Exploring the Role of Business to Business Public Relations in 2017

“What would you say you do here?”

It’s a question that some might remember as spoken by one of the Bobs in the film Office Space as they grilled a company middleman during his “employee review.” In the world of business to business (B2B) public relations, as radical changes in how people communicate and consume information have taken hold, the answer that a public relations professional might give to that same question is undergoing significant change as well. This new reality has put a strain on defining what exactly we, as B2B public relations professionals “do” and, more importantly to our clients, what we deliver as far as value.

Part of the mission of almost every business can effectively be distilled down to being the best at what they do in their chosen market. No one goes into business with the goal of being just average or being considered mediocre by their peers. As a public relations firm, we define our mission in the same ways which means that our job effectiveness in the eyes of our B2B clients comes down to positioning every one of them as the best at what they do and authorities in their fields in the eyes of both the public and their peers. Although that goal has remained unchanged over time, its execution has and continues to evolve as today’s media landscape rapidly transforms, and with it, the ways that content is consumed.

Although press releases detailing business news and developments are still important in B2B public relations, today’s public relations firms and professionals are no longer just typing up press releases on company letterhead, sending it to a trade and industry distribution list and collecting their retainer. Information comes to the modern consumer from every angle, whether it is via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, branded content on a news site, imbedded advertising or any one of the other thousands of ways that companies try to reach consumers. People are rightfully overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content they receive on a daily basis and yet, continue to seek out and engage with quality, relevant content.

Cutting through all of that noise becomes the job of the public relations firm. We recognize that each of our clients has an important voice with powerful and unique insights about their respective industries. Our job then becomes connecting the dots between synthesizing those insights to develop content that will connect with their audiences and customizing the distribution of this content to ensure it reaches that target audience to position our clients as authorities in their fields. Plain and simple, authority leads to increased influence and, most importantly, an increase in a company’s bottom line as they are looked at as the best of the best.

This content runs the gamut from paid media (sponsorships, advertising, etc.), earned media (press placements, interviews, etc.), shared media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and owned media (thought leadership, blogs, etc.) which all work toward positioning our clients as front of mind and providing them with a voice worth listening to in their field.  It is important to remember that we don’t create content for content’s sake; bad content is a constant fixture on the internet and we understand that this ultimately does more harm than good in establishing authority. A blog topic authored by an executive of a company with a clickbait style headline and zero relevant insights once the link is clicked, will generate page views and little else. The next time that executive posts a blog, many readers, soured by their original experience, won’t even bother reading what’s inside. The only thing that irrelevant or poorly targeted content succeeds in doing is turning off audiences to your voice and making authority an even more difficult goal to pursue.

But before someone can even read that content, the second part of our strategy comes into play: delivering that content to the target audience in the right channels. Although it might seem straightforward, many reporters complain about receiving pitches for stories unrelated to their beat or the publication. Unfortunately, everyone has received a “targeted” advertisement that completely missed its mark and showed you a product or service completely unrelated to your interests or needs. A firm can create the best content in the world but if it isn’t distributed appropriately, then they are living out the age-old question – “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?”

At R&J. we prioritize discovering and researching target audiences as one of our first steps with any client before a single piece of communication goes out. A highly-customized approach to creating and distributing content ensures that the important voices of our B2B clients get in front of the right reporters or distributed via company assets to amplify their reach and engage with their target audiences to help position them as authorities in their respective industries.

Not satisfied with the current response you are receiving from your public relations firm to the question “What would you say you do here?” Drop me an email djohnson@randjsc.om and I would be happy to show you what R&J can do for your business.


About Dan Johnson

Dan plays an essential role on R&J’s B2B and Public Affairs teams, managing high-profile accounts which include some of New Jersey’s most prestigious companies. He is responsible for developing communication strategies and managing their tactical implementation, as well as building and nurturing media relationships.

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