Thinking about adding a public relations component to your B2B marketing efforts? Working with trade media, bloggers and industry influencers can be a great way to generate awareness and position your organization as a thought leader.

As you outline your PR plan, make sure your stakeholders understand that effective PR isn’t a one-time activity—it’s a long-term commitment.

There’s nothing wrong with issuing the occasional news release through a web distribution service, but that limited approach is a far cry from engaging a comprehensive media program.

Test your media readiness

Here are six considerations to evaluate your organizational readiness for B2B public relations:

Have you identified discreet goals and objectives? Be clear on what PR will—and will not—accomplish. Use it to improve awareness, drive web traffic or support other channels; don’t expect it to generate leads and sales directly.

Do you have a story to tell? To make news, your pitch needs to go beyond product and feature announcements. Be first with an innovation, be relevant to a trend or current issue or involve clients who can show results.

Are subject matter experts available? Once you identify your story, you need articulate company representatives willing to speak, interview and deliver your message. Get key staff on board and help them understand potential duties prior to kicking off a PR effort.

Can you identify your target audience? B2B public relations works best when your message targets specific geographies, verticals or niche markets within the trade press. In most instances there’s little to be gained by going after mainstream consumer outlets.

Is budget available for a minimum 12-month commitment? There’s a reason it’s called public “relations.” The most critical part of a successful program is building longstanding and trusted relationships with the media in your market. Your PR effort needs a dedicated internal or external resource and time to develop opportunities.

Will you be able to react? Sadly, far too many PR programs fail simply because when a media opportunity arises, the company is unprepared to meet media deadlines. Inclusion in a story often hinges on a same-day turnaround for interviews, photos or responses. Educate your leadership and legal department, and determine if you can meet these requirements.

No matter how excited you may be about the potential of B2B public relations, wait until you’re at “yes” before hiring a resource or spending budget on PR activities. Organizational support is mission-critical to an effective program.

Looking for B2B marketing and public relations guidance? Contact me to get started.