Communication Strategy

Successful PR requires a well-formed, clear Communication Strategy.

We at ec-pr believe in an integrated approach to PR, which goes hand-in-hand with the full range of marketing activities. In order to make this a success, your organisation needs a communication strategy that provides clarity of approach.

Indeed your comms strategy will become the backbone to inform and guide all marketing communications moving forward, including the Public Relations activity.

If your organisation’s marketing is operating on a tactical level instead of a strategic one, ec-pr can help your marketing team regain control of your brand and marketing strategy.


How much does a PR campaign cost?

How much does a PR campaign cost?

How much does a PR campaign cost?

This week we’re talking about PR campaign costs, expensive violin strings, and how much of your budget you should think about investing in a PR campaign.

How much does a PR campaign cost?

This is a question many have asked and will continue to ponder, but nobody will ever be able to answer succinctly.

The reason? There are too many variables.

We tried to refrain from using the classic idiom ‘how long is a piece of string’, but this really is a situation where you could spend £1000 or £100k, and anything in between.

When we asked our Managing Director, Lorraine Emmett, if it was fair to compare string and PR campaign costs, she agreed:

“It is very much like a piece of string. You can get all types of string. You can pick it up free second hand at an allotment or pay $20m at auction for a Duport Stradivarius violin string.”

This may not appear to be helpful advice at first, but Lorraine further explained that people will always want to know an overall basic cost and will continue to ask how much a PR campaign will cost.

The key for people asking this question is to consider what they want to use their string for, how important it is, and how much of their budget they are willing to invest in the string to meet their needs.

b2b pr campaign planning leads to business growth upwards arrow
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How much should I spend on PR campaigns? 

Whether you are considering running a PR campaign in-house or looking for a PR agency to help, asking how much you should spend on PR campaigns is the wrong question to be asking.

Ask yourself, what could effective PR do for my business? What problems could it solve? How could it help me achieve my key business objectives?

To help answer these questions, why not look at what your competitors are doing. Are any of them doing PR? Are they successful?

Once you understand what you want to achieve with a PR campaign, the question shouldn’t be how much money to spend on it. Instead, look at your budget and work out how much of it you think would be worth investing.

 

“It is very much like a piece of string. You can get all types of string. You can pick it up free second hand at an allotment or pay $20m at auction for a Duport Stradivarius violin string.”

– Lorraine Emmett

PR agency costs

Hiring a PR agency to launch tactical and strategic PR campaigns doesn’t necessarily mean spending more on PR, or less for that matter. You could spend the same amount on an in-house campaign as you would with an agency. The decision comes down to putting your money where there is the most experience and expertise so that you’re more likely to see a return on your investment.

That’s why many business owners will turn to a PR agency, in some cases saving money as a PR agency will have set costs and establish a plan early on, including how the budget will be utilised.

You’re paying for experience, connections, and expertise when you hire a PR agency, but this also gives you a greater chance of launching successful PR campaigns. If in-house campaigns are having limited success, despite you spending a fair amount of your budget on them, external expertise may be what you need.

One area in-house teams (which realistically usually comes down to the marketing department) often neglect is the groundwork before PR delivery is attempted. When the communication strategy and campaign planning isn’t undertaken properly, a scattered or ad-hoc attempt at PR results – which is most likely to be ineffective.

b2b pr campaign planning leads to business growth upwards arrow

One EC-PR client that recognises the importance of this strategic groundwork and how an agency can add value is Dave Kelly, Managing Director at 2i after we developed a communication strategy for the business

 

“You have offered us enormous value in getting us to this stage. When I think back to the lack of focus and structure that our message had originally to where we are today, for both our clients and our staff, it’s been a game-changer for us and massive thanks to you for that.”

– Dave Kelly, Managing Director, 2i

 

This solid groundwork proved to be a valuable base from which 2i could then build their reputation and external communications.

Working with a PR agency gives you the choice when it comes to gaining expertise in specific areas – for example, your businesses may be equipped to develop your communication strategy and PR planning, but you need help with delivery. Others may be fine with delivery but struggle with the preparation work.

Investing money in an agency to pick up these problem areas for you makes more sense.

Many agencies will have a minimum threshold when it comes to the budget and will not accept clients with a budget they feel won’t deliver a good return.

At EC-PR, we have a modular package approach, designed to let you take as little or as much advantage of our expertise as needed.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

Download our comprehensive guide: B2B PR Campaign Planning for indispensible templates, examples and tools.

Download our pricing guide: How Much Does PR Cost? for our transparent modular pricing.

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

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How much does PR cost?

Our transparent guide to B2B PR pricing for tech brands.

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Our insights

IPTEnergised Environment PR Case Study

IPTEnergised Environment PR Case Study

ITPEnergised

B2B PR Case Study - energy & environment
ipte environment pr case study

BACKGROUND

Founded in 2013, ITPEnergised is a world leading consultancy providing energy, environmental, engineering, technical advisory and renewables asset management services on thousands of projects at all scales, in more than 150 countries.

itpenergised-logo

Problem

Lack of clarity and consistency in marketing communications with energy and environment target audiences

With an ambitious and visionary Managing Director at the helm, Jonny Clark was focused on growing the business but recognised that to do so, there were aspects of the business that required attention.  Particularly, the absence of a clearly defined communication strategy meant that there was a lack of consistency across the organisation when communicating with its target audience both in how it differentiates itself and why customers should care.

envrionment pr and communication strategy to stand out
With a rapidly growing market and competition fierce, it became clear that a more targeted and focused approach to its marketing and communications was needed to ensure ITPEnergised stood out from the crowd and were in the best possible position to deliver against their growth objectives.

SOLUTION

Communication strategy,  stakeholder research and B2B PR campaign planning

Through the facilitation of its Messaging Lab workshops and in-depth engagement with the senior leadership team, EC-PR developed a communication strategy which included five key components:

1 the value proposition;
2 industry prioritisation;
3 target personas;
4 positioning statements
5 and messaging.

This strategy now forms the backbone, to inform and guide all marketing communications moving forward.

To ensure the communication strategy is aligned with customers’ perceptions, EC-PR also conducted validation research amongst a small group of ITPE’s external stakeholders.

 

Outcome

“Thanks to EC-PR’s support, we now have a blueprint which clearly defines how sales and marketing are going to assist us in delivering the business plan, providing us with clarity as to where we need to invest our resources for greatest impact.  We now feel a sense of empowerment and it has renewed passion and pride in what makes the ITPE brand so special.”

Jonny Clarke

Managing Director, ITPEnergised

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The role of personas in your B2B PR strategy

The role of personas in your B2B PR strategy

The role of personas in your B2B PR strategy

Personas – an essential element of impactful communications

Effective communication is based on an in-depth understanding of your customer base. You need to know who your customers are and which channels they use to stay informed. You need to uncover their fears, pain points and ambitions in order to engage with them successfully.

To facilitate a better understanding of your customers, we create audience profiles or ‘buyer personas’. These are fictional representations of your customers that help visualise their needs, habits and objectives.

buyer personas are fictional representations of your buyers

We ask your potential buyers some of the following key questions:

  • What is your job title and key responsibilities?
  • Where do you go for professional insight? (i.e. LinkedIn, trade media etc)
  • What are your concerns? What keeps you awake at night?
  • What are the key capabilities or expertise you are looking for in a supplier/service?

This information informs the development of typical personas, that may look like this:

Persona illustration

Do I really need personas?

You really do. Without personas, your communication will be impersonal, completely untargeted and therefore ineffective. Personas guide the development of your key messages. They ensure you are targeting the right people with messages that are compelling and tailored to the specific stage of the buying cycle they’re currently at. They reduce waste and promote marketing/sales collaboration.

Personas are integral to campaign planning as they ensure that at every stage of the journey, customers receive an appropriate type of message that nudges them to the next stage of the buying process.

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Find out more about Personas in our guide: Your 8-step communication strategy

Flexibility and longevity

Personas should be a living and breathing concept, not a document to be produced and filed away. Individual personas should be updated over time, or new personas created, in line with your evolving business strategy and changing market dynamics.

Personas are essential to strategic B2B PR

In our experience, it is particularly important that personas, along with key messages, are socialised within the company to ensure that your marketing, sales and customer service teams internalise them and refer to them to guide their content and messages on a day-to-day basis.

The outcome

On a strategic level, personas are an important tool to ensure your communication is targeted and relevant to your key target audiences. Personas also help align your communication efforts with sales by tailoring messaging to specific stages of the buying process.

On a more tactical level, personas support your campaign planning by helping determine what type of message, content and format should be served throughout the customer journey to achieve maximum commercial results.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

Download our essential guide: B2B PR Campaign Planning

READ this article: Communication without purpose is just noise

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

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.
PR Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Your complete Guide to B2B PR Campaign Planning

Including example PR campaigns, content calendar templates, and audit checklists.

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The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Press Release 2021 pdf

The ultimate guide to writing a B2B press release

Revised for 2021

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

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How EC-PR helped a leading UK tech brand find their USP, and make their voice be heard in a crowded market.

How EC-PR helped a leading UK tech brand find their USP, and make their voice be heard in a crowded market.

How EC-PR helped a leading UK tech brand find their USP, and make their voice be heard in a crowded market.

If there’s one thing everyone absolutely loves, it’s the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of your labour and here at EC-PR we’re no different. Now, we don’t usually write a blog about our successes, as the norm is to turn them into case studies, but we felt the communication strategy we implemented for 2i deserved a little bit more of a ‘shout-out’! We’re super proud of what we achieved with them and, more importantly, it’s made such a positive difference to their planning, marketing, PR, communications and, ultimately, their bottom line, that we wanted to share it.

About 2i –a ‘complex’ tech brand

With three different offices around the UK, 2i is a very successful software testing consultancy who employ over 120 staff. They provide a variety of software testing services to some very large, very blue-chip, clients; such as Virgin Money, the Scottish Government and Aberdeen Standard to name a few.

A technical, risk-based proposition

Their proposition is deemed as quite complex yet crucial;  in that their services help to minimise the risks involved when large corporations are introducing new software or making software changes and rolling them out – company, or client-wide.  These large-scale transitions can be fraught with issues, bugs, risks and challenges. All of which can have a hugely negative impact on their business and reputation, if not carefully managed and quality assured, from the very earliest opportunity.

2i’s role is to ensure that all the software & technology works EXACTLY as it should, and the end user experience is as per the defined spec.

The PR challenge

The challenge was 2-fold. 2i know that they deliver an exceptionally high-quality service to their clients, but they struggled to articulate how they differentiated themselves within the busy tech landscape, in other words, they had no USP!

Secondly, not enough people knew about their great service because they had very low brand awareness within the marketplace.

a usp will help get you through the maze impacting planning, marketing and sales!

The PR solution

A robust and engaging communication strategy was required to help 2i achieve their marketing goals of identifying their USP, differentiating themselves and increasing their brand awareness. We needed to help 2i have a louder, more authoritative voice in the market and stop them from being a ‘well-kept secret’.

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Stakeholder workshops

We worked very closely with Dave Kelly and his leadership team, to deliver a number of workshops, focusing on the six key component parts of a communication strategy;  their value proposition; a bespoke delivery model, industry prioritisation; target personas; positioning statements and the messaging.

Our workshops enabled the key stakeholders to align on important factors, to ensure consistency and clarity across the business, minimised ambiguity and helped present the very best version of themselves as a business.

Review of brand assets and materials

And we didn’t stop there!  We undertook research to ensure the plan was aligned with their customers’ perceptions, we reviewed their brand assets and identified gaps where further materials were required (which we wrote for them) and we helped find and appoint a creative branding agency.  Phew! It was hard work, but the results made it all worth it…

a USP is central to planning, marketing, communications and sales

The (phenomenal) results!

The strategy we developed with them now forms the backbone of all 2i’s comms – informing and guiding their business development and marketing communications.

We asked Dave Kelly, their MD what impact the communications strategy has had on their business, and he gave us not one, not two, but eighteen (yes eighteen!)  different benefits they’ve experienced, in only 3 months!   You can see the full 18 in all their glory, in our infographic below.   If you want to hear more about how we worked with Dave at 2i and how we could do the same for you, then get in touch.

18 Benefits of a
communication strategy

Three months after assurance and testing business 2i formally launched its communication strategy, we asked Managing Director, Dave Kelly, what impact it’s had on business.

  1. We have won new business
  2. Our tenders are more persuasive
  3. Prospects are more interested in what we have to say
  4. Starting conversations is easier and we get to the issue quicker
  5. We are clearly differentiated from our competitors
  6. Our Leadership is more clearly aligned
  7. Our people are more engaged with the business and understand where they fit
  8. We are more consistent in the way we all talk about 2i
  9. We know exactly who we should be targeting saving time and resources
  10. We know what we should be saying to secure interest
  1. We feel we are now presenting the best version of 2i to the wider world
  2. There is less ambiguity in our communication internally and externally
  3. It has made recruiting quality people less challenging
  4. Our external communications are better aligned
  5. Our LinkedIn activity is more focused
  6. We are more visible, valued & understood in our marketplace
  7. Our engagement with clients to give them the focus they deserve has been accelerated
  8. The assets we are building are future-proofed

Dave Kelly

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: Your 8-step communication strategy

READ this Tech PR case study: How SELiS used press interviews to show Thought Leadership

watch our video: how to identify your target audience”

We have won new business because of our communication strategy
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The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Press Release 2021 pdf

The ultimate guide to writing a B2B press release

Revised for 2021

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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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Produce and optimise your news releases with our indispensible tool kit

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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How to Become a Thought Leader cover

How to become a thought leader

Thought Leadership in STEM industries is essential as a way of driving innovation, producing exciting solutions and sharing new ideas...

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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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DOWNLOAD: Your 8-step communication strategy

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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DOWNLOAD: How much does PR cost - EC-PR Packages

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”

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

Subscribe to our updates

Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Press Release 2021 pdf

The ultimate guide to writing a B2B press release

Revised for 2021

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

Download