The Marketing Boutique

Communications in a time of crisis. Provide communications, transparency and consistency.

Over the last several weeks, consumers have grown increasingly panicked about COVID-19, depleting goods like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Schools are closed, offices are urging employees to work from home and small businesses that rely on foot traffic are seeing their in-store sales take a hit.

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Everyone loves a good B2B case study. Case studies provide valuable insight into how your company work’s during a specific project. It also gives you the opportunity to show off your problem-solving skills. Trade magazines, popular industry blogs and your customers all enjoy reading about how you ‘saved the day’ for a particular client on a specific problem.

Case Study: Public Relations Tactic

This public relations tactic gets your product success stories into the editorial columns of print and electronic media. It also helps to build your brand leadership and increase the trust factor. Finally, it lets readers learn how you helped solve real-world problems.

Case Study: Lead Generation Tactic

We’ve written several case studies, and in addition to submitting it to trade magazines for possible PR exposure, case studies make excellent lead generation tactics. You’ll need a landing page, optimize the page and then promote it from time to time to give your landing page proper placement on search engines. A case study can produce more leads and newsletter subscriptions than a year’s work of blogging. So, don’t dismiss this opportunity.

Elements of a Good Case Study

You’re probably wondering what makes a compelling and interesting case study? Here are some guidelines for identifying PR-worthy customer case studies that can generate awareness, credibility and leads for you.

Tell a Story in Your B2B Case Study

Yes, every case study is a story and a great story begins with a great headline. When brainstorming on your headlines consider all elements, blog post title, newsletter and social media. Each medium may require editing the headline so don’t make it too long.

Before you decide, try the writer’s formula we use to create compelling headlines, which are as follows: ask “Who, What, When, Where, and How.”

Setting Up

  • Results – The most critical thing to show is that you did solve the problem. No grey areas here. A reliable B2B case study includes numbers, facts, images of the positive end-result you did for your customer.
  • Problem/solution – Case studies should start with the customer’s issue and how you solved it. You can also outline different solutions and offer proven reasoning as to why your company as the optimal solution. Write from the customer’s perspective. Do include why the customer selected you, this writing style enhances the credibility of the story.

Timing

  • Current project – A current case study is more valuable than one that is old. In reality, we’re all busy and sometimes spending time on writing is not a priority. The point that I like to stress with my clients is to write a case study that has value. However, the product must be installed and operating. Or the service needs to be used and that the customer is satisfied with the solution.

Make it Special

  • Unique project – When submitting your B2B case study to an editor, it needs to be attractive by way of the project that needs to be unique so that the publication’s audience wants to read the feature. From cutting-edge technology, changing in-house processes, the value of timing, understanding the competition, and how you used the data – these have higher news value. You can also review the editorial calendar to get a good idea of what is the focus and spin based on a particular topic to arouse the editor’s interest.

Creative Writing

  • Illustrate the expertise – Editors view case studies as suitable teaching devices for their readers. They do welcome case studies that educate as well as inform.
  • Photography – Make the effort to visit your client and take photos. Take more than you think and add variety. Vertical, horizontal views, with people and without people – all are necessary. If you can bring on a professional photographer to develop dramatic photos. With some drama in your photos, it will help get your story picked up by the trade magazines.
  • No advertorial – The focus of the story must remain on what happened. A case study is not an advertorial; it is a review of the facts, written engagingly.

Brand Building

  • Customer quotes – You’ll need your customer’s buy-in before you begin to write about the case study. You’ll also need a quote. Sell them the idea that you’ll be promoting their business, so its’ a win-win for both, you and your client. Case studies where the customer remains anonymous don’t carry as much weight and are harder to sell to a publication. Especially in today’s modern marketing, transparency is essential.
  • Support brand positioning – Leverage your brand leadership by including key messages. Also, include a brief company background and additional resources readers may be interested in sourcing.

Marketing Funnel

Now that you’ve written your first case study, its the time to promote your content. Create a landing page, set-up a dedicated email list and create a series of newsletters through marketing automation that relates to the case study. You may want to write a blog post as well as a press release and reach out to your trade magazines.

Need help identifying and developing B2B case studies for PR placement and sales support? Contact me at cecilia@themarketingboutique.net.

The Marketing Boutique is a business-to-business marketing communications agency. We specialize in providing strategic marketing communications thinking and implementation to marketers of industrial, technical and commercial products.

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5 PR Tips For Your Product Launch

Do you have a tight PR budget for an upcoming product launch? Do you find yourself with no media contacts and with little to no brand visibility? As with many businesses today, you are probably wearing multiple hats, from the marketing manager, event planner to being your own publicists! Where do you start as you closely approach your product launch date? 

5 PR tips for your product launch:

  1. Social media: is an incredible tool for B2B companies, allowing you to share, connect and advertise your products. This includes creating a blog and building your online community on the right social media platforms. But here’s the thing, you need time to develop your community or invest in digital advertising. You may want to consider investing in Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn Advertising for this product launch until you build a substantial following.
  2. Pitch Story Ideas To Industry Magazines: As you read this post, you probably also have your favourite trade magazine on your desk!  If you do, then get to know the magazine, what’s on their editorial line-up and do follow the editors on social media. Once you’ve done this, introduce yourself, your brand, send your press release and remember to follow-up.
  3. Grassroots Marketing: Solid public relations plans include being seen and heard from all sides. Your grassroots marketing can include local newspapers, schools, an event at a popular park, to contests on the radio. Do consider that a grassroots marketing program takes up more budget and resources. However, if this is your target market, then take your time and plan it out well. Plus, once you get local press, it can be easier to get national coverage. You can leverage this press for more press on a broader scale.
  4. Spend money on the right stuff: Any public relations campaign needs quality images and well-written content for your product. From videos, product photos, nicely formatted press kit, product launch event and story pitch are all essential elements for a new product launch.   
  5. Get creative: Speaking of spending money on the right stuff, you may want to consider different promotional tactics. Street performers, special packaging, contests and other promotional ideas should all be on the table for discussion to help create the best product launch based on your budget.

Bonus Tips for product launch

  1. Brand Messages: It’s best to take the time to clearly define the brand messages behind the PR campaign. Remember to highlight these messages throughout the campaign.
  2. Timing: Take advantage of special holidays and local events. You can leverage and gain brand exposure even if you are a B2B company. Or, create your own promotional week – there are plenty of opportunities to get your product out in front of your customer.
  3. Influencers: Popular online influencers or industry leaders provide the value to validate your product or brand and
  4. Create Great Content: Sure, you’re probably shaking your head and thinking, I know! But it’s worth repeating. Good content writing converts your website visitors into future clients.

Do you need some expert advice on how to improve your product launch strategy? We’re ideal for small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs who need a little or a lot of marketing services. Why not contact us and find out more at Info@themarketingboutique.net.

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Getting your PR wrong can happen to the best of us. That’s why Public Relations requires careful planning. Public relations campaigns need to include an understanding of evolving news cycles, industry trends and audience perceptions. Yes, most of us are getting our PR wong.

But most PR agencies treat it like it’s a numbers game. They take the information you gave them run it through a type of algorithm to figure out how to bring your story to new audiences and wonder why your messages have gone flat. We’re all guilty of the same practice. Write up a generally dull press release, develop a long list of journalists, and press send.

Return to Relationship Building

Even though most journalists are on Twitter, checking their mobile phones hourly for the latest news, the relationship still matters. Take the time to call one journalist and learn what matters to him or her. You might find out you’ve got the right product or service for the magazines.

PR campaign with a clear purpose

If you’re hoping to get noticed or you need to write a press release because you have a package with a PR distribution company, these are not good reasons.

I’ve written many press releases for minor software updates, and let’s face it if you’re not Apple, you won’t get must attention. If there isn’t a major update, this is usually not news. It’s not to say you won’t get a plug; it may take more work, but it could be worth the effort. What you’ll need is:

  • Have your “pitch” ready
  • Define a clear PR theme and brand message
  • Know the magazine or paper you’re contacting
  • Believe your press release

Keep the PR message simple

When writing a press release, keep it simple. Get to the point, avoid complicated sentences and grandiose statements. Review your writing with a readability test and avoid jargon.

Write like a PR Pro

For most press releases, these are not planned out or given the importance, it deserves. It is usually handed down to a junior staffer without a proper understanding of its true purpose.

Hire the right PR Agency

What to do when you get your PR wrong?

A press release represents your company and future relationship with the media. You might want to hold off on writing any more press releases. Instead, take the time to develop a relationship with several journalists.

You might want to consider taking on the writing of the press release yourself. The closer you are to the message and understanding who is going to read it, the better you’ll be able to customize your message and pitches for them.

Consider splitting up the media coverage. Assign 5 to 10 magazines to senior management, where they need to take 10 minutes a day to reach out to the journalist.

Should you decide to work with a PR Agency, different firms have different strengths. A PR agency usually has connections to a specific market, a comprehensive list of events and contacts in the industry you’re trying to get publicity. Give them all they need to understand your company. Finally, you have to continuously give your PR team new content, announcements, angles, pitches, etc.

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How can we write relevant content that sells your product or service?

It’s been written that we have about 3 minutes to make a good impression when a visitor comes to our website. Our content needs to either engage, provoke or sell in three minutes.

Marketing versus sales content

But how do we get there? How do we create content that sells?

We first need to start by understanding the difference between marketing content and sales relevant content. Well, when we do a marketing piece, the goal is to establish awareness and interest, however, for sales writing, the goal is to sell the product or service.

What is the one trusted piece of content buyers like to read?

Time and time again, buyers like case studies. Buyers, especially in the B2B industries, they need to know who is buying from you. Case studies showcase how productivity was improved, facilities became profit centres and processes reduce staff overtime.

Forget sweeping, forceful statements like “disruption” or “truly innovative”, your buyer wants to know how other organisations used your product or service.

And, today with the growing popularity of platforms like Yelp, this is true for B2C companies as well. However, B2C companies don’t need to write up case studies, a testimonail, rating on a recent online purchase and a share on your favourite social meida platform will provide excellent results.

Write Well, Not Hype

Which brings me to my favorite topic, writing style. Writing well seems to have lost its way, in favour of sounding smart, witty or casual.

Writing well is transparent, helping the reader move along the from interest to a buyer. If your writing sounds like everyone else, change it. If it sounds too casual, with words like “gonna”, edit. Good writing is 20 % writing and 80% edit.

Sales becoming non-linear

As sales continue to become non-linear, content marketing will also evolve keeping pace with sales. It is important to track what is being read, and how people use your content.