You’re releasing a new product and you need the launch to be a screaming success. So you do all of the things you would normally do when running a PR campaign. Among other assets, you have a well-crafted press release, a pithy tagline, a kick ass explainer video, media outlets lined up, and a killer social media strategy. What’s missing?

Influencers are missing.

By the end of this post, you’ll know:

  • Why it’s no longer enough to rely on old standby PR assets
  • Who influencers are, what they do, and how you can leverage their power

Why Old School Tactics Are No Longer Enough for Your B2B PR Campaign

I’m certainly not saying that you should ditch your press release, or give up on your social media strategy. Far from it!

However, the reality is that these tactics in and of themselves don’t deliver the results that they used to.

Here’s a sobering statistic:

According to Lou Hoffan, of PR Daily, in 2013, roughly 642,000 press releases were distributed by the top three services — PR Newswire, Businesswire, and Marketwire. That about 1,759 releases a day!

What are the chances of your press release reaching the right audience? Granted, there are some very specific steps you can take to ensure it’s visible. More about that here. But if there were a way to fast track your launch to get it in front of the right people, wouldn’t you want to do that?

Of course, social media promotion goes a long way, too. However, did you know that there are 500 million tweets sent out per day? As a result, many companies are watching their social media interactions drop more and more each year. The amount of available content is just overwhelming.

What’s the fix? Clearly, you need to drill down and find the audience that resonates with your brand. In fact, sometimes you need to drill down even further to target an audience that fits with a product you offer. For instance, showcases pages on your LinkedIn company page let you promote specific products and services and help to narrow the field of interest for your followers.

However, there’s another way to reach targeted followers: influencer marketing.

Who/What Are Influencers?

Being an influencer sounds like a pretty good gig, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t like to believe that they have pull over the thoughts and actions of others? However, we’re not talking about the Kardashians here.

No, in the business world, influencers are typically those who are a recognized authority in an industry. They didn’t get that way because they decided they’ve “arrived” and everyone must take notice. True influencers have worked hard to understand and work within their chosen field and they’ve built credibility as a result of their hard work. Influencers are a bit like local celebrities in the sense that the average person on the street may not recognize them, but to those in the know, the influencer’s name is almost synonmous with the industry.

Want to get some of that influencer juice yourself? Check out our thought leadership program and learn how you can go from Anonymity to Industry Icon.

What Does an Influencer Do?

Brian Sutter, contributor for Forbes, made a valid point when he wrote:

“Influencer marketing… cuts through all the noise of advertising.”

How exactly does that work?

What does a day in the life of an infuencer look like? Let’s call our influencer “Rex Roofer.”

Rex has seen many changes in the roofing industry since he started as a laborer 25 years ago. He pioneered seemless roofing technology that withstands even the most extreme weather. He’s not up on the roof much anymore, since he’s now busy helping other industry professionals.

Rex’s day may consist of answering phone calls about how to market new roofing products. He may also be prepping for a spot on The Weather Channel about roof safety since it’s the middle of hurricane season. Next week, he’s packing up to go speak at a trade show and meet with up and coming vendors as well as current clients. Rex also knows the importance of continuing to market himself as an industry leader. So he has meetings scheduled with his marketing team in order to continue to build an audience on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In addition, he’s creating content that builds traffic to his own website, but also provides value for those in the industry.

Now, if you manufacture roofing materials, can you see how getting to know Rex would be a good idea?

How Can You Leverage the Power of an Influencer?

According to The Content Marketing Institute:

“Highly focused targeting and quality content are what generate a mutually beneficial relationship that will make your influencer strategy work.” ~Andrea Lehr

Clearly, having Rex’s stamp of approval on your new product (let’s say it’s an innovative shingle) would go a long way to lending credibility to your brand. A quick mention of your product while he’s on The Weather Channel would certainly be helpful. In addition, his 500,000 followers on social media are exactly the kind of audience you need. Your 30,000 followers may be loyal, but why should they take your word when they can take Rex’s?

So how do you get Rex involved in your product?

It may start with a simple phone call. Or, you may request to meet him at a trade show. Remember, influencers don’t need a sales pitch. If you have a good product, they’ll be able to recognize it from the start.

Next, you’ll want to get your product into Rex’s hands. Offer to send him a free sample or provide the materials for a small job. Let him test it out so that he can confidently and genuinely say that he believes in your product.

Finally, Rex will likely have some ideas about how to spread the word about your product, but he will likely not do it for free. Paid opportunities are commonplace among influencers. You don’t work for free, and you shouldn’t expect them to either.

Creating a successful B2B PR Campaign doesn’t happen by accident. It takes weeks, or even months of careful strategizing. And when you finally do launch your product, you want to make the most out of your campaign! You don’t have multiple chances to make a good first impression.

It’s with this in mind, that I’ve created the ultimate B2B PR cheat sheet. With this simple checklist, you’ll stretch your PR dollars even further, and increase your exposure. Download your copy — it’s on me!