Content is king, and it remains the best way to build return on investment, show public relations’ value to the organization and express thought leadership in B2B marketing communications.
But the phrase is a bit ironic. The quote, widely attributed to former Microsoft CEO and self-proclaimed nerd, Bill Gates, often is twisted to hype simple tactics like SEO, Google Ads or Twitter feeds. While these tactics are necessary and important, they are not content. And without good content, the best tactics will fail. When thinking in terms of content for B2B communications, the key thing to remember is to give your audience content that has substance. B2B consumers are no different than B2C consumers. Both groups crave well-developed content that meets their expectations and helps them make informed decisions to satisfy their needs.
Each day, we are bombarded by thousands of messages. Even the ones that reach us oftentimes do not meet our expectations. That is because there is no depth of information or tactical engagement strategy behind them. Content with no depth is like selling fast-food-style burgers and fries in a “foodies’” market. While burgers and fries are inexpensive and can fill you up, they are not sufficiently satisfying to your customers’ niche palates.
So what is the secret recipe?
It’s not really about the recipe, but rather how the ingredients blend together. A great B2B content recipe – one that builds brand loyalty, shows thought leadership and attracts new customers – is done best with the public relations function.
PR is built to:
- Ask a lot of hard questions
- Identify target audiences (and potential audiences), as well as their attributes and needs
- Develop messages and a brand story to convey what those audiences need to see and hear
- Demonstrate a company’s expertise, thought leadership and position in the market
- Help grow the business
- Sell products or services
- Protect the reputation of the business
Keep in mind that a public relations message may not necessarily make a good Tweet or maximize SEO, but that is where your creatives and tactical specialists come into play. Content developed through the public relations function is adaptable to any social media channel and leads to the other relevant communications that B2B customers crave. Why? PR content is built with depth – the mission, foundation and key elements of the organization – not just a catchy phrase or a metatag.
Generating content in this manner engages employees, too – employees who help carry your brand messages to your current B2B customers and potential customers. And it creates an important byproduct: It helps you listen to your customers. Listening will help you satisfy customer needs and build long-lasting relationships. An additional bonus of listening is it provides access to a pipeline of competitive information to help you innovate, adapt and grow – a pipeline your competitors would love to have.
One of our clients described it best. Upon calling us in to help with a new product, she said public relations and its content development is mission critical to her company. “It ties our values, customer service, advertising, sales and internal communications together,” she said. “It is the difference maker.”
How often have we heard “we need to communicate better”? Viewing content from a public relations perspective helps you communicate better with your B2B customers and at all levels of your organization. Let it be the difference maker for you.