Throwback Friday – hot topic habits even more applicable as B2B marketing campaigns ramp-up for the year

While the following blog was first published in 2016, its messaging rings true today more than ever. With more journalists confined to their homes, their face-to-face interactions with key sources are non-existent. Couple that with B2B publications launching their 2021 editorial calendars and there is a perfect storm for B2B organizations to pull off the perfect hot topic heist, generate strong media coverage and begin 2021 on a positive note.

The key to a successful thought-leadership campaign is being able to balance key business messages and what’s trending in your target industry, then merge them seamlessly together to drive relevant media traction.

What’s #Trending
Those closely involved in a press relations campaign should always have eyes and ears on the press and be well placed to monitor what’s ‘hot’.

We all hear the cross-industry buzzwords cropping up time and again in the press – the Internet of Things, big data, mobility and more recently drones, robotics, augmented reality [2021 edit from the IBA team: The topics haven’t changed, but the narrative has shifted!]. Diving further down into industry-specific trends, a good PR pro will know exactly what’s on the minds of journalists in that particular vertical market.

There is plenty of opportunity for B2B organizations and their marketing teams to pick up on what’s hot in an industry. A marketing team is collectively responsible for social media, press relations, industry events, webinars, influencer engagement – a wealth of indicators as to what’s hot right now.

Then the ‘hijacking’ begins
So once a marketing professional has unearthed topics that are really resonating within a particular industry, then they’re well placed to start to think about the thought-leadership they can provide. By the way, in the PR world, ‘hijacking’ is a hot topic in itself!

There are three things that need to be combined to pull off the perfect hot topic heist:

The issue – Identify what’s being talked about in publications within a certain industry, what is being said on social channels and what are industry experts, often competitors, saying? Remember – you’re looking for positive running stories – they usually stay positive. Negative ones always stay negative and there’s no way you will be able to change the direction.

The company position – Think about the sales messages you want to convey in response to a particular topic. How does your company solve a particular challenge or meet the opportunity provided by this issue? Remember – don’t crowbar your messages in – it will be painfully obvious!

Choose your ‘hijacker’ – Make it a person, not your company doing the hijacking. Sometimes it can be an afterthought as to which subject matter expert (SME) a company wants to position around a certain topic. But choosing the right SME and then following up with other content from them begins to establish him or her as a thought-leader in a particular area. But remember, although it’s personal, you‘re always speaking for the company.

Don’t put a hot topic on ice
If you’re drafting a thought-leadership article, balance the issue with the company position and even choose your thought-leader’s title with care. Solution-heavy pieces will be seen as more advertorial than editorial, an author with a sales-heavy title can often make journalists wary that this is a sales document, whereas industry directors or consultants make for well-received byliners. Of course, delving too deeply into a particular topic ends up falling into the ‘too much information’ category.

Jamie Kightley is Head of Client Services at IBA International.

Leave a comment