B2B services are high-stakes. Whether you’re a SaaS company, or provide other enterprise services like Recruiting, CleanTech, or HealthTech, the competition is stiff, and the TAM, while it might be valuable, isn’t likely huge. And with today’s high levels of uncertainty, for B2B companies, it’s more important than ever to make the decision-making process easier than ever, secure additional investment or prepare for IPO. So how do winning B2B service companies stay competitive during times of uncertainty?
Thought Leadership for B2B Competitive Advantage
B2B CEOs have a bird’s-eye view of their industry and marketplace trends – they have to, so they know how to steer the company. This often includes insights that are valuable to your target buyer. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to use executive visibility to increase brand awareness. Yes, your CEO can and should champion your company, but they can gain the trust of insiders and analysts by contributing to the conversation within your industry.
There have never been more media opportunities for CEOs with distinct points of view. The opportunities are endless, from podcasts to opinion pieces and contributed insights. Take the time to create a topic calendar, and remember that podcasts often book months in advance, and contributed content usually has an editorial process that can take three weeks or more.
If your Google search “Who is [executive name]” doesn’t return pages worth of positive, reputation-building content, now is the time to remedy that. Executive visibility is critical in B2B services.
Leveraging PR as Content
Getting the interview or coverage is great, but you can make that coverage work for you when you leverage your PR. Activating your PR coverage makes it more valuable to you and is a great way to support the journalist. And just like a lot of content, you can re-use your PR for a long time. There’s no shame in sharing it repeatedly on social media. Just use your content judgment about context, platform, and frequency.
Owned Content For Trust That Supercharges B2B Services
B2B service companies can stay competitive by leveraging PR; from case studies to reports and statistics, B2B companies make waves and even national news with trends and statistics. General business and industry journalists share something: their love for data. Put together notable data points that you can share in your owned content and use it as a jumping-off point for topical pitches all year long.
While B2B media coverage often depends on long lead times, creating your own content is not. Use owned content to share your own narrative and improve your company’s LinkedIn presence. While we’re at it, consider launching a blog on Medium or LinkedIn. Despite what people say, you can repurpose content on these platforms and they are great inbound links and another way to get your message out to the targeted audience.
Be More Than Press Releases
There’s more to PR than press releases. Don’t get me wrong – press releases have a role in the content eco-system, but they aren’t useful for securing media.
For quality B2B coverage, your storytelling must include at least two of these three elements:
- Timeliness/trending news tie-in
- Clear audience impact/relevance/newsworthiness
- Statistics and data which add context or change long-held assumptions
Emerging industry media coverage has an advantage regarding newsworthiness, but be careful not to fall into the lazy PR trap of describing everything as “innovative.” Emerging industries really need to craft compelling stories, and brands that differentiate set the agenda. Look at Marc Benioff at SalesForce. Over the years, SalesForce has set a lot of agendas, from employee culture to event marketing with Dreamforce. Benioff knew that great B2B storytelling spanned an array of topics, and headlines drove trust, and investor confidence, and attracted top talent – he knew not every piece of coverage had to look like a sales piece in order to be effective.
For quality media coverage, you must be ready and able to share who your customers are and how they benefit. Your case studies are critical – while no journalist will write an article based on your case studies, ensuring your spokespersons can articulate the case studies in a brand-consistent, media savvy way will make news coverage even more beneficial.
Times of economic uncertainty can be times for groundbreaking growth for B2B companies. Whether your company is pre-IPO or you are raising venture capital, PR is your partner and you can leverage it during times of uncertainty to keep growing when others are flailing.