Navigating Tough Times: Leveraging PR Strategies for B2B Survival in 2024

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PR Strategies

For many companies and businesses, 2024 has been a difficult year. This has mainly been driven by falling consumer spending and the cost-of-living crisis.

But this has impacted B2B businesses as well. In fact, data shows that many businesses have started to cut their headcount and wider spending.

So, if you’re a business, agency, or consultancy that sells to businesses, you might be facing a difficult 12 to 18 months.

In this article, we look at some of the ways that you might want to leverage PR for your B2B business, whether that’s B2B thought leadership or newsjacking.

1. B2B thought leadership

B2B thought leadership is one of the most powerful approaches for businesses that sell to other businesses.

Unlike mass-market consumers, businesses have more sophisticated and calculated processes. They are (usually) not so driven by passion, desire, or impulse. Instead, they generally make spending decisions after extended thinking research, thought, and analysis.

In fact, a large spending decision might be reviewed by up to 5 to 10 people.

This presents an opportunity to making B2B businesses: your customers are much more willing to invest the time to read extended and thoughtful sales information. Not only does this means lengthy sales brochures, but also wider insightful content into how you might tackle their unique challenges and problems.

In other words, if you’re selling to other companies, then B2B thought leadership can be a very powerful and effective tool. In practice, business-to-business thought leadership is the process of creating content that showcases your company’s insights into a particular topic, challenge, or problem faced by your customers.

For example, this might be a blog post about a trend that is currently playing out in your industry. It might be a video discussing what to expect in the sector over the coming 18 months. Or it might even be a case study of how a company in a similar position to your potential customer tackled the same (or a similar) problem.

And the effectiveness of thought leadership is only going to rise over the coming period. In fact, three-quarters of decision-makers, such as CEOs, COO, and other CxO executives, say that thought leadership has prompted them to research new services and product offerings.

2. Leveraging LinkedIn

If you’re going to have success as a b2b business, you need to make sure that you’re present on the right PR and marketing channels.

To put it another way: if you’re selling design, legal, or accountancy services, it is highly unlikely that your customers are sitting on networks such as Facebook or Instagram.

So, where are business decision-makers hanging out? Increasingly, LinkedIn is becoming the platform of choice for CxOs.

In fact, data suggests that LinkedIn is on an explosive, dramatic growth trajectory. According to the latest stats, there are now more than 1 billion people on LinkedIn.

But, how do you stand out from all of that noise on LinkedIn?

Firstly, it is worth considering paid promotion and targeting. While you might want to find costless solutions, LinkedIn advertising will provide you with a direct, short-cut to accessing your audience through fine-grained targeting, which may end up saving you not only weeks or months of time investment – but years.

Secondly, LinkedIn it increasingly prioritising content from people rather than companies. This makes sense. Would you rather read a post from Coca-Cola or the CEO of Coca-Cola?

If you’re like most people, you’d rather read from the executive themselves. It is likely to be more authentic and less saturated with faceless, corporate marketing babble.

As a result, all b2b companies need to have a strategy in place for their executives to use LinkedIn effectively. If you leverage your executives’ own accounts in a powerful and valuable way, it can have a much more dramatic effect that putting in place a corporate LinkedIn strategy.

3. Industry newsjacking

Newsjacking is the process of jumping on a breaking news story to get into the media.

For example, if a UK footballer has recently moved to play for a team in the Middle East, it might give a holiday company the opportunity to talk about the various lifestyle benefits of living (or holidaying) in Dubai and elsewhere. In essence, a company is taking advantage of a big story in the news to wedge themselves into the discussion.

Usually this is a PR tool that is leveraged by consumer PR agencies to generate mass-media hits, but it is also possible to take advantage of this approach for B2B PR as well.

The process is simple: monitor top trade titles in your target industry for breaking news, and then jump in with a topical comment from your company.

For example, if you are an accountancy that specialises in servicing manufacturing clients, you might check the leading manufacturing trade media titles every morning to wait for a big story.

Then, when a big story hits, you might get the creative juices flowing in the office on how you can jump on that story in a left-field way to generate some coverage for yourself in the industry media.

Taken together, in the B2B sector, PR is still a powerful tool for generating visibility and driving awareness among your target customers. But this needs to be done in the right way, and just porting across techniques from consumer PR will not work.

Your audience is much more sophisticated, thoughtful and informed. This article has explored some of the techniques that B2B companies can leverage in 2024 to keep their PR engine moving.

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