B2B Public Relations Is Evolving Too Slowly
Why is B2B PR so slow to innovate?
I've seen the lion's share of B2B public relations agencies and freelancers skip mandatory strategic work. Instead, they go right to pitching within days or a week of signing a client without asking clients the hard questions.
This serious dilemma happens for 1 of 3 reasons:
"That's the client's responsibility." - PR pros
PR agencies aren't set up for this work
Clients want to skip these vital steps
B2B PR pros are failing clients—and one another—by skipping the necessary work. As an industry, we must leap into the trenches with our clients.
The Mandatory Stuff
What’s the required work B2B PR pros must complete?
I'm talking about positioning, narrative, messaging, competitive analysis, creating channel plans and actionable personas with qualitative data collected during customer interviews, and much more.
Sometimes PR pros offer one or two of the above but it’s rarely B2B messaging. Normally it's competitive analysis, which usually ends up being a lengthy doc with links to news releases and bylines from two to three competitors. Yup, I've seen these unenlightening docs go to marketing leads and CEOs that someone on Fiverr could've done.
Why don't B2B PR pros listen to Gong calls to hear what customers’ needs and challenges are?
Why don't all B2B PR pros request ICPs of clients so they know who they're targeting?
Why don't B2B PR pros know what Gong calls are?!
There are two explanations:
Few B2B PR pros know the objectives of their client's businesses
Too many PR pros have been trained to be tactical thinkers, not strategic thinkers
How can a B2B PR agency or freelancer speak the language of their client's customers if they don't know the words and phrases used by customers? That's where strategy comes in.
And when PR pros point to what's changed in the last decade, saying "we're ghostwriting for executives using LinkedIn" was an answer in 2016.
B2B PR must innovate. Fast.
How do you feel? Do you think B2B PR is maturing fast enough? I’d like to carry this conversation in email with many of you, so please reach out.
Ugh, this. I actually work much more in B2C vs. B2B but the issue is the same....agencies are often afraid to ask the hard questions and do the upfront work necessary to be successful. I think they often get pressured by clients to get tactical (and get results) too quickly and while I respect the fact that we need to prove our worth and justify the cost of the investment, this is where I see major outages in PR programs. And if clients resist this part of the program...that's a red flag to me.