We’ve all heard the saying that “Any PR is good PR,” but in the BtoB world, having a solid PR strategy can make the difference between just getting your name out vs. getting in front of the right audience with a great story and message. This type of success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. While many believe in the power of earned media and how the resulting credibility helps establish image and reputation and ultimately, builds business, not every company is ready to commit the time, resources and thought to reap the most rewards. Here are 5 questions to ask before embarking on a plan:
- Have you established a point of difference from your competitors?
If your message is similar to that of your competitor’s, there won’t be a reason to select your company over the other. You need to do the work first that identifies what really sets you apart from your competition, what value you bring to the equation and how you articulate your special sauce both inside the walls of your company as well as to the outside world. A good PR partner can help you do this prior to launching a PR strategy.
- Do you have stories to share, ideas for thought leadership to promote and/or new products and services that will give you a competitive edge?
When engaging in PR, there needs to be content – preferably a new idea, product/service or a new way of solving clients’ problems. Your clients and prospects are interested in how you are staying ahead of trends and what sets you apart. Thought leadership in areas where they are involved will make them take notice. Getting your voice out in front can help give you a competitive advantage.
- Have you established a working budget?
PR can be a very cost-effective and powerful way to grow your company, but a budget that is aligned with the size of your plan must be established. Budgets should take into account whether the content creation will be done in-house or out. Will you supplement and amplify earned media with paid media? What pace of information and content creation will be necessary? And, of course, what your goals are (see #4) and what needs to happen to make those goals a reality.
- Have you set realistic goals for what you want to achieve?
Without goals, you could find yourself drifting from one initiative to another and look up in 6 months with nothing to show for it. Goals should align with business objectives and be designed to foster growth. But, being realistic is also a key to success. For example, it’s unlikely that your first result will be the front page of The Wall Street Journal. PR is a building process, so start with outreach to media outlets that are read by your clients and prospects and become an established presence there. This will help you achieve top-of-mind awareness. Then, work toward bigger and more prominent hits and initiatives to keep momentum going.
- Are you ready to be an engaged participant?
If you are ready to engage thoughtfully and frequently with your customers, shareholders, stakeholders, and the media, then you’re ready for PR. That means being ready to promote your work, your ideas and your viewpoints and available to respond to questions from the media (who are always on deadline) that will come your way. Timely and thoughtful responses will not only establish thought leadership, it will also help cultivate solid relationships and respect with the media.
If you’ve said “yes” to all of the above, then, yes, you are ready to invest in PR.