefer.

At right is an example. Click on the image to see the entire interactive release.

A news organization may run the release verbatim. A blogger may grab an image. A prospect doing a Google search may send the video to decision makers.

2. Always include a call-to-action in your press release

Again, journalists aren’t the only ones reading them.

“Drive readers back to a landing page or specific content on your website where you can collect their contact information, track where they’re coming from, and add them to an email list,” advises Marx. “Not only will this generate leads, it can directly measure public relations effectiveness.”

3. Get more media coverage by making the lives of journalists easier

Give them only what they want most: a story they can use

“Journalists and bloggers are very hardworking. They don’t have a lot of time, and they don’t want information that’s not relevant to what they’re doing,” says Marx.

Do your homework to thoroughly understand what the journalist or blogger is covering. Provide the writer useful information to help develop a good story that applies to his or her beat.

Reporters want more than words

“Reporters want visual content,” Becktold points out. “Between doing a piece where there are no multimedia resources and doing a piece that includes them, reporters and bloggers are generally going to opt for using the multimedia content.”

Audit your website

Is it easy for reporters to find the information they need, such as biographies, downloadable photos or essential company information?

“Click through your website as if you’ve never been there before. Pay attention to where the links take you,” advises Sturaitis. “Is it logical? If you’re a reporter on deadline at 9:30 p.m., are you going to be able to easily find the company address or how the CEO’s name is spelled?”

4. Repurpose your media coverage

“If you get great press, that’s just half the job,” says Marx. “Use social media to promote it. Talk it up in your blog. Send it out as an email to prospects and clients.”

5. Pay keen attention to SEO keywords

When Public Relations and Marketing use different keywords, it can undermine search engine rankings, warns Becktold. This affects organic traffic and can even increase pay-per-click costs.

In contrast, when PR and Marketing use precisely the same keywords, this can significantly improve organic search rankings and decrease the cost of pay-per-click advertising, he explains.

“Google your keywords and see what pops,” he advises. “If your name doesn’t show up in organic when pay-per-click advertising appears, your keywords may be misaligned.”

6. Focus on what the customer values

“It seems like marketing communications tools and platforms are changing every nanosecond now,” confesses Marx. “What won’t change as fast is what your customer values about your company and the importance of promoting that.”

That’s why it’s important to:

  • Clearly and concisely communicate your value

“Good writing will always matter,” says Becktold. “Get to the point. Search engines prefer that and so does your audience. Everyone’s attention spans are shorter.  Be compelling, be engaging.”

  • Know precisely how your customers are finding out about your value

“Focus on where your clients are; you don’t have to try every new platform or tool, you just need to be aware of them,” advises Sturaitis.

A good way to learn where your clients are coming from is to talk with whoever manages your website analytics, she notes.

“They’re going to have the analytics on every webpage to tell you how people are getting there,” she explains. “That will identify where your audiences are and how they like to engage with you.”

  • Be consistent with your value messaging

“Don’t talk about your company one way on your website, a different way in social media, and yet another way to the media,” says Marx.

7. Use what you learn

“The public relations process will help clarify who your audiences are, where they congregate, what kind of conversations they’re having and how they interact with different types of content,” says Becktold. “That’s critical knowledge that benefits the organization’s entire lead generation effort.”

Here’s the upshot: Public relations is so much more than just press kits and publicity. In fact, Marx believes public relations professionals were the first content marketers. The faster you position public relations at the marketing strategy table, the more quickly it can become an invaluable, cost-effective lead generation tool.

Related Resources

Marketing 101: How to get started in lead generation

Social Media: How Motorola Solutions uses Facebook to generate more engagement

Lead Nurturing: 5 Useful Tactics to Get More Opportunities

10 Most Popular B2B Lead Generation Blog Posts of 2017

How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Leads

How to improve your account based marketing results

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. There are some really good tips in this article, sometimes connecting marketing PR just gets lost in the mix. Making sure all marketing channels are alligned helps ensure that messaging is consistent, content is being properly used and that maximum is being gained from campaigns and programs.

  2. Thanks for this 7 tactics about the marketing and public relations. Absolutely right. The business world can be extremely competitive. Companies typically want to have something that makes them stand out from the crowd, something that makes them more appealing and interesting to both members of the public and the media.

  3. Thanks so much for your insightful comments, Aviva. Wendy, I appreciate your excellent response.

    Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, has some thoughts around value proposition that apply to your discussion:
    Organizations should have a core value proposition from which derivative value propositions emerge for particular products and segments. The core value proposition will ensure consistent messaging while derivative value propositions speak to each segment of your marketplace.

    Learn more here: http://www.marketingexperiments.com/blog/marketing-insights/b2b-marketing-derivative-value-prop.html

    Antonio, I am so glad you found the post helpful. Thank you for the kind words; it helps immensely to have such knowledgeable sources.

  4. Interesting and important points from Aviva B. I would still recommend even if you are serving multiple audiences that you have some uniform messaging that bridges across all customer groups. At the same time, it is smart to customize your message for particular channels as Aviva B notes and also for particular segments. At the same time, it is important to have a more broadly-based message that spans segments and differentiates your business from others.

  5. Excellent points over here, although one comment on point 6 about being consistent with your value messaging: yes. If your company is only focused on one customer persona, who has a very specific set of needs and issues, and they offer a very specific solution for those issues, for sure you should have that message all over. But many companies serve a wider range of customers, not all of whom have the exact same issue. And you might have one customer persona who’s the type who reads traditional media, another the type who reads trade journals, and another who gets industry information from Twitter.

    So you may – deliberately – want to present a different image (read: the unique solution and value we provide to our customers)in different places.

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