By Siobhan Chesher

A B2B public relations agency can only get the job done for a client if it has the knowledge and skills to meet the client’s needs.

Your B2B PR advisors will be dealing with specialists inside and outside your company to secure you positive coverage and, ultimately, boost your reputation and sales.

To do that, they require five essential skills and abilities. They will have to …


… Know your industry inside-out

Or, at the very least, learn it quickly. If your B2B PR advisors don’t know your biggest rivals and what they are up to, they’re not looking out for you.

An agency with an inside knowledge of your sector will know how things work, who the major players are and what the big issues are. But a B2B public relations agency worth its salt knows how to adapt to change and has the research skills to catch up fast.

Your agency should be coming to you with opportunities and warnings, not vice versa.


… Define your audience

This is the point your B2B PR and marketing stems from and always returns to. There are people and businesses you have to get through to – and it’s your B2B public relations agency’s job to always have them in its sights.

Once your audience is established, the marketing and PR strategy has to focus on hunting them down wherever they congregate, with precise messages that have the maximum impact, boosting your brand profile and the value of the products or services you provide.


… Know where you have to be seen

All press coverage is not the same. A report in a local newspaper about your magnificent new production facility might have people banging on your door looking for work, but if it’s contracts you need, not new employees, what purpose has it served?

You’re looking for a B2B public relations agency that understands the value of the trade press and knows the publications you read and want to be seen in.

They’ll have a handle on trade and business websites, blogs and online influencers operating in your sector in – plus other opportunities you might not have considered before.


… Understand crisis management

In an ideal world, your B2B PR advisor will never have to put on their helmet and deal with incoming fire. But they’ve got to be prepared.

Your agency wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t establish a crisis management PR plan, sorting out the lines of communication and approval in the event of a tragedy, redundancies, business interruption, or reputational damage.

It’s not just about knowing what to say, to whom, and when – it’s about knowing who has sign off and the implications of every action. And it’s about them keeping your media training up to date so you know how to cope if the cameras are ever on you.

Your B2B public relations agency can only build the trust you need in each other by becoming part of your team.

 … Plan ahead

If the ideas dry up, so does the coverage. Your B2B public relations agency has to plan ahead if it’s to keep your name in the minds of the people that matter.

If they’re part of your team, they’ll know what projects you’ve got coming up that can be of benefit in marketing terms. But they’ll also be talking to people inside your business who might not realise they are sitting on a story that will boost your brand.

Great B2B PR advisors don’t work for you, they work with you.


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