“Story excavation” – unearthing content for powerful B2B PR

by Alexandra Williams, iHC

As an integrated communications agency, we’re big believers in the power of a strong story. Our monthly PR activity for clients is often built around a main story or angle we’ll push through media, influencer, social and digital channels. It’s often these stories that elevate our clients above their competition.

While PR works for all types and sizes of organisation, we find Business-to-Business organisations can often benefit most from PR. It’s even more effective if a business is doing something fresh, interesting and exciting in the market. We have clients in the Construction, Engineering and Technical industries who get doors opened, added to tenders and win multi-million dollar contracts from articles and thought leadership pieces we create, get published and then push out for them.

I use this analogy when explaining the value of PR: what’s the point in having a stunning Rolls-Royce showroom, in the middle of the desert, if there’s no map to take buyers there?

How can you expect to drive revenue if your consumers don’t know you exist, how to find you and what you sell?

What’s your online legacy?

A strong story can appear in print and on the website of publications read by your industry and potential customers. The social media feeds of that media will share your news, often to huge audiences. Online news massively boosts your SEO and online presence.

You have the opportunity to share this valuable content on your website, then through your social media channels to your own audience, then to a new audience through targeted online advertising.

The brand awareness, credibility and online legacy you have created can be the difference between drifting into obscurity or landing that big project. It takes your organisation quickly to a higher level.

Dig out that golden nugget

This line of PR can bring its own set of challenges. There’s often the view that there ‘isn’t much to talk about’. This can be a common misconception among busy executives.

As PR professionals, the people we’re speaking with (or interviewing for content) are nearly always in senior roles and time short. They rarely have the headspace to take a step back and consider all the important and interesting work they’re doing. This work is often newsworthy for their target audience – and a wider business audience.

A good PR is highly skilled at digging out the golden nugget. They turn a conversation into precious stories that can engage an audience and disseminate a large number of important key messages about the company along the way.

Find your voice

Businesses can’t be expected to know what’s interesting about themselves or what the media will want to hear about. PRs marry the key messages and reputations of businesses with what their target audience, and therefore media, is interested in. This enables a direct route to market.

The best trick for sourcing the strongest news stories is to compartmentalise the different ‘voices’ the story would take. Most news topics fit into three distinct categories or voices: Industry, Corporate and Product/Service.

Industry voice is concerned with the industry as a whole, whether it’s an opinion, commentary and predictions, or research and statistics that will be of interest to a broad range of media and readers. Example client Industry Voice piece

Corporate voice covers stories about the organization itself, whether it’s a senior appointment, plans for expansion, annual returns or project wins. These can be of particular interest to trade media and an audience within the specific industry sector. They can also appeal to a broader audience if the news is big enough. Example client Corporate Voice piece

Product/service voice is often about the products and services of an organization. It can be a tougher sell to media, so the key commercial messages often need to be hidden amidst a topic or piece of content that provides value to the reader. Example client Product Voice piece

Profiles and features

On occasions when there are quieter months, we can generate a topical feature angle to ensure consistency of messaging and new audiences continuously reached. Example client Feature piece.

The best ambassadors for organizations are usually their people, so never underestimate the power of profile articles. They give the option for experts within the company to speak with authority as thought leaders in the market. Example client Profile piece.

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