Public relations (PR) for business-to-business (B2B), particularly B2B tech PR requires some finesse. B2B companies don’t sell the same products and services as other businesses, such as enterprise software and logistics systems. They also don’t often have high-profile features and headlines.
It’s important for tech companies to be at the forefront of technology. This is true for both how they are represented and what they produce. What is it that differentiates a great agency from a bad one? Why is it important for your tech brand to look for an agency that specializes within your niche?
These are some guidelines to help you choose the right agency. These were cultivated over six years of experience as an agency leader, consultant, and in-house marketer.
1. A good agency goes beyond traditional PR
Today, there are many PR opportunities available for tech companies. Only a handful of them requires traditional media placements. Your brand could host an Ask me Anything Reddit Campaign, run a Product Hunt Campaign or have a fireside chat on LinkedIn. You can also appear on a Clubhouse panel.
Your B2B PR agency should look beyond the traditional quote in an article. However, these are an important part of getting your brand noticed. This is why tech startups have increased by 47% over the past decade. Creativity and perseverance are key to making your voice heard in the noise.
You should also find an agency that understands your product well enough to be able to simplify it for the readers. It is often a skill that is learned from experience. An agency that is well-respected will have clients who are interested in AI, blockchain, and other cutting-edge technologies.
2. They have cultivated genuine press relationships
You should look for agencies that have Tier 1 relationships. You can’t get press coverage without a strong hook or story. However, it is important to find an agency that has a history of getting editors to read pitches. A PR company that pitches to 1,000 contacts won’t be as helpful as one that pitches to 10 warms, or even hot, press connections.
This is because journalists are constantly bombarded with pitches, and many of these have great potential for story development. How does a journalist decide which stories to focus on? They often look to people they trust who have helped them in the past. These sources are usually PR firms that have experience working with journalists.
B2B companies complain that they cannot land Tier 1 publications while they can get industry publications. It is important to be creative when choosing an agency that will invest in these relationships.
3. They are open to sharing their results and case studies
One of the key differences between a great PR agency and one that is good is one that is able to understand today’s online environment and how brands are growing.
Is their CEO a headline-maker? Are they good at content marketing? Are they able to demonstrate thought leadership and have a good understanding of content marketing? Do they feel comfortable sharing case studies and key performance indicators?
Shama Hyder, Zen Media, was a mentor to me on my PR journey. Hyder is transparent and focused on providing public value. This has earned him a huge following.
Also read: Top 10 Digital Branding Agencies in 2021
Zen Media’s blog, for example, has content dating back to 2009. It often highlights tips, client case studies, and overviews Haider’s industry highlights and media appearances. Hyder has over 640,000 LinkedIn fans, making him a leading B2B PR expert. The effort to create genuine content that educates provides value and reflects an agency’s philosophy is perhaps more important than the numbers.
It doesn’t matter how you think about marketing, sales, or PR. Hyder states that it doesn’t matter what you believe, but only what works. Post-purchase research is more important than ever for B2B buyers. They purchase, then need assurance that they made the right choice.
While PR is beneficial for all brands, it’s more important for tech-driven B2B companies. Customers may not believe what you have to say about your brand. However, they trust reliable third-party sources like the media. You should not only look for PR expertise but also someone who is open to sharing their past experiences with similar companies.