As companies in the industrial sector look for ways to win new customers – and keep the loyal customers they have – they need to find ways to stay top of mind in a competitive landscape.
Public relations can help manufacturers achieve this goal. How, you may ask?
A well-developed PR effort reaches the desired audience in one or more of these ways:
- It educates: Public relations educates the audience about what your company does and why it matters. It can also educate the market about a new product or solution.
- It builds a favorable image and reputation: PR can help a company build a strong reputation through thought leadership. It lends credibility to the brand.
- It increases awareness and visibility: It makes potential customers aware that your brand exists and with consistent effort, increases visibility and shows momentum.
- It generates interest: PR creates not only awareness but interest. It can help draw customers in to learn more and even help with recruiting by attracting better job candidates.
When used in tandem with its counterparts content marketing and social media, it can deliver powerful results that can be leveraged throughout a brand’s overall marketing efforts.
Here are some examples of how to incorporate public relations into your marketing:
1) Case studies and success stories: A public relations program can help you leverage one of your most valuable assets – your customers.
For example, writing a case study or success story about how a customer used your product to save time and money is one of the best ways to illustrate to a prospect why they should buy. Seventy-three percent of B2B buyers said they rely on case studies to make purchasing decisions.
2) Trade shows: If you attend trade shows, why not max out the benefit by meeting with editors who are also in attendance?
Set up meetings with them ahead of the event. When they come by your booth, tell them about what’s new and what you have coming up. This helps build a relationship that continues to deliver benefits long after the trade show concludes.
They may call on you to be a source for future articles and will be more receptive when you contact them to cover a new product launch or pitch an idea for a contributed article.
3) Thought leadership: Another way industrial companies can leverage PR is through contributed articles and guest posts.
Trade publications are looking for content to fill each issue. With shrinking editorial staffs, they can’t possibly write every story themselves. They look to outside contributors to help fill the pages. Companies who pitch trend stories they can write can position themselves as industry thought leaders.
Once the story is published, it can be leveraged in other ways. It can be shared across social media, posted on the company’s web site, shared with prospects and customers through a newsletter and so on.
4) Press releases: Are you writing press releases when you announce a new product or service? Press releases are another multipurpose tool that can be leveraged in a variety of ways.
Reporters at trade publications use press releases in “New Product” sections. The release can also be shared via wire service, if desired, to further spread the word. Be sure to include an eye-catching, high-resolution photo as this will make your news more attractive to editors and their readers.
Before you start a PR effort, follow this advice.
So you’re convinced a public relations push can work for your brand. What should you do before you begin?
- Be clear about what the goals are: What are you looking to accomplish through PR? Is it more traffic to your web site? Increased visibility in a particular industry sector? Do you want to position yourself as a thought leader on a certain topic? If you know what you’re trying to achieve through public relations, it will be easier to measure the results and gauge the success of the effort. Then, you can decide if you want to stay the course or try something new.
- Prioritize the goals: you can’t focus on everything at once, so think about what your goals are for the near-term and choose public relations approaches that can help you score some early wins while setting you up for success in an ongoing program.
- Hire help if you need it: Do you have someone in-house who can tackle a public relations push? If your marketing department is tapped out, you can always bring on a consultant or small agency if your budget allows. Just be sure it’s someone who has experience working with industrial and manufacturing companies.
- Be in it for the long haul: Know that it may not happen overnight. If you embark on a PR effort today, it may not yield immediate results—and that’s OK. If your expectations are set accordingly, you’ll know that it can take three to six months to show results.