Looking for a b2b PR agency? Here are our hints and tips....
Here is our guide for b2b companies on how to take those essential first steps into working with a PR agency, what the potential benefits could be and a few tricks of the trade…
Tip One Delegate responsibility for marketing to someone within the organisation who has the time to be a dedicated contact for your PR agency
It’s important that when you appoint a PR agency they have a dedicated point of contact, someone they can meet with regularly and who can help to get press releases and articles approved. This person will have that all important in-house knowledge of what is happening at the company and will provide a vital link between client and agency. A PR campaign is most effective when an agency can get content approved quickly to meet magazine deadlines. Also, having a dedicated person in-house ensures that you are maximising the output of your PR agency and meeting set objectives.
Tip two. Choose your agency carefully and look for those with b2b experience in construction or manufacturing
It is really important when businesses are reviewing PR agencies that they look for one with relevant sector experience. The agency should have established relationships with trade press editors in order to be able to make a difference quickly. An agency like Dragonfly PR that has expertise, for example, in writing thought leadership articles on the subject of, for example, Building Regulations, sustainability, health and safety or asset management, can hit the ground running. It makes sense to choose an agency that has experience of securing articles in the trade press - it means they truly understand the magazine’s writing style and have the contacts to be able to generate a result. This means less time for the client in briefing the agency, less time re-drafting or approving articles and ultimately a better quality of article that the magazine will want to run.
Tip three Invite to tender, but restrict the list
It’s important to invite three agencies to tender, but it’s a waste of time for both parties to invite more than this to pitch. b2b companies can save themselves time by doing research on the agency, the type of clients they have and the results they have achieved. That way, it’s reducing the risk of working with an agency which may not have the right experience or approach anyway.
Tip four Appoint someone quickly and give them at least six months to prove themselves
The best approach when appointing an agency is to do it quickly, but give them a fair run (eg six months) to prove themselves before embarking on a longer term contract. Be aware that results are not instantaneous as some of the b2b magazines have 2-3 months lead times. However, as much of the content we generate now appears online, you should start seeing results pretty quickly. By giving the agency an initial six months to prove themselves, it means they have the chance to generate and evaluate media coverage and social media engagements and really make a difference to your business.
Tip five Be clear in your brief what the objectives and expectations are
It’s really important to write a clear brief, where you state exactly what the objectives of the project are and what criteria you will be using to judge the PR campaign’s success. Make sure the brief defines target markets and short term and long term future goals. If you are concerned about revealing details of new innovations, it is standard practice to include a non-disclosure agreement if you need to share any commercial sensitive information, agencies are used to signing and agreeing to these.
It’s much better to be clear and transparent with your potential PR partner about your objectives are and what success will look like.
Tip six Don’t be afraid of social media
The number of b2b companies that are not yet into social media is falling rapidly. Most manufacturers and construction companies recognise the value it can potentially bring to their businesses. Working with a PR agency that has digital marketing experience means the agency can take a lead on social media and put together a content calendar with key themes that links back to the PR campaign.
Tip seven Choose an agency within one hours’ drive.
Having regular face-to-face meetings with their PR agencies is still very important for many companies. Often with PR campaigns, the agency needs to interview members of staff, such as technical managers or to take editors on factory tours of a facility. If you choose to work with an agency a couple of hours away, for example in London, then it is likely that they will charge you for travel, transport and expenses, to cover costs. It makes sense to work with a company that is based within an hour’s drive of your business, that way they can easily reach you to meet members of the team or to cover an event or activity or take photos, without incurring unnecessary expense.
Tip eight Ask the agency to review activity regularly and report back monthly
It is a good idea to ask your PR agency to review the results achieved on a six monthly basis, this includes media coverage gained, social media engagements, increase in followers or likes and evaluation of media awareness. Whatever the outcomes you require, by having a six monthly review of activity keeps both client and agency on track to ensure they are working towards meeting all business objectives. At the end of each month, you should also expect to receive a report containing a list of activities completed that month, press cuttings and a breakdown of the value of media coverage secured.
Tip nine Ensure the agency can write technical, thought leadership articles
A good idea when you are faced with choosing from a couple of agencies with similar experience is to give them a technical article to write. This will give the agency the chance to demonstrate their expertise in generating original, authentic content that a magazine will run. It is important to select an agency that demonstrates a writing style and understanding of your industry sector, enabling them to negotiate articles into key trade magazines
once they have been appointed.
Tip ten Choose a PR agency that works to a plan
In the manufacturing and construction sector, there may not be case studies and new product launches to talk about every month, therefore the agency needs to work proactively to a plan. The agency should formulate this plan at the outset and keep it regularly updated with results achieved. This could contain such activities as editorial features in key magazines, social media themes for the content calendar, potential press releases, seasonal campaigns, such as competitions and e-newsletters. This can provide a working document to be reviewed at monthly meetings. That way, you can be sure that activity is progress and results are being achieved.
Finally, it’s good practice to ask a PR agency for a couple of references from similar b2b companies. If it is a good quality, credible PR agency then they should have longstanding relationships with clients and giving you references should not be a problem.
For more details of Dragonfly PR, a PR company that specialises in working with b2b companies, particularly in construction and manufacturing, please call us on 01709 300130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org