If you think that public relations is just for brand building, you’re wrong. PR also can be an inexpensive and very effective way of filling your sales pipeline and keeping it full.
This isn’t theoretical. We have clients who are “revenue marketers,” and measure every aspect of their marketing program, including PR. These clients can say definitely that PR is a major drivers of sales leads for their B2B businesses. In fact, one of our clients determined that PR contributes to about 70 percent of her sales leads.
To work, companies need to change the way they think about PR. PR is not just for brand building or to blast news. Here are the steps we take to ensure a steady pipeline of leads for our clients:
- Integrate PR with marketing. This includes the integration of messages, campaigns and technology to measure the effectiveness of PR activities. PR and marketing need to plan their efforts together for the biggest impact.
- Create ways to drive actions. Give potential customers a reason to interact with your company. We’ve found one of the best ways is to offer really good content, such as a white paper, video link, newsletter, etc. Use unique links and keep sign up easy by asking only for basic information, such as name and email.
- Link everything. Create links back to content from every source possible. This includes putting links in articles, blog posts, tweets, Facebook, etc.
- Show, don’t tell. Demonstrate your expertise by highlighting how you’ve helped customers. Develop customer case studies that include strong metrics and a good story. Place these testimonials to the media, post them on your blog, and send out via social media channels. Always include a unique link back to your website.
- Measure, analyze and refine. Measure the success of every effort by identifying how many prospects came to your website and where they came from. Unique links will help with this. Take it a step further and track each prospect all the way through the sales pipeline. With this information, refine your PR program so it focuses on those channels that bring in the best leads.