As Q1 draws to a close we have had enough time to reflect on the last year and its successes. Influencer marketing dominated the industry last year, both in the B2B and B2C world, and advanced technology became an essential part of many marketing toolboxes. Moving into spring it is a chance to think about the year ahead – out with the old and in with the new. Now is an ideal opportunity to look at what is new in marketing and PR and what tactics your strategy might be missing.

Here’s our checklist of four marketing and PR must-do’s that could help your business blossom this spring:

1. AI: Listen-in and keep your brand ‘on message’

We have seen AI take center stage in recent years as the benefits of this technology are being realized across many industries. Marketing and PR are no exception. As we progress through the year, we can expect AI’s role within this sector to become even more prominent.

AI has numerous applications within marketing and PR, but for content marketers the most interesting aspects lie in content generation through social listening. Tools such as Meltwater, NetBase and SocialBakers allow marketers and PR pros to measure public opinion on a brand and its current campaigns and use this feedback to shape future marketing efforts. But marketers can also use the technology to understand which topics are being talked about by opinion leaders within their industry. Creating great content is redundant if the topic is not interesting to your target audience. Monitoring through listening tools can help you to plan the topics for upcoming pieces and make sure they are relevant for your audience.

2. Story telling: Build credibility through authenticity

As the amount of paid for content continues to saturate our screens, the demand from customers to see authentic and credible content is on the rise. With this, the best way to fulfil these demands are to show customers, with a well-constructed story, how your product or service will solve frustrating industry pain points and how they will benefit as a customer. Especially within B2B marketing, thought leadership will be a valuable tool for 2020. Bringing in the expertise of your industry experts increases company credibility – readers can trust the source of information they are reading.

3. B2B blogs: Unsung heroes of lead generation

Blogs have seen a rise in popularity in recent years as the business benefits are being realized. Company blogs demonstrate to customers that you are covering key industry topics and developments and help businesses stand out as experts. Aside from this, blogs are a crucial component of an SEO strategy and bringing more traffic to your website.

To make sure you are getting the most out of your blog it is important you post about relevant topics, make them interesting and post consistently. If you are finding it difficult to come up with regular content for you blog, it can be useful to repurpose content from other projects, such as articles and whitepapers, into a blog-friendly format for your website.

As a next step in polishing your lead generation efforts, consider gating content on your website – this could be for certain blog posts or more long form content such as eBooks or whitepapers. By gating content visitors to your website are required to give their name and email address in order to view the content behind the ‘gate’. This then becomes a value exchange – the visitor gets the content in exchange for their details. The leads generated are clearly interested in the topic you have written about, so become very targeted sales leads.

4. Targeting your niche: Key to vertical success

Often when creating a PR strategy, the aim is to get coverage in high profile publications that carry a very high readership. There is nothing wrong with aiming for the stars in this respect, but it can be difficult to consistently get your content published in these media outlets without paying. This is why it is important to look to industry-specific outlets as targets. Just because a publication has a lower registered readership it doesn’t mean it should be disregarded. Magazines specifically targeted at a readership that is your chosen demographic are a valuable tool, and the readership is more likely to be interested in your content – leading to a higher conversion rate. In content creation, quality is valued over quantity – it’s time to apply this same rule to the publications you pitch your content to.

Find out more about how our Pitch&Place service helps target your specific vertical markets across any geography here or read out latest eBook on how to make vertical marketing work for your business.

Introducing a range of these tactics into your PR plan is a great way to give your strategy a spring clean and boost your results as we move into the next quarter.

Eleanor Rhodes is a PR Account Executive at IBA International.

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