As you know, B2B PR is not nearly as simple as its consumer counterpart.
There are so many factors to consider when it comes to pitching a credible media outlet that your audience actually cares about – which means the stakes are much higher than just getting your name out there.
But that’s also why it can be so rewarding when you have a PR agency helping you along the way.
The trick is finding the right fit for your business. So, before you hire an agency to help promote your business, here are three questions to ask yourself first:
1. What areas of my company does this PR firm specialize in?
Hiring a generalist B2B PR agency might result in costly trial and error tactics instead of valuable, long-term results – which means you’ll spend more time and resources working with them to see what’s best. Of course, that could be fine if they’re offering valuable insight into your marketing efforts without charge… however most B2 firms will not do this (but there are a few of them out there, so keep looking).
So, be sure to ask what areas your prospective agency specializes in. If they cover B2B PR and marketing, talk with them about their tactics for promoting specific types of businesses. More than likely you’ll get better results this way – and the goal is always to get the most bang for your buck.
If you’re unsure on whether or not an agency specializes in your industry, feel free to send them a list of questions that will help you determine if they’d be a good fit.
2. How long have they been in business?
Experience is key when it comes to any professional service – especially in a fast-paced, competitive industry like public relations . As you know, there are plenty of PR startups out there. Some do great work for their clients, but many don’t have the resources to thrive in an already clogged space. PR is by no means easy work, but it’s also not rocket science.
It’s important that your firm knows what they’re doing before you hire them – otherwise, you may find yourself working with a company that doesn’t know how to pitch your business to the right audience. And without experience and proper knowledge, even the most talented agency won’t be able to help your B2B brand like eWorldtrade reach its full potential.
3. Do I like this person? Seriously, do I like this person?
Ok… so this is not exactly something you expect to ask yourself when shopping for a PR agency, but you’d be surprised how much of an impact your relationship with the person pitching your story could have on results. This is not to say that agencies with people you can’t stand won’t do good work. It just means that if they’re not able to convince you as well as their tactics suggest they should, you’ll probably find it difficult to create the traction needed to take your company up a notch.
4. Do they understand the B2B audience?
As I mentioned earlier, B2B PR has more moving parts to it than traditional public relations. Not only do you have to think about what story angle would be most valuable for the publication’s readership, but now you also have to make sure that targeting those writers will drive traffic back to your company’s website.
The agency you are considering hiring should have an intimate understanding of not only what makes a great B2B story, but also how to target the right media outlets for your campaign.
I typically recommend my clients start by reading about the publications they are targeting. If they care enough to write about it, odds are there is some type of readership or following that will be interested in their product or service.
It’s important to make sure your agency understands this before moving forward with any pitching strategy – especially if you are only investing a small amount into the campaign initially (which is recommended).
5. Can they provide references?
If you’re already working with an agency, now is the time to ask for more details on their previous work. If they aren’t able to provide you with at least one solid reference, it might be in your best interest to go in another direction.
Ideally, they should already have a list of clients they’ve worked with in the past that are happy to chat about their experience working with them. This may not always be possible (especially if you’re just starting out), but still trust your gut when it comes to deciding whom you want on your team moving forward.
6. Use social media as a litmus test!
It’s also important for me to say that there is no better way to get a feel for an agency’s knowledge of B2B PR than actually spending some time on their social feeds and website pages.
If they are great at B2B PR, the most recent stories on their website will be targeted to your industry. They should also have a strong social media presence with content that is representative of your business’s goals and guest posts from colleagues in the industry.
These are just three things to consider when looking for an agency to help you with your B2B PR. And of course, I’m always available if there is ever something specific you’d like to chat about!