How Industrial PR
is keeping up with marketing trends – the rise of blogging and social media
in the industrial market place.
How things have changed in the past few years! When I
started in industrial PR some 30 years ago we wrote a short piece and sent
it with a black and white photo to perhaps a dozen journals – who may
perhaps find space for it amongst their longer features crafted by the
editor/s themselves. There were few journals printing in colour and no
specifically “product” journals as we later came to know them.
Then along came colour and product focus journals, then
a couple of recessions and the advent of the internet – the changing role
of editors and rise of Google.
Latterly of course we have seen the ascendancy of Social Media –
blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube etc etc
and wondered how appropriate is all this mainstream chatteratii
stuff to us engineers and our engineer customers?
As a PR agency very much involved in the industrial
market place we have carefully monitored these trends – we were one of the
first to put our clients’ stories on the Internet and so to drag them
kicking and screaming into what they now acknowledge to be their main
source of qualified enquiries.
So please excuse a sense of déjà vu around blogging and
social media – we have monitored client webprofiles
for 2 years and seen these channels rise in importance for industrial B2B
companies, so that recently, now confident of our own understanding and
ability, we once again sought to take clients down a new path – this time I
am delighted to say they were prepared to follow almost instantly. Not that
these clients had a poor presence on the net – far from it given the
success of our many years of PR on their behalf – but they could see and
indeed have found, that they could get an even better profile with blogging
and social media, thus capitalising on their present success – leveraging
their growth and to some extent “future-proofing” themselves for the next
time the markets take a dive.
I am pleased to report that their faith was well placed
as results to date can testify. The early adopters have been and gone, the
B2C companies have integrated all their
internet media - now is the time for industry to get involved –
although if you haven’t even got your PR sorted perhaps that would be a
good place to start first!
companies are competing successfully and punching above their weight.
Small company equals small resources – especially small
budgets - so the internet has been a godsend to small businesses who can have a similar presence on the net to the large
corporates – all it takes is some understanding and commitment. A bit like being at an exhibition where
only shell scheme stands are available – the internet is a great leveller
and those that stand out do so because of how well they present themselves
not because of how much money they throw at the “problem”.
Which raises and interesting point – what exactly is
“the problem”? – and how are small companies
addressing it effectively? Essentially the problem is to find, meet, inform
and engage customers - and then to make their buying experience as
satisfying as possible so that they will come back.
So – how to be effective on a budget – well the most
successful small companies I know leverage their understanding to make the
most of the most cost effective activities.
They recognise that they must have an attractive and
easy to use website – it is as expensive to produce a rubbish site as a
good one – the difference is the thought that goes into it and the quality
of the content. A good site will be full of useful information that is easy
to find – presented in an attractive way.
But there is limited point in a website unless you
promote it – so what are the key promotional activities?
Directory entries (free if you do it
PR – giving 3rd party links (free if you do
Blogging (set up hosting is low cost – ongoing posts are free if you do them yourself)
Social media (free again if you do it
E-mail marketing (again blog updates and
newsletters can be free or at least very low cost if you do them yourself)
Advertising – enhanced entries, pay per
click, buttons and banners (all cost – but you have spent very little so
far so you can afford these)
Exhibitions – niche exhibitions can be low
cost and very effective – a one day show is quick and easy for one person
to do and you are pretty much certain to meet the right kind of people.
(Again these cost – but your budget is hardy strained and there are not
many really good ones so you can pick the one that focuses best on your
market place and be sure to do at least one a year)
That just leaves the Sales function – which
is pretty core to any company.
So that is an awful lot of work for a small company –
which is where we can come in and do it for you. The chances are that most
of your competitors will be doing very little of these and we can put a
package together that is appropriate to your business and won’t involve a