B2B PR vs. B2C PR

Those in the B2C sector typically have full-scale PR resources at the ready. Product launches, press relations, and marketing opps demand a strong PR presence. What about the B2B realm? Do we really need that much PR? And, if so, do B2B public relations tactics mirror those of B2C public relations?

In this post, let’s explore:

  • Why B2B companies need PR
  • 5 differences between B2B PR and B2C PR

Yes, Your B2B Company Needs PR (Even if it’s small)

Which companies come to mind when you think of B2B? Perhaps super giants, such as Salesforce or IBM are the first to pop into your head. It’s easy to see why the super companies need PR.

However, even smaller companies need a good dose of PR, as it is the oxygen that breathes life into any firm. Without PR, you are simply drowning in a sea of competitors, rather than captaining your ship to sail in concert with the waves.

Good PR increases visibility, drives leads, creates awareness, and ultimately boosts revenues. What company doesn’t want those positive results?

However, if you’re just diving in to the PR world, or even if you been floating around in it for a while, you may be wondering if B2C PR tactics are just as useful in the B2B sector. Let’s tackle that next.

5 Differences Between B2C and B2B PR

1. Goals

B2C PR tends to focus on creating excitement over a product. Before a product is even launched, we get the impression (if PR is done properly) that it already exists everywhere and that it’s something we need to purchase because we’ll be out of the loop if we don’t.

To find proof of this , just take a look at the lines for the Apple Store when a new product is released.

However, B2B public relations focuses on building trust in a brand. You may be interested in a new cloud software that is about to launch, but it’s extremely unlikely you’ll enter a long-term relationship with it before knowing you can trust the provider.

In order to build trust, you must establish that you are the go-to person in your industry. Find your niche and be the source of useful, helpful information.

2. Lead Generation

B2C products and services typically have a wide audience, whereas the B2B audience is generally very specific and streamlined.

“The B2B audience is seeking products that will help their business solve problems or leverage opportunities. They are attracted to efficiency and expertise.” ~ Max Bergen, SaaS sales and business development professional

Let’s face it, if you’re selling rubber roofing material, a broad advertising net will yield few results. However, advertising an organic lip balm on YouTube just before Justin Bieber’s new video may garner similar results to advertising it on Monday night TV on the CW Network.

What’s the point for those of us in the B2B world? You need to narrow down your audience in a very intentional way and market directly to them.

You can do this by targeting social channels used by your audience and segmenting your leads so you can send select content to different groups.

3. Influencers and Advocates

Do you know who is the current CEO of Priceline? I don’t. I do know that William Shatner and Kaley Cuoco have appeared on numerous commercials for Priceline.

That’s not going to fly in the B2B PR world, though.

If your PR efforts are going to be successful, you need to brand, not just your company, but also your executives. They should be known for being industry leaders and influencers, rather than hiring influencers and advocates.

This isn’t to say that you should avoid seeking out the endorsement of bloggers and industry professionals. However, your primary objective should be to become the voice of your industry.

There are numerous ways you can accomplish this, including:

  • Joining HARO to offer quotes and expertise to reporters
  • Responding to online queries relating to your industry
  • Offering owned content that educates your audience
  • Being active on social channels
  • Contributing byline articles to media outlets
  • Speaking at industry events
  • Polishing your credentials with industry awards
  • Aligning with partners who can widen and deepen your reach

“B2B PR should be focused on educating the audiences first and providing a larger picture that helps position you as an expert in the area.” ~ BuzzNitro

4. Social Media

In B2C PR, gaining as many followers as possible on social media helps to create brand awareness, and a “need” for a product.

However, social media for B2B is a different beast. To begin with, not all social channels are appropriate for your B2B brand. If your brand doesn’t fit with Snapchat, then you shouldn’t force it. If Instagram campaigns yield few to no results, then move on.

B2B social posts tend to be more informative rather than emotional, which means platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn (the source of 80% of B2B leads) should take front and center in your social campaigns.

5. Owned Media

B2B owned media, in the form of blog posts, videos, ebooks, and other content takes a different form than B2C owned media.

For instance, a B2C blog post may be around 500 words. It will likely be entertaining and easy to digest — no concentration necessary. However, some studies show that B2B blog posts are more engaging when they are at least 1,400 words in length.

Whatever length you settle on, the content should be engaging, but most of all, it should be informative and useful to your audience.

One thing is for sure, we can select certain useful elements from the B2C PR model, but in the end, B2B PR must be specifically designed to cater to the needs of its unique audience. As PR evolves and changes, we continue to learn how to manage the nuances that make B2B PR special.

What about you? How have you learned and adapted to changes in B2B public relations?