Top b2b pr trends in 2016

Admittedly, the title of this post promises a lot. However, if you’re someone who would benefit from a PR overhaul, a PR launch, or even a good education on PR, this post truly could rock your world.

After all, good the best PR should put your B2B company front and center, creating a buzz in your industry. In the end, the best PR leads to increased visibility, credibility and, best of all, additional revenue. Wouldn’t that just rock your world?

In this post, we will:

  • Talk about some PR trends that have gone by the wayside (or that should have)
  • Learn about the latest PR trends
  • Show you how to leverage the best PR trends for your B2B

PR Stud to Dud: B2B PR Trends to Leave Behind

1. Over SEO-ing

While keyword ranking remains a powerful way to get noticed online, focusing solely on search engine optimization will do little for the meat and bones of your PR.

Your company should not be perceived as a soulless entity that robotically spits out words to entice other digital beings. Rather, you want to be viewed as a problem solver in your industry, as a company that listens to its audiences’ needs.

Check out more about this in our recent post on emotional content marketing.

2. Paid Advertising as a Stand-Alone Product

Paid advertising has its place. However, old school marketing will tell you that a full-page ad in the Times is worth its weight in gold. Well, you will likely pay the price of a gold item to get it, and there’s no guarantee the ad will reach the right person.

We’ll show the right way to use paid advertising in a moment.

3. Out “FREEing” the Other Guy

There is no shortage of free content out there. And it keeps coming fast and furious. It’s as if marketers are in a race to put out the most free content. I don’t know about you, but I like to get paid for working.

This isn’t to say that free content should become extinct. Let’s be clear on that. You need these attraction offers to get a foot in the door. More on that in a bit.

4. Traditional Press Releases

Press releases have been a mainstay of B2B PR for years. And they still are. Surprised? The truth is that press releases are critical to any B2B PR plan. However, gone are the days when you sent off your release and left it at that. You might as well throw it in the trash.

Top B2B PR Trends in 2016 and How You Can Use Them

1. Emotional Content

“The buying process in B2B is more complex and more rational than in B2C, and the emotions concerning this relationship should be related to trust, reliability and honesty. Other emotions, such as amusement, might be implemented for brand awareness or building, or to convey brand values to stakeholders.” ~Bianca Ribeiro, Marketing Coordinator, Epson do Brazil

It doesn’t matter that you machine screws for industrial washing machines, or that you create cloud-based big data software. Your customers are people and people respond to emotion.

Now, I’m not saying that you should create content filled with puppies and babies. However, the sentiment should be there. Does your content make the viewer feel safe, inspired, and understood?

For example:

Which blog post title is more appealing?

5 Ways to Speed up Machine Shop Production

OR…

5 Easy Ways to Solve Your Biggest Production Headaches

The first one may rank better for the keyword “machine shop production.” However, it has a very low emotional quotient.

How to use this trend: Create content that focuses on the needs and concerns of the customer, instead of on getting you noticed by search engines. Use keywords that appeal to a small group of strong leads, rather than keywords that are searched for by a wide, often irrelevant, audience.

2. Paid Content

Paid content is unique in that it allows you to reach a large audience that is specific to your industry.

Recently, we brought you a post on Native Advertising. In this post, we mentioned how native advertising is an effective tool since it follows the user’s organic experience. The viewer never has to leave his favorite platform (Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, LinkedIn, Forbes) in order to view your content.

“A form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.” ~ Dan Greenberg of Sharethrough, on defining native advertising

This type of advertising can be much more effective than direct advertising, such as a banner ad, where all those clicks are by people who many not have any interest in your industry.

3. Tiered Content

Yes, you absolutely want to provide prospects with free content. However, don’t think that you should give away all your expertise for free.

How to use this trend: Have you amassed a wealth of knowledge about a particular corner of your industry? Why not write an eBook about it? If it’s a topic that’s highly sought after, don’t be shy about charging a modest fee for your content.

4. Thought Leadership and Influencer Marketing

The concept of thought leadership is that you are an industry expert. People look to you for guidance on industry trends and information. You don’t need to be the CEO of a large corporation to become a thought leader. In fact, in this post, I outline how one owner of a sinking pool company became a star in his industry, simply by starting to blog about his knowledge of fiberglass!

Influencer marketing follows a similar vein. You use the influence of other thought leaders as a stepping stool for your brand’s visibilty.

How to use this trend: Get busy creating content that has your name attached. You can do this on your own platform as well as on external platforms such as LinkedIn. Regularly quote from industry leaders and give them a mention when you promote your content on social media.

5. Digital Press Releases

I mentioned that press releases are far from dead. However, the old manner of using them has conked out long ago.

Today’s press release needs to be optimized for search engines and promoted heavily on social channels.

How to use this trend: Make sure your press releases are written for prospects, not just the media. Include industry quotes, as well as internal quotes, branding yourself as a thought leader. Optimize your releases for search engines and then promote them heavily on social platforms. Include a copy in your online newsroom.

6. Analytics

Every PR effort should be measured. You can’t congratulate yourself on 2,000 placements if none of them actually yield results.

These days, so many of us are busy creating content, but are you monitoring the results of these PR efforts? If not, they are, in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, applesauce!

How to use this trend: There are many tools to monitor your PR efforts. Google analytics, Clicky, Buzzsumo, AirPR, and most CRMs all are geared toward letting you know the results of your efforts.

7. Getting on the Right Social Channels

The social world is no longer a big mystery. You likely know about Twitter, and how to leverage Facebook and LinkedIn. That being said, there’s no need to jump on every platform. Rather, it’s more important to become proficient in the platforms that really work for you.

This is where your analytics come in.

How to use this trend: Monitor your analytics to see which platforms are working the best for you. If you think there’s room for improvement on a platform, give it a second chance, with a big push. But, don’t hold on for sentimental reasons. Give it the heave ho if it’s not working for you and move on to what does.

Bearing that in mind, it’s a good bet that LinkedIn is a tool that you don’t want to toss.

Did you know:

63 percent of marketers report positive results in sales due to LinkedIn?

This makes sense, since LinkedIn is truly B2B-centric. One of the best ways to leverage LinkedIn is to get started creating the perfect company page.

Could you use a little help figuring out how to do that? I’ve got you covered! Grab your FREE copy of my latest ebook, How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page.

Inside, you’ll learn all about how to craft a killer description, how to make the most of images on your page, and you’ll even get some tips from the pros!