The use of public relations, or earned media, is on the rise among B2B marketers because of its effectiveness in driving sales, according to a new survey by Demand Gen Report.
The survey shows that while driving brand awareness is still the top goal for earned media programs, marketers increasingly are turning to PR to drive pipeline (66%) and increase revenue (50%).
As the return on traditional media stagnates or declines, B2B marketers are increasing their investment in PR because PR works.
Unlike advertising, earned media is generated by a reporter or editor, and therefore is more credible than paid media. Earned media also can be very cost-effective as a lead generation tool.
Here are some ways that earned media can be used to drive demand:
- Target your efforts. Just as you develop a list of prospects for direct marketing, be very targeted with your PR efforts. Position your PR efforts as narrowly as possible towards the outlets that your prospects read.
- Use peer examples. Leverage your success with customers to pitch articles about how companies have benefitted from working with your company or using your product. Illustrate these articles with good images.
- Offer free advice. Develop white papers, thought leadership briefs and articles that give away good advice or educate prospects about important topics. This will position your company and executives as thought leaders and experts.
- Be findable. Optimize news releases and articles so prospects can easily find your company. Use keywords that prospects are using to search for solutions. Find creative ways to push prospects to your website by developing special URLs where they can download research, infographics and white papers.
- Optimize media placements. Use strong media placements in sales collateral, email pitches and other demand generation efforts. These articles can add instant credibility to prospecting, and can shorten the lead generation cycle.
- Search for speaking opportunities. Look for venues to discuss industry issues and impart advice that helps attendees work smarter. These events often are covered by industry reporters and add to your reputation as an expert. In advance of the event, arrange to speak directly with reporters who are attending.
Finally, work with a PR agency that understands B2B and has a track record of using earned media for demand generation.