Amp Up Your Public Relations

By Jenny Kosek for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 Blog Series

Public relations, marketing, and advertising are terms that get tossed about interchangeably, which is unfortunate because public relations is a decidedly unique animal compared to the other two. And when done well, it can make a positive impact on your business.

Public relations is simply “using the news or business press to carry positive stories about your company or products.” PR is all about the relationships you’re building with the trade press, media, and potential clients, and leveraging those connections to convince those people to talk about you – at no cost to you. That’s the real beauty of PR: while it takes time, it does not take additional money in the way that publishing an ad campaign or printing new sales brochures does.

How do you begin connecting to the media and letting them know that your business is interesting and worth talking about? This is where an agency can really help you make a splash. Marketing and PR agencies familiar with your industry already have these connections established, allowing you to essentially skip Step 1: Find the press and jump directly to Step 2: Get the press to notice you.

Editorial calendars are a great place to start when getting your foot in the door with a trade publication. Is there an article you can prepare that will display your thought leadership or expertise in a particular topic trending in your industry? Publications are always seeking good content, so reviewing an editorial calendar and pitching a story idea that relates to the scheduled themes or topics is a great PR option. Just remember, an editorial is not the place to sell your product or business (buy an ad to do that!).

If your knowledge doesn’t seem like a good fit for any upcoming editorials, you can still put PR to work for you. Create content – blogs, white papers, videos – that informs, but doesn’t sell. Show that you understand the industry and the challenges your customers face. Then put it out on the web or share it at meetings or tradeshows free of charge. These goodwill marketing pieces help make connections with your brand that can develop into genuine sales leads.

Finally, consider sponsorships and charitable donations as a way to build coveted “good PR.” We’ve all heard marketers on TV say that of seemingly touchy-feely, profitless endeavors, and absolutely it’s true. Showing that you’re connected to your community and the greater good makes customers and employees more sympathetic towards and willing to support your brand. Do some good, send out a press release, and strengthen your business in the process.

Ultimately, your PR strategy should be a distinct but equally strong branch of your overall marketing strategy. Don’t neglect this important channel, which, when done properly, may shape public opinion of your brand more than any other.



Write for Trade Publication

By Steve Staedler for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

So you have a story idea that you’d like to pitch to a few trade publication editors. While it may sound like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be, if you ask the right questions and do your homework upfront.

Here are a few tips to help make your pitch successful, while also writing copy that is up to the standards the editor is looking for: (more…)



Identify Your Archetype

By Gregg Kerttula for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

I think the CSI theme song performed by one of the most influential rock bands, The Who, poses the question best:

“Who are you? I really wanna know…
Tell me, who are you? ‘Cause I really wanna know!”

Rockin’ tune… daunting proposition, especially when aimed directly at your brand.

Who is your brand? What characteristics does it embody? How does it engage with your audience? How does it wish to be perceived and received? Marty Neumeier, Director of Transformation for Liquid Agency, says it well; “A brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.” With this in mind, you’d best get your story straight. (more…)



Join an Industry Organization

By Michael Isaacson for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

If I asked most people, “Why you haven’t joined an industry group or trade association,” I’m certain I’d hear the same answer from 99% of them.

I’m just too busy.

We’re all busy, and we are cramming more and more into an already jammed workday. But what if I told you the potential benefits that far outweigh the extra time you’d put in? What if I said those benefits could help you use your time more effectively and actually help you build your business? (more…)



Attend a  Tradeshow

By Jenny Kosek for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

You know those booths at trade shows that generate buzz? The booth everyone says you HAVE to see?

Usually that booth is also a bank-breaker for the company hosting it, with the hope that the big spend on the flashy booth will pull in enough sales and opportunities to justify the expense. Of course, with enough cash, anything is possible, so for larger companies to put out an interactive, multi-story booth with full sound, lighting, and a waterslide (anything’s possible!), it’s easy. For smaller players, such luxury is out of reach.

But luxury is not the same as impact, and without pouring your entire marketing budget into a tradeshow booth, you can still make a splash if you think creatively.  (more…)


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Connect with your industry

By Michasel Isaacson for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

Keeping up with the trends and news within your industry helps you spot trends and opportunities to make better long-term decisions, aids in your being seen as an industry expert and helps you become a better leader. (more…)


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Identify Your Target Audience

By Jenny Kosek for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

Who is your audience today?

Who is your audience tomorrow?

You probably have an answer to the first question, but what about the second? Understanding your audience – the collective group that is buying or would buy your product – is a two pronged process. To remain viable, you not only need to understand your audience as it exists today, but you must also anticipate how your audience will change so you can serve them in the future. Industries change rapidly, and of course, technology and the Internet of Things will continue to impact the products and services B2Bs develop. Aside from industry developments, American demographics are endlessly shifting and anticipating the impact on your audience will be crucial to your longevity. (more…)



Conduct Market Research

By Michael Isaacson for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

Early in my career, I had a client who had this sign hanging in his office: “In God we trust… all others bring data.”

At first blush, the sign made me nervous. I thought, “Do I seem untrustworthy? Does he not have confidence in the company I work for? Do we seem devious?”

As I worked with him, I found out that it wasn’t a matter of trust. It was a matter of certainty. This particular client practiced what he called “Evidence-Based Decision Making.” Research gave him the tools to make informed business decisions about product improvements, pricing strategies, channels of distribution and marketing. He had decades of experience behind him and great intuition when it came to sales and marketing but, in the end, he let research and facts be the deciding factors in his decision making process.

20 years later, I’m an even bigger believer in the value of research. However, I now see the value well beyond the four P’s. It’s about staying competitive in markets that are shifting and changing on a daily basis. Here’s how you can stay on top of your game: (more…)


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Conduct a SWOT ANalysis

By Karen Enriquez-Wagner for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

During strategic planning, a tool you don’t want to forget about is a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats. It’s a great way to identify and establish a sustainable niche in the marketplace for your company, product or service.

The SWOT is intended for you to take an internal and external review of your company to make you aware of direct and indirect factors that can impact your organization. For example, the Strengths and Weaknesses should be based on what’s internal to your company, product or service; Opportunities and Threats are the external factors.  (more…)



Build Brand Advocates

By Angie Mork for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

Marketing 101 dictates that our number one initiative is building awareness for a customer’s brand externally. But as strategies and plans are developed, we often overlook one of the most critical audiences: employees. Your employees are your most powerful brand advocates. Why? It’s simple. They live and breathe your products and services every day. Who better to add authenticity then those that can speak genuinely about your offerings? (more…)