A Question to Consider for Your B2B Public Relations Program Next Year

How are you telling your company’s story to the marketplace? What are your customers hearing?

Well, I guess that makes two questions.

When you look beyond the typical themes, key messages, intellectual capital, etc. that we all plot out for public relations and marketing programs, what does the big picture look like?  Are your customers really getting an accurate impression of who you really are?

Most B2B marketers – especially at professional service firms – commit a decent amount of time and resources to content development/marketing. But as everyone gives more TLC to the online footprint of their companies, the game is changing. Consider these facts:

  • 51% of B2B marketers plan to increase spending on content marketing in the next year. (Marketing Profs and Junta 42 study)
  • The top applications for the use of social media for B2B marketers: thought leadership (59.8%), lead generation (48.9%), customer feedback (45.7%). (B2B magazine study)
  • 34% of U.S. companies are using blogs for marketing purposes, and that is projected to grow to 43% by 2012. (eMarketer study)

The opportunities available for companies to tell their own story are seemingly endless.  Here are a couple of significant communications strategy developments that caught my attention recently:

  • Intel established its own “free press” site: Intel is putting a serious effort against producing its own “journalistic-style” stories about the company and technology generally – stories that the media won’t necessarily tell. They make all of the content very easy to search, reuse and share.
  • The McKinsey Quarterly moves to a “free” model: Instead of continuing to require a “premium subscription” to access the full content of its highly-regarded business journal, McKinsey has now opened its doors to everyone, making its thought leadership easy to share. Gated content exclusive to a small community is a thing of the past.

Both signal a trend of companies getting more aggressive with producing and sharing content for mass audiences. Of course, no one wants to listen to a company that is just beating its chest. If you’re only online using traditional marketing tactics (talking about your company and its products/services), then you’re probably going to be disappointed by the results. Creating content that really “sticks” with customers is what ultimately matters most – and what keeps them coming back for more. How are you identifying those sticking points? Are you listening to what your customers want? Maybe they’ll start listening  – and talking – back.

Are there interesting trends that you’ve observed in how companies are telling their story?

Photo by Colton Witt Photography

To reach Kellie:

Email: kellie@blisspr.com
Twitter: @kshe
LinkedIn: Kellie Sheehan