Measurable PR and Marketing


Setting your B2B PR campaign objectives

Setting your B2B PR campaign objectives

Setting your B2B PR campaign objectives

The decisions made at the outset of your PR campaigns are often those that echo the loudest down the line.

The first steps to planning your PR campaign should involve setting clear goals and objectives, tied in to specific business objectives, or at the very least, be the classic PR goals of shaping public perception of your brand and managing your reputation.

For example, your PR campaigns might have the aim of:

  • Promoting a new product
  • Raising brand awareness to attract more leads
  • Encouraging audience engagement
  • Demonstrating the value of your product or service

Setting these overarching goals gives your campaign long-term vision, and distilling these goals into clear objectives gives you a clear roadmap for how, where, and when you need to achieve these goals.

As Peter Drucker’s famous SMART mnemonic spells out, the strongest objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-specific.

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How to set SMART PR objectives

Be Specific

When defining your objectives, make sure they’re as specific as possible. If your goal is to raise brand awareness, for instance, your objectives should include specific steps towards reaching that goal, such as:

  • Strengthening your brand
  • Securing a set number of media coverage articles in target publications
  • Creating a set of buyer personas that clearly reflect your target market.

Each objective can then be distilled further into tactics used to pursue these objectives.

For example, strengthening a brand might mean conducting a brand asset audit, and securing media coverage is likely to require assessing the media landscape to identify the outlets most favoured by your target audience.

Ensure that your objectives are Measurable

Laying out measurable objectives means the results of your efforts can be quantified. This proves the value of the PR campaign and ultimately links efforts back to the bottom line.

Measurable objectives typically include specific numbers or key performance indicators (KPIs) that are used to benchmark progress at each stage of the campaign. Some of these KPIs might include:

  • Reach estimates the number of unique people who see and engage with your campaign. This helps you determine if your campaign is reaching enough people and whether this audience is your target market. This KPI can be accurately measured with distribution statistics in paper media, and analytics across the internet and social media.
  • Traditional media coverage can be measured by the number of press clippings, or the number of thought leadership articles secured in target publications.
  • Social media engagement can be measured in terms of comments, likes, and shares, that reflect how well your posts are doing on social media.
  • Web traffic, impressions, and time-on-page metrics reflect rising interest, suggesting that your target audience is keen to find out more about your company.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Although PR efforts are often thought to be qualitative with the results difficult to measure, PR campaigns that have achieved their goals can often be traced back to a boosted bottom line.
Setting PR campaign objectives with military precision and flair
Choose Achievable objectives

Sustaining momentum through a PR campaign often depends on how realistic your goals are.

To determine how achievable your objectives are and prevent yourself from getting stuck halfway, carefully weigh them against the following conditions:

  • Available resources: PR Campaigns require revenue and manpower to come to fruition. Outlays are likely to include analytical and media outreach tools, and the salaries of professionals. If you’re running a paid campaign on Google, for instance, you might need to pay for ad space, copywriting, and specialist help.
  • Time frame: Successful PR efforts are likely to extend over a series of months or years, with a succession of milestones marking key results. A realistic assessment of these milestones at the outset help you stay on track.
Make sure your objectives are Relevant

Your PR campaign objectives should be fully aligned with the specific business and marketing goals you’re trying to achieve. Otherwise, they might be successfully achieved from a PR perspective, but have no impact on the business— defeating the ultimate purpose.

5 Be Time Specific

Objectives should be fixed within a specific time frame and agreed with all stakeholders.

This is important to not only create a practical sense of urgency that will help push the campaign forward, but also to align with business objectives.

A product launch, for example, will have specific dates and deadlines for conducting market research, creating a positioning statement with clear messaging, and deploying the right media pieces in a promotional campaign.

Meanwhile, a lead generation campaign will require careful planning to sync-up with the plans of sales and marketing and effectively draw prospects in over a specified time period.

Setting PR Campaign Objectives overarching framework

Setting clear overarching goals and using the tried-and-tested SMART framework is one of the first steps in planning and executing a successful PR campaign.   After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, then how will you know when you get there?

For more guidance and tips on how to plan a successful PR campaign, see our post here.

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our complete guide: B2B PR Campaign Planning

READ this Tech PR case study: Shining a light on Pacer Optoelectronics

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The vital role of PR in Sales

The vital role of PR in Sales

The vital role of PR in Sales

Let’s examine the role of PR in Sales

A well-executed PR campaign plays into all stages of your customer’s journey—putting more leads in your pipeline, nurturing your prospects as they move down through the funnel, and building enough trust to seal the deal.

In this way, PR campaigns can help your salespeople to convert more leads into prospects and more prospects into conversions, therefore boosting the bottom line – just like advertising, direct outreach, and other marketing campaigns that are often more directly linked to conversions.

PR broadens your reach

There’s no doubt about it; the brand awareness buzz that good PR creates can help you capture more leads.

Carefully selected placements and media mentions ignite conversations that help boost your presence in the real world. These help create high-value backlinks and referral traffic, to improve your rankings in the search results – putting your brand firmly on the map.

This boosted presence in the marketplace, ultimately translates to more leads entering the top of your sales funnel—and not just any leads, but leads that are well-acquainted with your brand, and already have a level of familiarity with your product or service.

celebrating the brand awareness buzz from good PR

PR helps position your brand

A well-executed PR campaign can attract more ideal prospects by perfectly positioning your brand in the marketplace.

Whatever the qualities that make up your brand identity—from the cool sophistication of Apple, to the visionary courage of Tesla—a good PR campaign can showcase those qualities, demonstrating to your target audience that your product or service has the characteristics needed to solve their specific problem.

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PR shapes your brand story

Among other media strategies, placements in carefully selected publications can evoke these qualities by creating a strong narrative. The power of stories was illustrated in an experiment by Stanford professor Chip Heath, who asked students to give one minute speeches containing three statistics and one story. Afterwards, only five percent of listeners recalled the statistics, while more than sixty percent remembered the stories.

Whether your story is one celebrating your achievements—commercial or otherwise—or promoting your culture and purpose, narratives can hit emotions that resonate amidst endless noise. The strength of this emotional association is what helps you remain top of mind, on their consideration list, and build a reputation that keeps your customers coming back to your brand, instead of your competitors.

In this way, exposure in the right places doesn’t just draw more leads into the top of your funnel, but they trickle down through the sales process, ensuring prospects are receptive to your brand, and likely to trust you enough to feel good about working with you, as opposed to your competitor.

effective PR helps build trust

PR builds trust

Trust in institutions—including businesses, government, and the media—is at a low ebb, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. This erosion of trust is particularly noticeable in the tech industry, where the pace of change has become so fast that many feel left behind—waiting for their jobs to be replaced by automated bots or AI.

PR can help overcome this lack of trust

by creating a strong relationship with customers through what infamous Psychology and Marketing professor Robert Cialdini calls pre-suasion:

“The process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. Strategically guiding preliminary attention, to move prospects into an agreement with the marketing message before they ever experience it.”

While B2B PR blogs can help to establish authority, and paid placements in established publications can demonstrate your credibility, appearing in the editorial section of a magazine or newspaper is the gold standard for building trust. Because these articles have been independently endorsed by a trusted third party, their credibility runs deeper than blogs, paid placements or advertisements, helping you to build a great brand reputation and win real lasting trust with your audience.

PR helps overcome customer objections

At the end of a customer’s journey, unforeseen objections can suddenly arise that are guaranteed to make a new salesperson sweat. A robust, strategically planned PR campaign can anticipate and address these customer objections before they are presented—making the life of a salesman a little easier.

According to research from DemandGen, 41 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before even engaging with a salesperson.

Content published on your owned channels, such as social media and website can help overcome common sales objections, including hesitancy over pricing and misunderstanding of benefits.

More effective however, is third-party content.

A study conducted by Nielsen in 2014 revealed that third-party “expert content ” was even more effective at lifting purchase considerations than user reviews, with PR boosting familiarity significantly more than branded content.

“On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content and 50 percent more than user reviews; they lifted affinity 50 percent more than branded content and 20 percent more than user reviews.”

By tying this type of content into your sales process, through links in emails or social media, the strength of ‘expert content’ can be fully capitalised on, to help avoid last-minute complications, overcome objections, and reinforce the customer’s buying decision.

So, to summarise; from bringing more primed leads into the top of the funnel, to building trust and overcoming sales objections, a solid PR strategy and campaign plan can make life easier for your sales teams, directly boosting your bottom line and having a positive impact on your brand reputation.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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Download our ultimate guide: Your 8-step communication strategy

READ this related post: B2B Content and B2B PR…and why you need a strategy for both

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PR in Sales: We have won new business because of our communication strategy
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What B2B Public Relations can do for you and your company

What B2B Public Relations can do for you and your company

What B2B Public Relations can do for you and your company

Public Relations (PR) is a key component of the full marketing mix, and as part of your overall communications strategy, it’s instrumental in driving brand awareness, recognition, and consideration – ultimately guiding more leads and conversions, whilst contributing to the overall growth of your business.

This article will help you to understand how PR can benefit your company and why you should pay for expert PR advice.

How does PR benefit your company?

PR builds a compelling relationship between your brand and your target audience before your audience even enters the buying cycle. This relationship is developed over time, built on trust, and delivered through endorsement from independent, authoritative, sector experts.

PR is the proactive management of everything you say and everything you do, in order to positively impact the way you’re perceived by your target audience. This ‘Third party, high value coverage’ provides awareness, recognition, and accolades in those media channels which you don’t own. These third-party endorsements are from highly respected and influential sources and provide credibility and authority for your brand.

Media endorsement in b2b is the equivalent of celebrity endorsement in b2c 

Filling your sales funnel

As a marketeer, it’s your job to attract and nurture potential customers, meaning you need to generate brand awareness amongst your target audience, and nurture them until they are ready to consider purchasing your goods and services. The key principles of any good PR strategy are to make you visible, valued and understood; delivered as part of a comprehensive communication strategy to drive consistency and impact. The outcome of that activity should provide you with a densely populated top of funnel. This is how PR benefits your business and increases the impact of your marketing.

public relations helps fils your sale funnel
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A brand with authority and influence

An effective PR programme should be designed to ensure that you are regularly interviewed by respected editors, achieving recognition in influential third-party media, and being invited to contribute insight to authoritative industry reports.  By becoming an integral and respected part of the fabric of your industry, you influence the shape and direction of discussions, while acquiring authority and influence – which will ultimately attract better-quality prospects into your funnel. This structure, discipline and proactivity is what you pay for when you outsource your PR to experts.

 

public relations is shines a light on your brand

A visible and dynamic force in your industry

Being visible means you are findable and accessible, and that you have a high media profile in the right industry titles, so that your target audience is exposed to you, whether that’s actively or passively. High visibility means regular and diverse formats, i.e. a given story or opinion is ‘sweated’ so that every ounce of potential opportunity is squeezed from it.  ‘Sweating’ your stories means that once it’s appeared in the press, it can then be re-formatted and presented in multiple forms and pushed out through paid and owned channels – ensuring your asset has been fully optimised.  The impact of this is that you command a greater and more influential share of voice – pushing your competitors into the shadows.

 

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Articulating a clear competitive advantage

Being valued means putting your customer at the heart of everything you say and do, in order to engage with them in a way that is both relevant and persuasive.  It’s not possible to be valued if you’re irrelevant to a person’s wants or needs.  To engage and achieve desirability, you need to develop a compelling messaging strategy as part of your communication plan and weave that into everything you create. If you approach your PR in this way, you will have a golden thread of narrative that ensures you are both clearly differentiated from, and superior to, any of your competitors claims.

Many clients operate in unique and complex markets, especially industries such as engineering, science, and technology.   The PR expertise required in these industries is in translating their complex solutions and achievements into interesting and engaging articles and news, so that their target audiences can understand your proposition, align with your brand and applaud your achievements.

Engineers, scientists, and technologists deliver our quality of life, keep us safe and will one day save the world – there is a real pleasure in translating their achievements to ensure they are fully understood.

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our essential guide: Your 8-step Communication Strategy

READ this Tech PR case study: How 2i found its voice – 18 Benefits from a communication strategy

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

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10 Business Benefits of B2B PR

10 Business Benefits of B2B PR

10 Business Benefits of B2B PR

One of the key questions we often hear is along the lines of “Why do I need to do PR?” or “What will PR do for my business?” and the reality is that there are so many benefits of PR, the list is endless, but we want to focus on the main PR benefits and so we’ve highlighted the top 10 reasons your brand should have a PR strategy.

Depending on what stage of maturity your company has reached, you’ll have different business challenges, priorities, and drivers.  PR can be used to help you address a wide range of specific business  and marketing objectives.

Always aligned to your company’s vision, mission and goals, PR is ever present and supremely agile.

Here are our 10 key reasons why your company should do PR as part of your comms plan.

10 reasons your needs PR infographic

How your business will benefit from PR

Enhanced lead generation:

PR complements your marketing initiatives by showcasing your successes in editorial case studies. It keeps you visible as prospects move through the buying cycle and into the sales funnel. And, PR provides the added benefit of providing independent third-party endorsement.

Improved stakeholder insight:

The process of developing your communication strategy and PR outreach brings you closer to your customers.  Engaging with customers to understand their buying methodology and rationale to develop articles provides valuable, actionable insight into customer behaviour.

Compelling messaging:

Effective PR requires relevant messaging at each stage of the buying cycle.  The strength of the messaging is evaluated against the quality of the supporting evidence and relevance to your target audience.

Re-energised staff:

Targeted PR which is integrated with change programmes can mobilise workforces by giving them a sense of purpose, community, and boost in morale.

"We are clearly differentiated, more engaged and showing the best version of ourselves to the world"

Clarity of purpose:

In order to be effective, PR needs clearly defined SMART goals.  The process of developing and executing these goals results in clarity of vision, purpose, and communications.

Invigorated sales team:

B2B PR will help build the morale of sales teams.  Seeing your brand receiving recognition in the media through press coverage for new business wins etc., instils pride and purpose.

Crisis mitigation:

A strong brand promotes loyalty which can help a brand survive a challenging trading environment. Crisis planning conducted during ‘business as usual’, will help you to identify potential areas of weakness which you can redress before any crisis hits. 

pr benefits working at home
Thought Leadership:

Every business has something unique about it or it would never have been brought into existence.  Someone somewhere thought there was a gap in the market your company could fill. PR will help you harness your thought leadership with insight that informs, inspires, challenges, and engages your target audience.

Brand Awareness:

PR builds a compelling relationship between your brand and your target audience – before your audience even enters the buying cycle. The key principles of any good PR strategy are to make you visible, valued and understood; delivered as part of a comprehensive communication strategy to drive consistency and impact. The outcome of which will provide you with a densely populated top of funnel.

Increased Impact:

By integrating your PR across all your marketing communications, you leverage your investment and increase impact. Every message delivered becomes a building block, creating layer upon layer of customer engagement, making the whole worth much more than the sum of its parts, in one cohesive, compelling brand.

So, we can see that there are many powerful and persuasive reasons to do PR –  especially when you consider that whether you choose to act or not, your reputation still exists out there in the market. Your job is to decide if you want to manage and cultivate your reputation, or leave it to chance.

So, when you ask yourself: ‘why do I need PR’ or ‘Is PR important’ follow it up with the question: ‘Does my company reputation matter?’. Your answer will tell you all you need to know.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our guide Your 8-Step Communication Strategy

READ this awesome Tech PR case study: 2i Testing

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to receive regular insights on how to make your PR work harder.

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.
10 reasons your brand needs PR
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How to justify the business cost of B2B PR

How to justify the business cost of B2B PR

How to justify the business cost of B2B PR

Building a pipeline of potential and future customers (opportunities).

How do prospects get to know, like and trust you – it’s through brand building and brand awareness. This is the job of public relations. Getting people into your funnel and keeping them warm, until they are ready to purchase from you. Fill your funnel and proactively manage your reputation, then when they are ready to purchase, they will be more likely to buy from you.

If you’ve ever been asked to justify the business cost of public relations, how it impacts the bottom line of your business, or whether PR helps drive company sales, then this blog should help you respond.

PR contributes to your entire sales funnel

Because PR is concerned with building relationships and creating trust, a comprehensive PR strategy not only creates new leads for your business, but also moves potential customers through your entire sales funnel; engaging and nurturing until they eventually become paying customers.

Your PR will be informed by your communication strategy which will detail the key messages for each stage of your customer’s buying cycle. Your public relations partner will deliver narrative that aligns with, and promotes these key messages in the media, while delivering the added benefit of independent third-party endorsement. This helps your audience to travel through each stage of the buying cycle, gradually moving down your funnel and generating a solid pipeline of future customers for your business.

 

“Proactively managing your top of funnel brand awareness and your middle-funnel engagement, means that you’re directly and positively influencing the number of sales and conversions for your business.”

Investing in PR grows brand awareness

PR generates brand awareness

PR is well-known for creating awareness for a business and is often simply viewed as a ‘top-of-funnel’ tool, but PR, especially B2B PR, is much more valuable than that. PR builds your brand and shapes the perception of your brand within your industry. A well written and well-placed piece of content, such as some editorial or thought leadership, helps increase awareness of your business amongst your target audience – but there’s a lot of PR work to do before a potential customer is anywhere close to making a purchase from you.

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PR engages and persuades

No-one would buy your products or services if they didn’t like you, have trust in you or believe what you say. Research suggests that a typical conversion requires at least 7 – 10 prior interactions with a brand, meaning your leads need to be nurtured in order to become familiar with you. Engaging, nurturing and persuading requires a strategic and holistic (not a scatter gun) public relations approach, allowing you to inform, educate and persuade them. All of which encourages and nudges them down your funnel, leading them closer to a purchase.

pr grows your sales funnel business high rise

 

“PR provides you with independent validation; you cannot put a value on third party endorsement in terms of credibility.”

 

PR converts leads into customers

Nothing beats the credibility of a third-party endorsement for your business, and reliable, third party coverage is critical in the decision-making process of your potential customers. Authoritative and insightful PR content, delivered by credible experts, helps build trust and moves your leads further down your funnel, providing a higher likelihood of them converting into a customer.

By implementing a solid PR comms strategy, you’re actively taking responsibility for increasing those business leads and encouraging them through the various stages of consideration and purchase.  The conversion of more leads into customers ultimately impacts the bottom line of your business, proving that PR does indeed increase sales in a definite, if indirect, way.

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At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our ultimate guide: How to write a B2B press release

READ this Tech PR case study: How 2i found its voice – 18 Benefits from a communication strategy

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

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How much does PR cost?

Our transparent guide to B2B PR pricing for tech brands.

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The ultimate guide to writing a B2B press release

Our expert B2B PR guide with 9 steps to creating a press release that editors want to publish.

Download

8 things to consider when choosing a PR agency for your B2B brand

8 things to consider when choosing a PR agency for your B2B brand

8 things to consider when choosing a PR agency for your B2B brand

I’m married to a man that I met on Match. Initially the online dating process was bizarre, then a little wicked and then, eventually, pretty amazing. The more I worked at it, the clearer my view was, of what I did, and didn’t want.

Having a clear view of what you want and what you value is key to achieving a successful, rewarding and happy relationship, and the same goes for selecting and working with your PR partner.

Have a clear view of what you want from PR Agency
What’s their track record?

At the end of the day you want to find a public relations firm that will deliver the outcomes you need. They need an impressive track record, endorsed by customers. This doesn’t have to be with a direct competitor (would you really want them working with a key competitor?) it can be with a similarly structured business or one facing similar challenges.

 

What’s the process?

Past successes are no guarantor of future achievements. This is where a clear operating process and delivery model is critical. Your agency should be able to replicate the process they used in their greatest achievements. Their proven processes should heighten the likelihood of success, and minimise the costs to you. The approach should encompass communication strategy development, campaign planning and public relations delivery.

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Do you have chemistry?

You’ll be speaking to your Account Director often, so it’s important that the chemistry is right and that your PR team feels like an extension of your marketing team. You need to like them and feel inspired, cared for, challenged, or reassured when you come off a call with your agency (not necessarily all of them all of them after one call!)  Make sure you’ve met the consultants you’ll be dealing with on a day to day basis and that a) you like them and b) feel inspired by them.

Are they wise & experienced?

Seniority is important. An experienced public relations professional will be able to operate with speed and efficiency. Your business and the media is in a constant state of evolution and sometimes revolution – just think COVID-19. An experienced PR consultant will constantly be scanning the media horizon and trimming the sails of your PR programme to keep it relevant. At the same time they’ll be responding to shifts in priorities within your business, to protect and nurture your brand’s reputation.

How to select the right PR agency for your brand
5 Bigger is not always better!

Your budget will determine how much resource an agency will allocate to your business. On this basis, the actual size of the agency is largely irrelevant. It’s the experience and expertise of your team that is critical. Is there sufficient seniority within your contract, to deliver the outcomes you want to achieve?

How creative are they?

Creativity aligned to your commercial goals, is a unique capability which a tech PR agency must have in abundance. It’s not just simply calling in a few favours from their network. Has the agency demonstrated a creative capability? Has it shown you how it goes about selling-in your stories to the press? Have you had a glimpse of their brilliance?

Capturing light signifying reative thought from PR Agency
How is it measured?

You can’t manage what you can’t measure so KPIs and campaign deliverables are important. It’s essential that your PR is evaluated regularly and appropriately, so that your programme can be updated and tuned into prevailing media requirements. Has your PR agency demonstrated a commitment to SMART objectives and provided a picture of what success looks like? Have they proposed a review methodology, both formal and intuitive?

How passionate are they?

Does your PR team speak with passion? When you read their blogs and articles do they come across as caring deeply about your sector and their profession? Are they advocates of good practice – do they develop, share and promote best PR practice? Their focus will be a direct reflection of the way they approach working with you. Listen to your intuition and use your instincts to tell you whether they’re passionate or just practised!

It’s a sad fact that most PR/client relationships don’t reach their 3rd birthday – which is such a waste of energy and goodwill. Paying close attention at the agency selection stage would help make these relationships last longer.

My perfect Match and I met five years ago this Christmas and celebrated our second wedding anniversary this week. So, cheers to that, and here’s to creating meaningful relationships that endure.

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our guide: How much does PR cost?

READ this Tech PR case study: How 2i found its voice – 18 Benefits from a communication strategy

look at this Infographic: Your Questions About Communications Strategy Answered

How to choose the right PR agency for your brand
Your 8-Step Communication Strategy

8-Step Communication strategy guide

A comprehensive guide to delivering your business goals using intelligent and relevant messaging.

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EC-PR Packages - B2B PR Pricing Guide - front cover

How much does PR cost?

Our transparent guide to B2B PR pricing for tech brands.

Download

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How we guarantee your PR results

Turbo boost your PR today and expand your ability to reach business goals.

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