PR and the ability to secure B2B media coverage really isn’t a dark art.
It’s basically matchmaking. It’s about pitching the right content to the right journalists and publications in the right way.
Do it right, and the rewards from securing a great piece of B2B media coverage are simply fantastic.
The most obvious one being your company, team, and overall message take centre-stage. Who wouldn’t want to be in the spotlight?
Other benefits can include an increase in sales, an SEO boost, setting your brand apart from the competition, reaching new clients…
Despite working extremely hard on their daily PR strategy, some simply get ignored by journalists.
We feel for you. It’s painful. It can feel unfair and stir up some ugly emotions. Why is your competitor getting attention when you’ve got something better to say?
There are some pretty clear reasons why this is happening.
The good news is that we’re here to help you identify those reasons and point you in the direction of the cure.
If you’re tired of hearing ‘thanks, but no thanks’, then this post will show you where you’ve been going wrong and how to secure the B2B media coverage your company deserves.
Reason 1: Your content isn’t newsworthy enough to secure B2B media coverage
Problem: If you aren’t securing any B2B media coverage, then the problem might lie in what you regard as ‘news’.
It’s easy to see why. ‘News’ can be such a broad term and mean so many different things to different people.
To us, ‘news’ is something that we’ve never heard before, something that informs us and teaches us something new.
A journalist’s idea of ‘news’ will probably be similar, but they’ll have other definitions, too – especially if they work in a niche industry.
They’ll have to consider what their audience thinks is newsworthy, hit targets and consider other things that align with their job.
Your idea of ‘news’ if you’re a PR person reading this may be more creative. That’s neither good nor bad, but that creativity will have to be adequately focused if you want to secure coverage.
For instance, You may have worked incredibly hard to build a B2B PR strategy that targets all the leading journalists and media outlets in your industry.
That’ll count for little, though, if the story or announcement you’re pitching isn’t seen as new, interesting or engaging.
News – especially original stories – can be challenging for brands to produce, especially those in niche industries.
So, how do you catch journalists’ eyes?
Solution: When it comes to creating newsworthy B2B content, then numbers, unique data and insight are going to be the essential tools in your arsenal.
Numbers are qualifiers and can be used to show growth trends, one-off happenings, indicate industry changes, and more.
If you can use the data at your disposal to create an original pitch, then you have a much better chance of securing B2B media coverage.
Market reports can often be the AAA gold standard here. Well-written reports based on data and trends in which the data has been adequately analysed and presented in bitesize chunks to the journalist can do the trick to help you secure that coverage.
We have our own rule of thumb when defining what makes ‘newsworthy’ content. You stand a greater chance of securing B2B media coverage if your pitch covers new and unique insight around a topic that the readers of the target publication will be interested in.
More to the point, does your pitch contain something that is going to shine a light on an issue- such as an emerging or future trend, help readers solve a problem or educate their readers?
If not, then it won’t likely be of interest.
The most engaging content will likely be based on your platform’s data or perhaps from some research you’ve commissioned.
Suppose you don’t have any educational data or insight but want to announce something from your company. In that case, it usually helps to back it up with numbers such as impressive investment, a fundraising round or an acquisition. Maybe what you’re announcing is the ‘first’ of something, the ‘fastest growing’ something or the biggest’ thing.
An office move is inherently uninteresting or boring. However, suppose your company just invested millions in a state of the facility, and you’ve used neuroscientists to help design it as the workplace of the future. In that case, that’s a whole different ballgame.
The point being, journalists and media outlets, in general, are big fans of numbers.
Numbers help B2B media outlets prove what you’re saying is real and make their job easier.
For example, if you can show as part of your pitch that you raised a certain amount of money for a fundraiser (with proof), then they’re more likely to consider your pitch as newsworthy.
Work closely with people in your company who have access to numbers, whether they’re accountants or the marketing team, and see what you can cook up.
Reason 2: Your content just isn’t inventive enough to drive B2B media coverage
Problem: The general media landscape is more crowded than ever, thanks to the internet and social media.
That means the vast majority of publications and journalists – no matter how niche – are constantly bombarded with pitches.
This can create real problems for your general B2B PR strategy and the content you produce.
If something happens in your industry, chances are many brands will be sending similar pitches to journalists offering comment on it.
If you take this approach, journalists may think you’re jumping on the bandwagon. Do it enough times, and they may believe you are being spammy and gloss over future pitches.
Remember the rise of AI a couple of years ago? It’s a great example of this.
Because of the hype around AI, approximately half of press releases being sent to tech journalists had ‘AI’ in the title.
Seizing on current trends; an excellent PR strategy, you may think. Actually, many tech journalists thought the opposite.
We heard from so many tech journalists lamenting how fed up they were with pitches having something with AI shoved into them.
Most of the press releases they were sent had little to do with AI and had the term peppered throughout.
The reasoning was simple. ‘Wait, he’s a tech journo… AI’s huge at the moment… If I create a pitch and make AI a part of it, then they’ll surely love it!’
Simple reasoning, but perhaps too simple. You like chocolate, right? You wouldn’t have it for every meal, though.
So it was for those tech journalists stuffed to the brim with pitches that tenuously referred to AI. To some, AI was the qualifier that meant The journalist would ignore a pitch.
Solution: Originality is key to securing B2B media coverage.
Focus on ideas that have high value for your specific audience. Do some research on a potential pitch beforehand. Has the topic you’re thinking of been covered before?
Substance is also as important as originality. We’ve mentioned the AI pitching trend from a few years back.
Follow trends and pitch on them by all means. Just make sure you’ve thoroughly considered the substance of your pitch before sending it to a journalist who specialises in the medium first.
Remember, journalists in niche industries are very experienced and know an awful lot about the industry you’re in.
While they won’t know everything about an industry topic, they’ll know something about it and may have been pitched it before.
Use that insight when creating your B2B content to look at your pitch objectively and to assess whether it has the originality and substance that would pique a journalist’s interest.
Reason 3: Your PR strategy is far too ‘niche’ to secure B2B media coverage
Problem: You work in a very niche industry, and the idea you’re pitching is only of interest to a tiny audience.
While that isn’t necessarily bad, it can be limiting to those looking for more mainstream B2B media coverage.
It may sound obvious, but the job of a website, newspaper or magazine is to share relevant news amongst its readers.
We touched on this earlier. Journalists have a lot of obligations to fill. They’ll have a checkbox of conditions that each pitch to them will have to meet before publication.
If you’re in a niche industry such as the oil and gas industry and pitch to a national publisher, they may dismiss it, thinking, ‘I don’t have enough readers that would be interested in this’.
It’s a fair point, too. Journalists have little time these days, so it may not be worth their while researching and following up a pitch.
From your perspective, too, the time consumed building that pitch as part of your B2B PR strategy will have been wasted.
Solution: Social media will be your ally here.
As well as the quality and relevance of the content you’re pitching, it’s also about who you’re pitching it to and why.
We hope that we haven’t painted a picture so far of journalists being grumpy sorts, short on time who will throw the majority of pitches in the bin! (Though we do know a couple…)
It isn’t true. The AI example above shows that, though journalists can get swamped quite quickly, many are more than happy to be contacted.
A vast number of them can be contacted on social media and have open inboxes. That visibility helps them find stories and land scoops.
Despite the news and abuse, Twitter is a haven for many journalists and helps them break a story before anyone else.
Sites like LinkedIn will help you find those journalists and publishers that specialise in niche industries.
Any strong PR strategy will keep a note of these niche journalists and sites, helping you pitch to the right people and increase your B2B media coverage chances.
Reason 4: Your PR content is far too self-promotional to warrant B2B media coverage
Problem: This is one of the biggest head-scratchers for people working in B2B PR.
You work at your organisation for most of the day, most of the week, most of the year. It slowly envelopes your life and skews your perception slightly.
It’s only natural, therefore, that you could be creating the dreaded self-referential content.
That’s inherently promotional content; designed to make your brand look great without featuring any kind of substance or creativity.
Again, your overall PR strategy needs to be insightful, engaging, and high-value enough that a journalist will follow it up.
It can be hard to take a step back and look at your B2B content and overall pitches objectively.
The times we live in aren’t helping, either. Sometimes, the narrative behind news stories and promotional content can be blurred in some publications.
If it isn’t a pitch that’s insightful and has been created as a piece of pure PR to boost the perception of the brand, then a journalist will likely ignore it.
Solution: The solution here is to think like a journalist.
(That’s alongside the other solution of not pushing promotional pitches!)
Modern journalists have harsher deadlines to meet, targets to hit, and readers to entertain – all while following journalistic ethics.
So, think like a journalist when taking a step back and looking objectively at your pitch.
Their loyalty is to their readers, informing them, generating discussion amongst them, and creating content that makes it likely they’ll become daily readers.
Will your content help them meet those criteria? Is a pitch about your brand changing supplier or your new office opening going to help them set the world alight?
Thankfully, (most) journalists aren’t made of stone.
Again, a lot are happy to be contacted. Get in touch with some in your niche, and ask them what kind of pitches they’re happy to receive.
Reason 5: Your media pitching has been lousy
Problem: This also follows from the point above. Good quality pitching should be an integral part of your B2B PR strategy.
As we’ve mentioned, journalists are incredibly short on time. You may have a great pitch to secure some media coverage. The presentation is as important as the idea, though.
Sometimes lousy luck plays its part in poor delivery, such as submitting a pitch or B2B content on a day when a bigger story has broken.
A lot of the problems we’ve seen when it comes to poor delivery, though, are easy to solve and could have been avoided if the pitch wasn’t being rushed out the door.
These include (and aren’t limited to):
- Poorly-written pitches
- Irrelevant content
- Badly-targeted pitches
- Forgetting assets
- Including poor-quality pictures and images
- Bad media targeting
- Pitches that don’t get to the point
Even getting one of these points wrong could give a journalist an excuse not to cover your story and provide B2B media coverage to somebody else.
Solution: Again, similar to the above point, the answer lies in targeting the right content at the proper journalist to make their life easier.
One of the significant reasons journalists have told us that they reject pitches is because the pitch is irrelevant and generic.
Here’s an essential tip for you.
Journalists like to feel special. But how do you make them feel special?
- Offer them an exclusive
- Take time to be sure it is something that journalist will be interested in
- Be concise, helpful and write like a human being would, not some B2B corporate automaton where you stuff the pitch with ‘leading’, ‘cutting edge’ and other terrible buzzwords
- Make the pitch specific to them and not part of some cookie-cutter mass email blast because they can tell
- Reference the journalist’s other work as proof you think they will be interested
If you’ve just completed a detailed report on something full of data, then it’s a flight of fancy to think the journalist will read the report in detail.
Instead, provide the journalist with five of the most interesting and newsworthy points from the report.
If you include high-quality product shots in the correct sizes and formats as part of your pitch, then a journalist will be more likely to engage with your content.
Again, that information is readily available on the internet. If you want to pitch to a specific title as part of your PR strategy, take a real close look at it.
Has a competitor been enjoying a lot of B2B media coverage in that title? Break down an article – what angle have they gone for?
Have they focused on specific sets of data to make their point? How have they positioned the product in their images? Is a particular journalist accredited to those pieces?
For example, some of the brands we work with often say they’d like to be featured in VentureBeat.
With half an hour set aside for competitor research, we can look over the space of a month to see if a topic has been featured and if VentureBeat is the right place to pitch to.
If they have covered the topic, we’ll see how they’ve covered the subject, the angles that have been pitched, the assets used and other factors to take back to our clients.
In short, a lot of the advice we’ve offered here mainly focuses on a change of thinking.
We touched on how easy it is to have your thinking naturally moulded by your job’s day-to-day pressures and the targets you need to meet.
The best advice (and an amalgamation of the points above) is to take a deep breath, take a step back, and think smarter.
Again, much of B2B PR revolves around matchmaking and timing, not sending out PR pitches to people and portals.
If you take time to find out about the pressures journalists and editors are under, the tone of their publication, their general job and how to make their lives easier, then most of the battle is won.
Putting the rest of your energy into building a robust list of contacts and pitching correctly to them is the other half of successfully securing B2B media coverage. Let us know how you get on.
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